Jan. 29, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - On the day where Beth (Morgan) Cunningham went into the Notre Dame basketball Ring of Honor, it is fitting that one of the "wings" which she coaches would lead the team's scoring chart. Marina Mabrey scored 26 points, Arike Ogunbowale added 21 more and Lindsay Allen recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds and 10 assists as the Irish (20-3, 8-1 ACC) downed Virginia (14-7, 3-5), 82-74, on Sunday afternoon at a sold out Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Virginia entered the game leading the ACC and ranking fourth nationally by yielding just 52.0 points per game, but the Irish would by far tally the most points against the Cavaliers in a regulation game this season. Notre Dame turned the ball over just 15 times, the fewest of any Virginia opponent this year, while setting opposing season highs with nine 3-pointers made, a 52.9% shooting percentage from three (9-for-17) and 22 assists.
Meanwhile, the victory gave the Irish their 20th win of the season for the 12th consecutive year and the 23rd time in the past 24 seasons. It also lifted Notre Dame into a tie with idle Florida State atop the ACC standings at 8-1 as the Irish battle for their fourth consecutive regular season ACC championship. The Irish and Seminoles will face off in the regular-season finale on Feb. 26 at Notre Dame.
Plays of the Game
Midway through the third quarter, Notre Dame scored on alley-oops 27 seconds apart to cap a 9-0 run, take a nine-point lead at 55-46, and force a Cavalier time out to halt their skid.
The sequence (number two in the highlight package above) started out when Marina Mabrey missed a three. Brianna Turner was knocked to the court while chasing the rebound, also impeding Ali Patberg. Virginia began to run in transition as J'Kyra Brown looked downcourt for a fast break outlet pass but, before they could get to half court, Mabrey came up with a steal. Still down court, Turner found herself all alone in the paint and Mabrey lobbed up a pass for her to lay home.
Lauren Moses misfired for Virginia on its possession and Lindsay Allen snared the rebound. Patberg pushed the ball up court, saw that Jackie Young had sprinted past the Cavalier defense like a wide receiver and lofted a long pass towards the basket. Young caught it and tipped it in off of the glass in an impressive display of her athleticism.
Boley Starts; Westbeld Finishes
Freshman Erin Boley earned her second career start on Sunday as Kathryn Westbeld had hoped to have a day off to help her sore ankle recover. Boley played a solid 20 minutes, dropping in seven points while gathering two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
With the score close down the stretch, however, McGraw called upon Westbeld's experience in the high post and the junior delivered six critical fourth quarter minutes. She provided a critical basket with 2:53 to go when she scooped and scored to put Notre Dame up 72-65. She also had two fourth quarter assists and did fine work away from the ball as well.
Westbeld's value can be found in the plus-minus metric. Today, Notre Dame outscored Virginia by 10 points with Westbeld on the court, the highest ratio of any player on the team. She also topped the Irish with a 44.94 +-/40 which averages a player's raw plus-minus rating over a 40-minute game (Westbeld's +10 came in 8:52 time on the court). For the season, Westbeld leads the Irish in +-/40 at +24.37.
Milestone Watch and Other Notes
By halftime, Lindsay Allen had eclipsed three Notre Dame and ACC legends to move into third place on the career assist charts for both the school and conference. She now boasts 735 in her decorated Notre Dame career.
Allen's third assist moved her past her position coach, Niele Ivey on the Irish chart. Her fourth assists pushed Allen past North Carolina's Nikki Teasley and her fifth allowed her to surpass Virginia's Dawn Staley for third in ACC lore.
Allen became the first Notre Dame player to record at least 10 assists in three consecutive games since 1988. Allen's 10 assists today follow on the heels of 12 on Thursday against Duke and 11 last Sunday at North Carolina. Mary Gavin accomplished the feat four times in her Irish career, most recently against Detroit (12), Dayton (11) and Cleveland State (10) from Feb. 11-17, 1988.
Remarkably, Allen has a triple-double to her credit but had never recorded a mere double-double until today during her 135-game Notre Dame career. Allen's triple-double came on Dec. 27, 2016, at Chattanooga with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. Allen's 11 rebounds today tie her career high set in that game against the Mocs.
Brianna Turner blocked three shots today, giving her 230 in her Irish career and moving her past Devereaux Peters for second-most in school history. Turner is now looking up on the career blocked shots chart at only Ruth Riley's 370.
Some days every possession matters and Turner has quietly done excellent work of gaining one for the Irish. Turner is 20-of-23 (.870) in controlling the opening tip of a game. So frequently having the opportunity to score first, it is no surprise that Notre Dame has scored first in 16 games this year to just seven for its opposition.
With Mabrey scoring 26 points and Ogunbowale 21, today's game marked the first time the Irish have had two 20-point scorers in the same game since Dec. 2, 2015, when Madison Cable had 25 and Allen tallied 20 against Ohio State.
Mabrey's 26 points fell just one shy of her career high of 27 set on Nov. 22 against Louisiana-Lafayette. It is, however, a career high for games played in just one arena as the contest with the Ragin Cajuns was split between two different Houston venues due to a power outage.
Today's sell out crowd of 9,149 marked the milestone 50th sellout in Notre Dame women's basketball history and the second this season, joining the Dec. 7 game against UConn.
The Irish remained undefeated in ACC home games, improving to 28-0 since joining the league. Overall the Irish are on a 38-game run in home conference play, including its final 10 outings as a member of the BIG EAST Conference.
Virginia's defense limited Virginia Tech to a stunning 27 points on Thursday night. Notre Dame hit the 27-point mark tonight with 7:59 left in the second quarter on a free throw by Jackie Young.
The Irish entered today ninth in the nation in 3-point percentage and that ranking will only improve after the team hit 52.9% today (9-of-17). Notre Dame connected on each of its first five triples (three of them from Ogunbowale). Erin Boley's three with 5:14 left in the first quarter gave the Irish an early 19-10 lead and forced Virginia to call time out. At that juncture, 4:46 into the game, Notre Dame's 19 points had already eclipsed the most first quarter points yielded this season by the stout Cavaliers.
After facing Virginia today, the Irish head to the commonwealth of Virginia to face No. 19 Virginia Tech on Thursday night in Blacksburg. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on a ACC Network Extra webstream.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame's women's basketball and men's golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.