Feb. 16, 2017
By Leigh Torbin
CLEMSON, S.C. - Marina Mabrey had 24 of her career-high 29 points in the second half as the No. 7/6 Notre Dame women's basketball team dodged an upset at Clemson on Thursday night, pulling out an 84-80 victory at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Irish (24-3, 12-1 ACC) shot 55.2% for the game but the resilient Tigers (14-13, 3-11) would not let Notre Dame slam the door, hanging in until the end.
Arike Ogunbowale scored 15 points for Notre Dame while Lindsay Allen was a rebound shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds to go with five assists. Jackie Young collected a career high nine rebounds for the Irish who used just eight players on the night due to a variety of maladies.
Mabrey tallied her fifth ACC game of 20-plus points and her second such game in a row.
With the win, Notre Dame took over first place in the ACC as No. 4 Florida State (23-4, 11-2) was upset tonight at Virginia. Notre Dame is in search of its fourth consecutive ACC regular season title.
Frantic First Minute
Notre Dame wasted absolutely no time asserting its presence at Littlejohn Coliseum. Brianna Turner won the opening tip back to Lindsay Allen, the 23rd time she has given the Irish the opening possession in 27 games this year (85.2%). Allen held the ball in the backcourt while Turner ran the floor, then lofted an alley-oop to the soaring Texan to put Notre Dame on top 2-0 mere seconds into the game.
Back at the other end, Erin Boley, starting her sixth game this year, intercepted a pass and dished it to Allen for a coast-to-coast fast break driving layup, making it a 4-0 game just 34 seconds into the contest.
On the strength of a 15-0 run midway through the first quarter, Notre Dame led 27-16 after a furious opening 10 minutes of play in which the Irish shot 64.7% from the floor (11-for-17) and connected on three of its four three point tries. Arike Ogunbowale scored 11 in the first frame alone while Allen assisted on four buckets.
Eight For You, Koko!
With Brianna Turner spending much of the game in foul trouble, Kristina "Koko" Nelson needed to step up in a big way. The Buford, Georgia native certainly did, playing just an hour and a half from home.
Nelson, playing with two fouls herself, came back into the game late in the second quarter after Turner was charged with her second foul. Nelson provided one of the night's highlight plays, scoring with a scoop at the 2:22 mark. Back on defense, Nelson blocked a Tiger shot, leading to a Lindsay Allen fast break layup. Before the half was over, Nelson sank an elbow jumper with 28.7 seconds to play.
Nelson was pushed back into the game when Turner quickly got her third and fourth fouls during the third quarter and helped the Irish hold down the fort until she, herself, claimed her fourth foul midway through the fourth quarter.
She finished the game with eight points, a pair of rebounds and two blocked shots in 21 productive minutes of play, her third-most of the year.
Lindsay Allen's five assists give her an even 200 on the season. She is the second Irish player with three career 200-assist seasons, joining Mary Gavin. The 200 assists already mark the ninth-best season in school history. The five assists also give her 759 on her career, 20 shy of breaking Gavin's school record of 778 and 27 short of Sharnee Zoll's ACC record of 785.
With her 11 points tonight, Allen moved past Heidi Bunek and into 26th place on the Notre Dame career scoring chart with 1,212 points. Meanwhile, with her nine, Brianna Turner surpassed Margaret Nowlin for 21st place. Turner now has scored 1,316 points for Notre Dame.
Allen played a fraction under 40 minutes tonight, giving her 4,199 career minutes played, surpassing Megan Duffy (4,188) for third in school history.
Notre Dame will play its final road game of the season at 5 p.m. on Sunday when it faces No. 21 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. ESPN2 will broadcast the game live nationally.
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.