Women's Basketball

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No. 5 Irish Advance to ACC Tournament Final for Fifth Straight Year

March 3, 2018

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For the ninth consecutive year, the No. 5 University of Notre Dame women's basketball team will play in a conference tournament title game after earning a thrilling 90-80 win over No. 11 Florida State. The No. 2 seeded Irish (28-2) trailed by as much as eight points midway through the third quarter, but went on to outscore the No. 3 seeded Seminoles (25-5), 42-24 for the remainder of the game.

Marina Mabrey came up huge for the Irish with a season high 27 points to go with her seven rebounds and four assists. The four other Irish starters all finished in double figures as well, with Arike Ogunbowale tallying her 20th 20-point game this afternoon, while Jessica Shepard notched her 10th double-double.

“I thought defensively in the first half, we just didn't have the effort in our zone,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I tried to mix up the defense a little bit, but I really didn't want to play man-to-man because Shakayla Thomas is such a handful for us to guard - she's a phenomenal player.

“We were much better in the second half where they only had two threes. I thought Marina Mabrey had just a gutty performance. She just did absolutely everything we needed her to do.”

How It Happened

With Notre Dame trailing 9-8 in the first quarter, Marina Mabrey took over, kickstarting a 10-0 Irish run in which she tallied eight of the points. Florida State later hit back-to-back threes to close the gap but a Mabrey trey at the buzzer not only gave the junior 12 points for the opening period, but also a 23-15 lead for the Irish.

Both sides traded baskets in the early goings of the second quarter until Notre Dame recorded a 6-0 run starting at the 5:12 mark to build a 38-32 advantage. Yet the Seminoles recaptured both the lead and momentum by ending the quarter on a 14-4 scoring stretch, as the Irish trailed 43-42 at the half.

Notre Dame later trailed 56-48 at 4:30 in the third, its largest deficit of the game. That’s when the Irish not only found a second gear, but also began to get to the free-throw line often. Notre Dame went on to outscore the Seminoles 14-4 to end the quarter, in which seven points came from the stripe. In addition, Mabrey connected on a momentous three-pointer at the buzzer in front of her own bench, reclaiming the lead for the Irish at 62-60.

Next, Ogunbowale did what Ogunbowale does best, which is take over the fourth quarter. The junior picked up right where Mabrey left off, connecting on a trey to start the fourth, then tallied nine points alone in the period by the 4:29 mark, pushing the Irish lead to 79-68. Ogunbowale went on to score 14 points in the fourth, capped by a three-point dagger at the 1:25 mark, which gave the Irish an 88-78 advantage, before finishing at the 90-80 final.  

Player of the Game

Marina Mabrey led the Irish with 27 points, which included a 4-for-9 day from beyond the arc. Two of her three-pointers came right at the buzzer at the end of both the first and third quarters. Mabrey has now recorded a total of 51 points in two days of the ACC Tournament.

Stat of the Game

Jessica Shepard’s 10th double-double on the year was powered by a career-high tying 11-for-11 night from the free-throw line. It also stood as the best individual free-throw performance by an Irish player this season and second most free-throws made.

Notes

  • Notre Dame now leads the all-time series vs Florida State, 8-0.
  • The Irish remain perfect in ACC Tournament play, extending their record to 14-0. Duke holds the record at 17 straight wins. When dating back to the final year in the Big East, the Irish have won 17 consecutive conference tournament games. Overall, Notre Dame is now 50-19 in conference tournaments.
  • The Irish have now advanced to their ninth consecutive conference tournament title game and fifth straight in the ACC (in five years in the league).
  • Notre Dame defeated its ninth top-25 ranked opponent on the year, which ties UConn for the most in the nation.
  • Notre Dame also earned its seventh ranked win away from home, which leads the country.
  • Mabrey is averaging 25.5 points in two games of the ACC Tournament.
  • Ogunbowale collected her ACC leading 20th game of 20 or more points. The junior finished with 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
  • Ogunbowale, who leads the squad in fourth quarter scoring, was back at it again today with 14 points in the final period. It marked the sixth time this year she scored double-digit points in the fourth alone.
  • Shepard recorded her 10th double-double on the year with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She is one double-double away from cracking Notre Dame’s top-8 list for most in a single season.
  • Shepard’s 11-for-11 night from the free-throw line tied her career high in free-throws made. It also marked the best free-throw percentage outing for an Irish player this year and second most free-throws made in a game behind Ogunbowale’s 12 vs Miami on Jan. 4.
  • Westbeld earned her 10th game in double figures this afternoon with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
  • Young notched her 24th game in double figures with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.


Up Next
The Irish advance to Sunday’s ACC Tournament championship game for the fifth consecutive year. Notre Dame will receive its much anticipated rematch with No. 4 Louisville, who defeated No. 23 NC State, 64-59, in the earlier semifinal. Sunday’s title game will tip-off at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2.


 

 

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