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Irish Cruise Past Colonials, Advance to NCAA Second Round

March 17, 2017

Final Stats | Final Stats Get Acrobat Reader | Press Conference Video | Irish NCAA Tournament Central

By Leigh Torbin

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - No. 1-seed Notre Dame looked every bit the part its lofty seeding implies in its 2017 NCAA Championship debut, shooting 52.5% from the floor in a dominant 79-49 win over Robert Morris on Friday night at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.

For the first time in almost exactly two years, the Irish had two players record a double-double as Brianna Turner scored 13 points with 10 rebounds and five blocks while Arike Ogunbowale scored 15 points along with grabbing 10 boards. Lindsay Allen had 14 points with eight rebounds and six assists while Marina Mabrey tied Ogunbowale for the team lead with 15 points of her own, also recording four steals.

The Irish (31-3) outrebounded the Colonials (22-11) by 29 while holding their foe to 26.6% shooting for the game. Notre Dame's 52 rebounds were its fourth-most ever in an NCAA tournament game.

First Quarter of Runs

Notre Dame and Robert Morris matched each other with one very significant exception in the first quarter. The end result was a 24-12 Irish lead after 10 minutes of play, the 29th time in 34 games this season that the Irish have lead at the initial quarter break.

Notre Dame began the game on a 10-0 run, but the Colonials answered with a 10-0 run of their own. The quarter ended with a 2-0 mini run for the Irish that balanced a 2-0 burst for Robert Morris. The main difference, the unanswered 12-0 Notre Dame run in the middle of the frame to give the Irish a 22-10 edge.

Marina Mabrey led the Irish with nine points in the first quarter. Lindsay Allen filled out the stat sheet nicely in the opening 10 minutes with five points, four rebounds and four assists.

Freshman Starts

Erin Boley started tonight's game at forward as Kathryn Westbeld continues to heal her sore ankle. It marked the first time a freshman has started an NCAA Championship game for the Irish since 2015 when Brianna Turner started all six games of Notre Dame's run to the national championship game. The previous year, 2014, Lindsay Allen started each of Notre Dame's six NCAA games as a freshman.

Boley finished the game with five points, four rebounds and an assist in her 23 minutes of action. It marked the eighth start of her freshman year, all coming since Westbeld hurt her ankle in practice on Jan. 18.

Milestone Watch

Lindsay Allen made her 146th consecutive start, extending what is believed to be an NCAA record. Allen's 146 total career starts in a Notre Dame record.

With six assists in her 27 minutes of action, Allen extended her Notre Dame and ACC career record to 817 and her Irish season record to 258. Allen now has 91 career assists in NCAA Championship play, ranking eighth in tournament lore. She is one behind a sixth-place tie between Dawn Staley of Virginia and Old Dominion's Ticha Penicheiro with 92.

Brianna Turner moved into the top 10 in ACC history for career blocks with 263. By swatting away five Colonial shots tonight, she now stands ninth in league history, surpassing the 261 of Duke's Chante Balck (2005-09) and the 262 of North Carolina's Waltiea Rolle (2009-13).

Turner's five blocks tonight give her 86 on the year, the sixth-best single season in school history, surpassing Ruth Riley's 85 in 1999-00. Riley holds the school seasonal record with her 113 in the national championship season of 2000-01.

With 13 points tonight, Turner now has 1,446 in her Irish career, moving up into 16th place on the school career's chart past Sheila McMillen's 1,439 from 1995-99.

Luck O' the Irish

The Fighting Irish played on St. Patrick's Day for the sixth time and now own a 4-2 record on the special date. This marked the first St. Patrick's Day game for the Irish since a 2002 loss at Tennessee in the NCAA second round.

Notre Dame's most noteworthy St. Patrick's Day encounter came on 1997 when the sixth-seeded Irish knocked off third-seeded Texas at the Irwin Center to advance to the program's first Sweet 16 en route to its first Final Four.

Just like their current scenario, the Irish began their march to the 2001 national championship with a March 17 "one vs. 16" home game in the first round of the NCAA Championship. That day, Notre Dame downed Alcorn State, 98-49.

In addition to the traditional tournament green nail polish which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Irish also wore their green-trimmed home uniforms instead of the standard blue and gold-trimmed white uniforms. Notre Dame is 18-2 all-time in NCAA Championship games when wearing white with green trim.

Up Next

Notre Dame will face an old in-state rival on Sunday night as the Irish face No. 9-seed Purdue in the second round. Tipoff between the Irish and Boilermakers is set for 9 p.m. on ESPN2. Purdue advanced to the second round with a 74-62 win over No. 8-seed Green Bay.

--ND--

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.

--ND--

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.

 

 

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