March 19, 2017
By Megan Golden and Leigh Torbin
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- For the 15th time in program history, and the eighth year in a row, the top-seeded University of Notre Dame women's basketball team has advanced to the Sweet 16 after downing No. 9-seed Purdue, 88-82, in overtime on Sunday night at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame escaped a fourth-quarter rally by the Boilermakers, which outscored the Irish, 19-7, in the frame.
Senior Lindsay Allen's layup with 5:17 remaining were Notre Dame's final points in the fourth quarter as Purdue used a 10-0 run in the final minutes to send the game to overtime.
Notre Dame and Purdue exchanged buckets in the opening minutes of the extra period, but Purdue ran out of time and was forced to foul Notre Dame's best shooters. Sophomores Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale drained six key free throws within the final 13 seconds of overtime, giving the Irish an 88-82 edge and ultimately securing the victory.
The win marks Notre Dame's 18th straight victory against the Big Ten.
The Turning Point
Notre Dame used strong performances from freshmen Jackie Young and Erin Boley to erase the early deficit and outscore the Boilermakers, 32-16, in the second quarter. Young and Boley combined to score 14 points in the period, scoring the first 12 points of the quarter and leading the Irish on a 24-9 run.
Notre Dame's 32 points in the quarter marked its highest-scoring period since it tallied 34 in the second quarter against Wake Forest on January 5.
Trailing 17-13 at the start of the second quarter, Young drove to the basket, drew the foul and ultimately converted the three-point play. Just seconds later, Boley connected on a jumper and then a three-point field goal, scoring five straight and giving the Irish a 21-19 lead with 8:21 remaining in the half.
Notre Dame's 24-9 run gave it a 37-26 lead at the 3:45 mark, and the Irish took a 45-33 lead into halftime.
Kat is Back
Kathryn Westbeld returned to the starting lineup on Sunday night after sitting our Friday night's first round win over Robert Morris with a foot injury. Westbeld has missed five games entirely and played just limited roles in others since injuring her ankle in practice prior to the Jan. 19 game at Boston College.
A "glue player" in Notre Dame's lineup at forward, the Irish are 22-3 in Westbeld's 25 starts this year. She played 20 minutes tonight, chipping in six rebounds, four points a pair of assists and a steal before fouling out.
Tonight's win is Notre Dame's 42nd consecutive win on a Sunday, including a perfect 11-0 record this year. Of those 11 wins, seven have come against teams which were selected for the NCAA Championship (Washington, Toledo, Miami, Syracuse, Florida State, Duke and Purdue).
The last Irish loss on a Sunday came in the 2013 Final Four when UConn beat the Irish in the semifinals on Sunday, April 7, 2013.
Just a Little Bit More
Notre Dame improved to 4-1 all-time in overtime in the NCAA Championship. It was the first overtime game for the Irish since their win over UConn in the 2012 Final Four. The Irish also own overtime NCAA wins over Southwest Missouri State (2004 first round) and Oklahoma (2008 second round) while falling to the Sooners in overtime in the 2010 Sweet 16.
Lindsay Allen had eight assists tonight. That gives her 99 career assists in the NCAA tournament alone, surpassing Virginia's Dawn Staley and Old Dominion's Ticha Penicheiro for sixth place in NCAA history. The assists extend her Notre Dame and ACC career records to 825 and her school seasonal record to 267.
Allen made her 147th consecutive start, extending what is believed to be an NCAA record. Allen's 147 total career starts is a Notre Dame record.
Brianna Turner played in her 100th career game for Notre Dame tonight and made her 99th career start. The Irish are 93-7 in games played by Turner and 92-7 in her starts.
Arike Ogunbowale was a perfect 8-for-8 at the foul line. That tied for the third-best freet throw showing in Notre Dame NCAA Championship history, topped only by Charel Allen's 12-for-12 against Oklahoma in 2008 and Beth Morgan's 10-for-10 against Alabama in Notre Dame's 1997 Sweet 16 upset of the Crimson Tide. It is the 2016-17 team's best performance of the season, eclipsing the 7-for-7 mark at the charity stripe for Jackie Young on Jan. 12 against Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame will head to Lexington, Kentucky for the Sweet 16. The Irish will face fifth-seeded Ohio State in a Friday night game at Rupp Arena. Tipoff time will be at either 7 or 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Megan Golden, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since August of 2016. In her role, she coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women's lacrosse and cross country/track and field programs. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Golden is a 2014 graduate of Saint Mary's College and former Irish women's basketball manager. Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, she worked in public relations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.
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.