Aug. 6, 2013
LONDON -- For the past few years, the Notre Dame women's basketball program has had a wildly successful promotion at its home games where fans at Purcell Pavilion can receive a coupon for a free Big Mac if the Fighting Irish score 88 points in a game. So it came as absolutely no surprise that even in the land of fish & chips and bangers & mash, Notre Dame found the Golden Arches figuring prominently in another Fighting Irish victory.
Sophomore guard (and 2012 McDonald's High School All-American) Michaela Mabrey (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) scored a game-high 24 points, including a sizzling 6-of-12 from the three-point line, while a pair of 2013 McDonald's High School All-Americans added double-doubles -- freshman forward Taya Reimer (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, and freshman guard Lindsay Allen (Mitchellville, Md./St. John's College) with 16 points and a game-best 12 assists -- as Notre Dame routed the reigning English Basketball League runner-up Barking Abbey, 101-54 on Tuesday night at Barking Abbey School in the London suburb of Barking, England, in the first of three exhibition games for the Fighting Irish on their 2013 European tour.
Junior guard Madison Cable (Mt. Lebanon, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) chipped in 13 points off the bench, while junior guard Whitney Holloway (Plainfield, Ill./Montini Catholic) added 11 points and a game-high eight steals as the Fighting Irish went over the century mark for the first time in eight exhibitions on foreign soil, while improving to 7-1 all-time in European tour action (including trips to France and Italy in both 2002 and 2009).
As a team, Notre Dame shot 52.4 percent from the floor, including a sharp 10-of-17 (.588) from the three-point line. The Fighting Irish also held a sizeable 56-37 rebounding edge and harassed their British opponents into 26 turnovers while holding Barking Abbey to a .259 field goal percentage (3-of-23 from the three-point line). Melita Emanuel-Carr and Josephine Salmon shared team-high scoring honors for the English side with 10 points apiece.
Tuesday's result was even more noteworthy considering Notre Dame's three seniors -- forwards Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary's Catholic) and Ariel Braker (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich./Grosse Pointe North) and guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) -- were held out of the starting lineup due to a curfew violation the previous evening, while sophomore guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) remains sidelined with an ankle injury suffered in a practice prior to the start of the tour.
"This trip is a learning process for us in a number of different ways, but I was really pleased with the way we played tonight," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "Mike Michaela Mabrey) was hot and she probably could have even shot it a little bit more than she did. I also thought we got some great minutes from Maddie (Cable) and Whit (Holloway), and our freshmen, especially Lindsay (Allen) and Taya (Reimer), also made some nice contributions for us. What I liked most was seeing how others stepped up to fill the voids we had in our lineup, and now we'll move on and see how much we can gain from this going into the rest of the tour."
The Fighting Irish are playing all three of their European games under international rules, which include an eight-second backcourt violation, a 24-second shot clock, four 10-minute quarters and two foul shots on the fifth team foul in each period. The latter rule reared its somewhat ugly head in the first quarter, as Notre Dame found itself over the limit just 4:07 into the game. However, the Fighting Irish defense was stout in the first quarter, holding Barking Abbey to 0-for-12 shooting in the period while jumping out to a 20-10 lead, highlighted by a 7-0 run to end the quarter (the hosts' lone points came on 10-of-12 free throws). McBride came off the bench to pump in all nine of her points in the final three minutes of the period, including a three-pointer just before the buzzer.
The team traded baskets for the first three minutes of the second quarter, with Chantel Charles hitting a layup at the 7:10 mark to trim Notre Dame's lead to 24-14. That's when Mabrey went to work, draining three three-pointers in the next 4:35, and Holloway added another trey with five seconds left in the half as the Fighting Irish closed the period on a 20-5 run to take a 44-19 halftime lead.
Notre Dame then dropped the hammer on Barking Abbey with a 15-4 spurt to begin the third quarter, getting six points from Reimer and five from Cable in the run. Mabrey added two more three-pointers and Allen beat the third-quarter buzzer by banking in a triple from the top of the key, giving the Fighting Irish a 77-38 edge after 30 minutes.
The final quarter was largely a chance for the Fighting Irish newcomers to get some work, with the lead ballooning to its largest margin of 47 points twice, the second being the final score. Reimer hit both the basket that would have served Big Macs to a home Purcell Pavilion crowd (4:15 left) and the final field goal that vaulted Notre Dame into triple digits for the first time in eight European tour contests with 1:17 to play.
The Fighting Irish will enjoy a final day of sightseeing in London before taking a late-afternoon flight to Barcelona, Spain, for the second leg of their 10-day odyssey. Notre Dame's next game is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local) Thursday when the Fighting Irish take on the French Junior National Team at Pavelo El Moli in Lloret de Mar, Spain (located about 50 miles northeast of Barcelona).
For more information on the Notre Dame women's basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women's basketball Twitter pages (@ndwbbsid or @ndwbb -- use the hashtag #EUROTRIP13 for special European tour updates), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.