Notre Dame headed back to Final Four
Published 7:45 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019
CHICAGO — Then there were four.
The No. 1 seeded Notre Dame women’s basketball team punched its ticket to Tampa on Monday night with an 84-68 win over No. 2 seeded Stanford in the Chicago Regional final. The Fighting Irish will be making their ninth trip to the Final Four.
Regional MVP Arike Ogunbowale poured in 21 points, with a 7-for-7 day from the free-throw line. All-Regional Team honoree Jessica Shepard notched yet another postseason double-double with 11 points and 14 boards.
Jackie Young tallied a game high 25 points, 19 of which came in the second half. She also picked up a double-double with 10 rebounds. Brianna Turner rounded out the double digit scorers with 14 points.
Lastly, Marina Mabrey dished out a team best six assists.
Irish coach Muffet McGraw said the start of the game was rough.
“That was unbelievable,” McGraw said. “First half, could not make a shot. I thought we looked just completely out of sorts, very unlike what we normally look like. Credit to Stanford’s defense. They were hitting the boards hard. They were packing it in. We couldn’t get anything going. And then the second half we looked like ourselves again.”
McGraw was pleased with the play of her two guards.
“I thought that Arike was just phenomenal down the stretch,” she said. “Jackie Young picked up where Arike left off in the third quarter when she got her fouls, but I thought Abby Prohaska gave us such a huge lift. That momentum really helped turn the game around.”
How it happened
Notre Dame suffered from a cold shooting start, going 4-of-20 from the field in the first quarter, and trailed Stanford 13-11. After an 0-for-4 start in the second, Prohaska got the offensive board and the putback, which was later followed by back-to-back jumpers from Ogunbowale and Young, garnering a 17-16 lead.
After the second quarter media, Stanford connected on three consecutive three-pointers and ultimately made its last 6-of-8 shots of the half, giving the Cardinal a 33-26 lead. The Irish went 10-of-39 in the half, and were kept off the board for the final 2:42. Ogunbowale led all Irish players with eight points.
Trailing 40-33 at the 5:17 mark in the third, Young, Shepard and Mabrey all contributed toward an Irish 6-0 run in less than a minute. After a Cardinal basket at 2:51, Notre Dame ended the period making seven of its next eight shots, resulting in a 13-4 scoring spree. Young supplied seven of the points, while Turner added four and Prohaska two.
As a whole, the Irish shot 12-of-17.
Young kept her hot hand in the fourth, scoring the first two baskets for the Irish, pushing their lead to 56-48. Young, Ogunbowale and Mabrey then strung together a 6-0 run midway through the fourth, extending the lead to 70-56. The Irish then iced the game from the free-throw line to bring the game to its 84-68 final.
• The Irish earned program win No. 998.
• The five Irish starters have now amassed 10,070 combined career points, which stands as the most in both Division I men’s and women’s basketball all-time.
• Notre Dame now boasts 66 NCAA Tournament wins, which surpasses Louisiana Tech for the fourth most all-time.
• Irish move to 9-1 all-time in the Elite Eight round, which stands as the best winning percentage for any team who’s been to at least five.