Young leads No. 1 Notre Dame women past No. 15 DePaul 101-77
CHICAGO (AP) — No. 1 Notre Dame was struggling against the pressure and having a difficult time hanging onto the ball. Once the Irish got that under control, they started to pull away for another lopsided victory.
Jackie Young had 28 points and 12 rebounds, Arike Ogunbowale scored 24 and Notre Dame beat No. 15 DePaul 101-77 on Saturday.
The defending NCAA champions passed their first big test and gave coach Muffet McGraw her 891st career victory. The Irish (3-0) went from trailing by seven after the first quarter to leading by seven at halftime before turning this into a rout.
"It was a little bit hard for us to get into any kind of offensive rhythm," McGraw said. "It took us a little while to figure out how to get the ball inside."
Young finished four points shy of her career high. The junior made 11 of 12 free throws, though she and Ogunbowale each committed five turnovers.
Ogunbowale also shot 7 of 8 from the foul line. Jessica Shepard added 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Danielle Patterson scored 14.
The Irish dominated on the glass 48-23, outscored DePaul 58-26 in the paint and came away with the win despite committing 25 turnovers — 10 in the first quarter.
"That's something we should be able to do every game," McGraw said, referring to the big rebounding edge. "We have a really, really good team. ... We're bigger. And I felt we had a great effort on the offensive glass, too."
Ashton Millender led the Blue Demons (1-1) with 27 points, matching a career high she set exactly one year earlier against Delaware State. The senior made 7 of 12 3-pointers.
Chante Stonewall added a personal-best 21 points. But the Blue Demons got overwhelmed after a promising start.
"There's many, many coaches in the country that play very soft schedules at this point," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "This is the Christmas season, it's the cupcake season. That's what people do at this time of the year. We don't."
Young and Ogunbowale each scored 19 points and made all six free throws to help the Irish grab a 54-47 halftime lead after a sluggish start.
After struggling early in a 20-point win over Penn on Monday, Notre Dame trailed 29-22 through a fast-paced first quarter. Millender scored 13 in the first 10 minutes, nailing a 3 from the wing at the buzzer to give the Blue Demons a seven-point lead.
DePaul was ahead 37-32 in the second when Ogunbowale hit two free throws to start a 10-0 run. A basket on the break and layup by Young put Notre Dame in front by one.
Ogunbowale scored in transition and Danielle Patterson finished the run with a put-back after a turnover by DePaul's Kelly Campbell, making it 42-37 with four minutes left in the half.
Notre Dame got the lead up to 79-63 with 31 seconds left in the third when Shepard scored in the paint. DePaul got within 10 early in the fourth before the Irish pulled away.
Notre Dame: Once the Irish got the turnovers under control, they started dominating inside and were able to overcome another sluggish start. The schedule doesn't get any easier, with a loaded field next week in the Vancouver Showcase that includes 2017 NCAA champion South Carolina. After that, the Irish play Iowa on Nov. 29 and Connecticut on Dec. 2.
DePaul: Bruno believes his team benefits down the line by playing a tough schedule in the early going. To that end, the Blue Demons visit Connecticut on Nov. 28.
Notre Dame: Plays Gonzaga at the Vancouver Showcase on Thursday.
DePaul: Plays Princeton in the Cancun Challenge on Thursday.