Ogunbowale, Young lead Notre Dame in 103-66 rout of Virginia
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Even Notre Dame’s leading scorer, Arike Ogunbowale, couldn’t find enough words to describe the triple-double performance of Jackie Young off the bench as the No. 4 Fighting Irish routed Virginia 103-66 Sunday for their sixth straight victory.
“The first one to get a triple-double twice in one season at Notre Dame?” Ogunbowale said after scoring 24 points, going 6 for 8 from beyond the arc, to lead five Irish players in double figures. “Jackie was amazing.”
Young, a junior guard who normally starts, had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists after coach Muffet McGraw elected to start walk-on Maureen Butler on Senior Day. Young, who had a triple-double earlier this season at Tennessee and missed another by two rebounds last Monday at Syracuse, replaced Butler at the 2:04 mark.
“Jackie wanted to steal the thunder today,” McGraw said after the Fighting Irish (27-3, 14-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) won a share of the regular-season title with No. 3 Louisville for the second straight year but will be the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament this week. “Just a great day off the bench . Jackie so willingly gave up her start and then came in and had the best game of her season.”
It’s all about the team for Young, who missed Notre Dame’s 78-73 loss at North Carolina on Jan. 27 with an injury and struggled along with her teammates in a 72-65 loss at Miami on Feb. 7.
“We knew we had to focus and finish strong,” Young said. “We’ve really focused on our defense. When we play defense, I think we’re the best team in the country.”
Brianna Turner had 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting with six rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists for Notre Dame, and Jessica Shepard had 19 points and eight rebounds. Marina Mabrey finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as the trio and Ogunbowale played their final regular-season game at Purcell Pavilion.
“Jackie could literally average a triple-double if she wanted to,” Turner said after the Irish, who are expected to start the defense of their NCAA title at home, passed the century mark for the seventh time on 55.1 percent shooting and had 28 assists on 38 field goals.
Jocelyn Willoughby scored 19 points and Lisa Jablonowski added 17 for Virginia (11-18, 5-11), which was held to 32.5 percent shooting.
“They are very impressive,” Virginia coach Tina Thompson said. “They shoot the ball extremely well, have two posts (Turner and Shepard) who are very talented and Young is becoming a very versatile player.”
The Irish started with a 12-0 run — their 38th streak of 10 points or more this season — on way to a 16-2 lead at the 6:40 mark and used 60-percent shooting (12 of 20) to take a 29-16 first-quarter lead. It was 53-33 at halftime as Notre Dame scored its last nine points from the free-throw line and did not hit a field goal for the final 5:32.
But that changed in the third quarter as Notre Dame hit nine of its first 12 shots. Young made a 3-pointer with 3:40 left to give the Irish a 30-point lead, 70-40. She then grabbed her ninth rebound and dished out her ninth assist to Mabrey for a 3-pointer that gave the Irish an 83-47 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Virginia: The Cavaliers, suiting just eight players, were held to 27.3 shooting (12 of 42) in the first half by the Irish. But they managed a 15-10 edge in second-chance points because of their scrappiness underneath, getting 15 offensive boards. They finished with 20 offensive rebounds among their 37.
“As a team we continued to battle,” Thompson said. “After we shook off the first minutes of jitters, we started being ourselves.”
Notre Dame: The Irish had their most production of the season as far as bench scoring with 27 points. Young, of course, scored 22 of them (Abby Prohaska had three and walk-on Nicole Benz had the other two). The Irish outscored Virginia 42-34 in the paint but only 7-4 on fast-break points despite their 28 assists. Nevertheless, at one point in the second half, Notre Dame hit 19 of its first 25 shots.
“I couldn’t imagine a better finish for these seniors,” McGraw said. “We just have so many weapons on offense and we’re starting to peak now. We’re in a great place, heading into the tournament as the No. 1 seed, just where we wanted to be.”
Virginia: First-round game Wednesday in ACC Tournament at Greensboro, North Carolina.
Notre Dame: Quarterfinal game Friday in ACC Tournament.