Marina Mabrey's triple-double lifts Notre Dame women over Valparaiso

Ken Klimek
Tribune Correspondent

VALPARAISO – Wanting more offensive intensity at the start of games, Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw received her wish in droves Monday night in a 110-54 cakewalk over Valparaiso.

Freshman Marina Mabrey posted a triple-double with 18 points, 12 steals and 10 assists to fuel the Irish victory.

“I think this was a statement game for Marina,” said McGraw. “She proved she was ready to play and to defend. We had a talk yesterday and she showed what she could do.”

Mabrey's triple-double was the first since Skylar Diggins posted one against DePaul in 2013.

Diggins was one of the many Irish fans in attendance at the Valparaiso Arc. Mabrey's 12 steals is a Notre Dame record. The previous mark was 10 by Mary Gavin in 1987.

“Being on the bench at the start of the game allows you to pick up on the players,” Mabrey said. “I saw moves they made. Two dribbles and a crossover. I picked up on that and it helped me a lot.”

Mabrey had eight steals by halftime.

The Irish moved to 4-0, while the defeat was Valparaiso's second in as many outings.

All 12 Notre Dame players scored, including six in double figures. Mabrey's 18 led Notre Dame, but Kathryn Westbeld and Arike Ogunbowale added 16 each. Brianna Turner scored 11 and Madison Cable and Kristina Nelson added 10 points each.

Ogunbowale and Nelson posted career highs in points, as did Diamond Thompson, who scored five for Notre Dame.

McGraw, looking for that fast start, got exactly what she wanted.

Westbeld made sure her coach received her wish, scoring Notre Dame's first seven points. Westbeld had nine points in the first 3:37 to shoot the Irish to a 14-4 lead at that point.

The Irish like to use their defense to trigger the offense. Eight steals by Mabrey, coupled with four blocked shots by sophomore Turner led to a flurry of fast-break points in the first two quarters.

This one was over in a flash.

Notre Dame scored 32 points in the first quarter and held the Crusaders scoreless for a period of 5:16 while uncorking a 16-0 run. In the first half Notre Dame ran off two more impressive streaks, including an 11-0 run at the end of the quarter and start of the second period. Later in the second quarter the Irish unleashed a 14-0 streak. Notre Dame had another 16-0 streak late in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame led 53-18 at the half and the big lead enabled McGraw to rest a lot of starters most of the second half. Valparaiso was led by Meredith Hamlet, who scored10 points.

Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow said her team could learn from playing a team like Notre Dame.

“If we can play like we did in the third quarter and early in the fourth, we will be alright,” she said. “It's easy to see why they are the No. 3 team in the country.”

The Irish victory was the 26th straight over Valparaiso. The Notre Dame-Crusader series is the oldest in Irish women's basketball history. The two teams met in the first-ever Irish women's basketball game, a 46-41 Notre Dame victory on Dec. 3, 1977.

Notre Dame leaves Wednesday for the Bahamas and will meet Denver in the Junkaroo Jam.

Then on Saturday the Irish will meet either Louisiana Tech or UCLA.

Photos from Notre Dame's win at Valparaiso: http://goo.gl/yt7SLI

NOTRE DAME (4-0): Turner 5-9 1-2 11, Allen 2-2 0-0 4, Cable 4-8 0-0 10, Mi. Mabrey 2-4 0-0 5, Westbeld 7-8 2-4 16, Ogunbowale 7-16 1-5 16, Ma. Mabrey 6-7 6-8 18, Reimer 2-5 3-6 7, Johnson 0-1 2-4 2, Nelson 4-5 2-4 10, Huffman 2-3 1-4 5, Thompson 2-2 2-5 6. Totals 43-70 20-42 110.

VALPARAISO (0-2): M. Hamlet 2-9 4-4 10, Schaub 2-5 2-4 7, Dean 1-3 0-2 3, Lindfors 3-5 1-2 7, Walker 3-7 2-3 9, Donchetz 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 1-3 0-0 2, Scott-Thompson 2-8 0-0 5, Franklin 2-6 0-0 5, Schofield 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 0-3 3-4 3, Wiedemann 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 17-52 12-19 54.

Halftime--Notre Dame 53-18. 3-Point Goals--Notre Dame 4-10 (Cable 2-4, Ogunbowale 1-1, Mi. Mabrey 1-3, Ma. Mabrey 0-1, Johnson 0-1), Valparaiso 8-25 (M. Hamlet 2-5, Walker 1-2, Scott-Thompson 1-3, Wiedemann 1-3, Dean 1-3, Franklin 1-3, Schaub 1-4, Miller 0-2). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Notre Dame 46 (Ogunbowale 8), Valparaiso 27 (Lindfors, Thompson 6). Assists--Notre Dame 25 (Ma. Mabrey 10), Valparaiso 11 (M. Hamlet, Miller, Schaub 2). Total Fouls--Notre Dame 24, Valparaiso 29. A--NA.

Notre Dame’s Marina Mabrey (3) drives in on a fast break in front of Valparaiso’s Hannah Schaub (3) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in Valparaiso, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)