Notre Dame women roll to exhibition victory

Ken Klimek
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame played like the nation’s top-ranked team Thursday in its exhibition opener against Roberts Wesleyan.

The Irish also offered a glimpse of just how versatile they can be.

Notre Dame flashed some potent offensive skills and displayed the kind of balance it will need to handle some of the power teams on its schedule with a 129-50 victory.

The Irish scored at least 30 points in each of the four quarters, shot 61.5 percent, forced 27 turnovers and saw six players score double figures.

Irish freshmen Erin Boley and Jackie Young were solid.

“Both came in looking comfortable, did some good things on defense and for the first time in front of the fans I thought they were exceptional,” said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw.

A Gatorade All-American last year, Boley scored 22 points and shot 4-for-6 from 3. She also grabbed seven rebounds.

“I was a bit nervous coming out, but I was able to become more comfortable,” she said. “It was a good start.”

Young, the Gatorade Player of the Year last season, posted a double-double in her first collegiate competition with 15 points and 10 rebounds. She also had five assists.

“I was just trying to do the dirty work like players here did last year,” Young said. “I tried to fill that role. Scoring will come from the defensive effort.”

“Jackie is one of our best post feeders. She can get the ball to the right person and has the perfect touch on the pass. She is a very good passer with good vision, said McGraw.

Sophomore Ali Patberg got her first taste of collegiate action after missing last season with a knee injury. Patberg did not score but had six assists and four rebounds in 17 minutes.

Sophomore Marina Mabrey led the Irish with 28 points. Senior Kristina Nelson confirmed McGraw’s feeling that she is a much better player this year. Nelson scored 24 points on 12 of 17 shooting and added five rebounds.

“Coco was fabulous,” said McGraw.

Arike Ogunbowale, another sophomore, added 18 for the Irish. Junior Brianna Turner scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in only 18.

Floor general Lindsay Allen, the only senior starter for Notre Dame, scored only two points but added 10 assists.

Roberts Wesleyan coach Gary Andrews was upbeat about his team and its play.

“It was a great experience for our kids,” he said. “There is a reason they (the Irish) are number one. We won’t see another team that good this season. Our kids will learn from this. But we did some good things.”

Some big scoring runs fueled the easy Irish victory. A nine-point unanswered spurt in the first quarter pushed Notre Dame from a 15-7 lead to 24-7. A huge run in the third quarter, when Notre Dame outscored the visitors 34-5, showed how potent the ND attack can be.

Notre Dame only dressed nine players. Mychal Johnson continues to recover from a wrist injury and senior Diamond Thompson was held out.

During pregame drills, the Notre Dame players wore white warm-up shirts with “Muffet” on the front and adorned all with a number 30 on the back.

“I didn’t know anything about that,” said McGraw.

Nelson said the players wore the shirts to honor her coach on the start of her 30th season at Notre Dame.


At Purcell Pavilion

ROBERTS WESLEYAN (50): James 2-10 2-2 7; Andrews 1-7 0-0 2; Miller 5-12 2-2 13; Fields 0-11, 1-2 1; Nady 2-11 2-2 8; Cooke 0-0 0-0 0; Brandt 1-2 0-0 3; Covley 4-7 0-0 12; Bynoe 1-4 2-2 4; TOTALS: 16 9-10 50.

NOTRE DAME (129): Mabrey 11-16 2-2 28; Turner 7-13 2-4 16; Allen 1-2 0-0 2; Ogunbowale 8-15 1-3 18; Westbeld 2-4 0-0 4; Young 6-10 3-3 15; Patberg 0-0 0-0 0; Nelson 12-17 0-2 24; Boley 9-13 0-0 22. TOTALS: 56 8-14 129.

Roberts Wesleyan 13 29 33 50

Notre Dame 32 65 99 129

Field goal shooting: Roberts Wesleyan 16-for-63 (25 percent); Notre Dame 56-for-91 (61.5 percent). 3-point field goals: Roberts Wesleyan 9 (James, Miller, Nady 2, Brandt, Covley 4); Notre Dame 9 (Mabrey 4, Boley 4, Ogunbowale). Rebounds: Roberts Wesleyan 36 (Miller 8); Notre Dame 50 (Young 10). Assists: Roberts Wesleyan 12 (James 4); Notre Dame 38 (Allen 10). Total fouls (fouled out): Roberts Wesleyan 14 (none); Notre Dame 12 (none).

Notre Dame's Marina Mabrey drives down the court Thursday during the Roberts Wesleyan at Notre Dame women's basketball exhibition game.Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA