It took two courts for Notre Dame women to topple Louisiana-Lafayette
HOUSTON — Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said she would do just about anything for junior forward Brianna Turner.
That includes playing one of the strangest and longest games in college basketball in what was a homecoming for ND's All-American.
In one of the most bizarre scenarios imaginable at a major sporting event, top-ranked Notre Dame (5-0) and Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1) switched venues in the middle of their game due to a power outage. Even with the switch in venue and the delay, the Irish were too much for the Ragin' Cajuns, winning 91-51 in a game that took nearly four hours to complete Tuesday night.
"I thought we showed great resilience to battle through all the adversity we had," McGraw said, whose club got a career high 27 points from Marina Mabrey. "The longest game in the history of women's basketball."
The teams were playing at the Campbell Center in front of roughly 1,000 fans when a power outage caused a long delay in the second quarter. After calling around to local schools, the rest of the contest was played at Rice University, about 30 minutes away from the original venue. The teams bused over to Rice and picked up where they left off after a 2-hour, 35-minute delay. Notre Dame led 38-17 with 2:38 left in the second quarter.
"We had three options — play tomorrow, cancel or find a place to play tonight," McGraw said. "I think both teams wanted to play the game. We got here, we wanted to finish it, and coming back tomorrow morning to finish it didn't seem as much fun."
Rice's arena was available as the women's team played Grand Canyon on Tuesday night.
The Notre Dame game resumed at 11:11 p.m. (EST) with about 30 friends and family in attendance as well as the Rice women's basketball team. The teams had a 10 minute warm-up, skipped halftime, taking just a brief break between the second and third quarters. The final 22 minutes took about 50 minutes to finish, making total game time about an hour and 30 minutes.
"I think you have to relax a little bit," McGraw said about how Notre Dame stayed focus. "The girls were able to unwind in the locker room. They were able to stay upbeat and positive. For them, this is primetime. They are wide awake. It was the coaches I was worried about falling asleep on the bench."
Turner, a Houston native, had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Irish.
"At the Campbell Center, it was very exciting when the lights went out," Turner said. "I knew we thought we would be able to play there, but of course, we couldn't. It was so nice of Rice — they played a game here, too, tonight — to let us use their facilities and finish our game."
The game was originally stopped when the lights in the arena shut off and a couple flashes of light could be seen behind loading dock doors in the corner of the arena. Emergency lights came on in the arena soon after. Both teams were sent to the locker rooms with several pops and flashes heard and seen intermittently.
"That's why I coach basketball because it is inside, and we don't have rain delays or weather problems or anything like that," Louisiana-Lafayette coach Garry Brodhead said. "I have never been to a game where we had to stop it, wait awhile, move venues, so I never even thought about it."
The game was a homecoming for Turner, a junior forward who played high school basketball south of Houston. McGraw had tried to get some of the local schools to play the Irish, but couldn't pull it off, forcing her to play a neutral site game against the Ragin' Cajuns.
The team had dinner at Turner's house Monday night. Turner went to high school at Manvel, which is about 10 miles south of Houston.
Manvel High School cheerleaders, dance team and band were in attendance and donned lime green Irish shirts while playing the Notre Dame fight song at the Campbell Center, but they did not make the trip to Rice. Neither did former Irish great Skylar Diggins, who was at the Campbell Center.
Jaylyn Gordon had 16 points and Jasmin Thomas added 15 points for Louisiana-Lafayette, which shot 31 percent but forced 21 turnovers.
The Ragin' Cajuns stayed with Notre Dame for one quarter, trailing 19-15 after one. The second quarter was not kind for Louisiana-Lafayette, which started the quarter 0 for 9 from the floor and turned the ball over four times.
The Fighting Irish got in a groove and didn't let the delay affect them. Notre Dame hit nine of 12 from the field in the second quarter and was in a rhythm defensively when the lights went out. When play resumed, Notre Dame did not let up. The Fighting Irish did commit seven turnovers in the first quarter, and that allowed the Ragin' Cajuns to stay in it.
• Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin' Cajuns will play Southeast Missouri State Friday as part of the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
• Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish will host TCU on Saturday
Notre Dame (5-0): Mabrey 10-15 3-3 27, Turner 8-13 0-2 16, Young 5-8 2-4 13, Westbeld 5-6 0-0 10, Ogunbowale 4-12 1-4 9, Boley 3-9 1-1 7, Nelson 2-3 1-2 5, Allen 1-1 0-0 2, Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 39-68 8-16 91.
Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1): Gordon 6-23 1-3 16, Thomas 4-12 4-6 15, Fields 4-10 0-0 8, Alexander 2-2 1-2 5, Quinn 2-5 1-2 5, Myles 1-2 0-0 2, Burton 0-0 0-0 0, Seraphin-Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Swain 0-3 0-2 0, Washington 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 19-61 7-15 51.
Notre Dame 19 23 25 24 —91
Louisiana-Lafayette 15 5 18 13 —51
3-Point Goals-Notre Dame 5-16 (Mabrey 4-7, Young 1-1, Boley 0-5, Ogunbowale 0-3), Louisiana-Lafayette 6-18 (Gordon 3-8, Thomas 3-5, Seraphin-Williams 0-3, Swain 0-2). Assists-Notre Dame 25 (Allen 9), Louisiana-Lafayette 8 (Swain 2). Fouled Out-Notre Dame Nelson, Rebounds-Notre Dame 60 (Turner 12), Louisiana-Lafayette 20 (Swain 3). Total Fouls-Notre Dame 16, Louisiana-Lafayette 20. A--767.