Notre Dame women's basketball packs defense for victory

Associated Press
ND Insider

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — It wasn't the prettiest win that Notre Dame has had this season. Still it was a win and that's what mattered most to Irish coach Muffet McGraw.

Marina Mabrey scored 15 points and the No. 7 Irish beat No. 14 Miami 67-55 on Sunday.

Notre Dame committed 21 turnovers, including 14 in the first half, and shot 3-of-13 on 3-pointers. The Irish now have scored under their 78-point season average in three of the last four games.

"I think sometimes you have to be happy with winning ugly and that was ugly," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "We turned it over like we were getting points for it."

The Irish (15-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) extended a seven-point lead after three periods with an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Kathryn Westbeld scored six points during the run and her two free throws with 7:51 remaining capped the surge and made it 59-44.

Westbeld finished with 14 points, and Arike Ogunbowale scored 11 points for the Irish. Brianna Turner added 10 rebounds, but was held to seven points, seven under her season average.

"We got the break going, we got some transition baskets," McGraw said. "I think that's something we do pretty well. I was happy with that."

Mabrey hit two of Notre Dame's 3-pointers, both in the second half. Although the sophomore guard considered it another important conference game, there were additional emotions now that her sister, former Irish star Michaela Mabrey, is a member of the Hurricanes coaching staff.

"It was fun to play against her and not with her but in a different perspective," Mabrey said.

The Hurricanes (13-3, 2-2) shot 37 percent from the field and trailed by just one at halftime.

Jessica Thomas scored 15 points, and Adrienne Motley had 14 for the Hurricanes.

"As ugly as it looked there was some unbelievable effort defensively, some high level prep in scouting to make people uncomfortable," Miami coach Katie Meier said.

The Hurricanes lost their second consecutive home game against a top 10 team. Florida State defeated Miami 81-66 on Dec. 29.

"We had two opportunities here at home and let it slip away," Thomas said.

Irish point guard Lindsay Allen finished with seven assists, including six in the second half, after sitting a good deal in the first half with foul trouble. Allen reached 120 assists for the season.

For Miami, Thomas reached 1,050 points for her career and Motley's three steals increased her Miami career total to 150.

After a 31-game double figure scoring streak, Turner has scored under 10 points in three of the last four games. Turner attempted four shots against Miami and made three.

"She was not active at all, very passive tonight," McGraw said. "She didn't really look for the ball."

The Hurricanes are 2-3 against ranked teams this season. Miami has defeated Ohio State and North Carolina State with losses against Notre Dame, Florida State and Kentucky.


The Irish return home to play Pittsburgh on Thursday before another extended road set of three games.

The Hurricanes close a two-game home set when they host Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

Notre Dame (15-2): Marina Mabrey 5-11 3-4 15, Kathryn Westbeld 6-11 2-2 14, Arike Ogunbowale 5-12 1-1 11, Jackie Young 4-7 0-0 9, Lindsay Allen 3-7 1-1 7, Brianna Turner 3-4 1-2 7, Kristina Nelson 2-3 0-2 4, Erin Boley 0-1 0-0 0, Mychal Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Ali Patberg 0-0 0-2 0, Totals 28-56 8-14 67.

Miami (13-3): Thomas 6-11 1-2 15, Motley 4-13 4-4 14, Hof 4-9 3-4 11, Greene 2-5 0-0 5, Davenport 1-1 0-0 2, Harris 1-2 0-0 2, Hayes 1-6 0-0 2, Cornelius 1-7 0-2 2, Prather 1-2 0-0 2, Bailey 0-0 0-0 0, Mortensen 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 21-56 8-12 55.

Notre Dame 15 15 21 16 — 67

Miami 14 15 15 11 — 55

3-Point Goals--Notre Dame 3-13 (Mabrey 2-7, Young 1-1, Allen 0-1, Ogunbowale 0-3, Westbeld 0-1), Miami 5-18 (Motley 2-4, Thomas 2-5, Greene 1-4, Harris 0-1, Hayes 0-1, Cornelius 0-3). Assists--Notre Dame 16 (Allen 7), Miami 13 (Cornelius 6). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Notre Dame 39 (Turner 10), Miami 28 (Hof 6). Total Fouls--Notre Dame 16, Miami 16. A--1,546.

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw reacts to a play during the Wake Forest at Notre Dame women’s basketball game at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA via FTP