Notre Dame dismisses Boston College, braces for Florida State

Ken Klimek
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND – The preliminaries are over. Now it's time for the main event.

The Notre Dame women's basketball team disposed of Boston College 82-45 Thursday night at Purcell Pavilion. That victory assures the Irish of at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season championship.

The main event comes Sunday when the Irish, 26-3 and 14-1 in ACC play, host Florida State. The Seminoles are 13-2 in the league and can prevent Notre Dame from a fourth consecutive outright title if they can pull the upset.

After an early 7-2 deficit, Notre Dame outscored Boston College (9-19, 2-13) 49-24 the rest of the first half and coasted to the victory in a second half that was a bit ugly offensively, but strong defensively.

Boston College had only 14 points in the second half, the fewest Notre Dame has allowed since it held Virginia Tech to 11 on Jan. 24, 2016.

It seemed fitting that Lindsay Allen sparkled on senior night when she and Diamond Thompson were honored in pregame ceremonies. Allen led the Irish with 18 points – her season high, and had eight assists as she continues her assault on both the Irish and the ACC all-time assist records.

Allen has 769 career assists, nine behind Irish leader Mary Gavin (1988) and 16 behind ACC record holder Sharnee Zoll.

Coach Muffet McGraw, following her tradition of letting seniors start on senior night, gave Thompson the first start of her career.

“It was great. Diamond played really well (six rebounds and a blocked shot in 16 minutes,” said McGraw. “Diamond has a great personality and just brings sunshine into the room. She does a lot of things people don't notice that really help our team.”

The two seniors, Allen and Thompson, have helped Notre Dame to a 132-9 record during the stay under the Golden Dome. The Irish have won 41 consecutive conference games at home.

McGraw, disappointed with some of her team's performance in the second half, had plenty of praise for Allen who played only 27 minutes.

“Lindsay continued to play well and lead the team. She is doing everything we need her to do,” said McGraw.

Five Notre Dame players scored in double figures. After Allen's 18, freshman Erin Boley added 14, Brianna Turner 12 and Jackie Young and Arike Ogunbowale 11 each. Young, for the second straight game, paced the Irish on the boards with eight rebounds. Forward Kathryn Westbeld was held out with a lingering ankle injury.

“Except for Jackie, everybody did a poor job on the boards,” said McGraw. “We only outrebounded them by three (47-44). That is disgraceful.”

But while the offense cooled off in the second half, the Irish defense limited Boston College to only three baskets on 32 shots. The Eagles shot 25.4 percent for the game. During one stretch the Irish blanked Boston College for almost five minutes in the third quarter, then held them scoreless for another 5:18 at the start of the final period.

Turner had a season high seven blocked shots and dominated the post play defensively.

“Giving up only 14 points (in the second half) was good,” said McGraw. “I like that – especially Bri (Turner). On one possession I think she blocked three shots, but everybody else just stood around and watched her work.”

The Irish offense was not fluid after halftime.

“It was ugly. We just did not shoot it well — that makes it look ugly,” said McGraw of her team's 10 of 28 performance in the final two quarters.

“When Marina (Mabrey) and Arike weren't hitting, we tried to throw some different people in the game,'' McGraw said. "We tried to look for Jackie and Erin to score for us.''

Notre Dame's NCAA granted No. 1 seed for the upcoming tournament may have been bolstered a bit when No. 3-ranked Mississippi State lost in overtime to Kentucky, 78-75. The Irish entered Thursday's game ranked No. 5 and one of four No. 1 seeds.

After the Sunday clash with the Seminoles, Notre Dame will be idle until Friday when they will open play in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament at Coastal Carolina University near Myrtle Beach, S.C. If Notre Dame wins Sunday it will be the No. 1 seed in the ACC tourney — a No. 2 seed should it lose.

In addition to the two Irish roster players, senior managers Rebecca Moore, Elizabeth Moulton and Allison Griffith also were honored.

Boston College (9-19): Kailey Edwards 1-1 3-4 6, Georgia Pineau 2-12 0-0 4,Mariella Fasoula 6-19 2-5 14, Kelly Hughes 1-9 0-0 2,Taylor Ortlepp 3-10 0-0 8, Emilee Daley 2-6 0-2 5, Emma Guy 0-2 3-4 3, Shannon Ryan 0-0 0-0 0, Katie Quandt 0-0 0-0 0, Rachel Gartner 0-1 0-0 0, Stephanie Jones 1-1 0-0 3, Martina Mosetti 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 16-63 8-15 45.

Notre Dame (26-3): Brianna Turner 5-8 2-3 12, Diamond Thompson 0-2 0-0 0, Lindsay Allen 6-8 6-6 18, Marina Mabrey 3-12 2-4 9, Arike Ogunbowale 4-10 2-4 11, Erin Boley 5-11 0-0 14, Kristina Nelson 2-4 1-1 5, ali Patberg 0-1 2-2 2, Jackie Young 5-10 1-1 11, Totals 30-66 16-21 82.

Boston College 14 17 7 7 — 45

Notre Dame 26 25 15 16 — 82

3-Point Goals--Boston College 5-17 (Edwards 1-1, Pineau 0-1, Hughes 0-6, Ortlepp 2-5, Daley 1-3, Jones 1-1), Notre Dame 6-15 (Mabrey 1-4, Ogunbowale 1-2, Boley 4-8, Patberg 0-1). Assists--Boston College 8 (Ortlepp 3), Notre Dame 16 (Allen 8). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Boston College 44 (Fasoula 8), Notre Dame 47 (Young 8). Total Fouls--Boston College 19, Notre Dame 17. A--8,376.

Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen (15) shoots over Boston College’s Mariella Fasoula (34) during the second half, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in South Bend. Tribune Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ