Notre Dame women survive Cards, advance to ACC Tourney title game
CONWAY, S.C. — With most of her teammates in foul trouble, Marina Mabrey took over to get Notre Dame back to the ACC Tournament finals.
Mabrey scored 26 points to help No. 3 Notre Dame beat 14th-ranked Louisville 84-73 on Saturday in the conference semis.
"I thought Marina did a really great job in a lot of ways," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I thought first when Lindsay (Allen) got her second foul she could play an entire quarter at the point, which she really hasn't done all year long, and kept us even. That was really big for us."
The Irish (29-3) advanced to the title game for the fourth straight year. They are looking to become only the second team in conference history to win both the regular season and tournament crowns in four consecutive seasons. Duke did it from 2001-04.
Top-seeded Notre Dame will play No. 3 seed Duke (27-4) in the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. (EDT). The game will be shown on ESPN2.
Trailing 35-33 early in the third quarter, the Irish went on an 11-2 run to take a 44-37 advantage. Mabrey scored nine of the points, converting two 3-point plays and hitting a 3-pointer.
Asia Durr did her best to keep the Cardinals in the game, scoring 26 points to lead Louisville (27-7).
"I thought Durr was unbelievable,'' McGraw said. "I mean, she made so many huge shots with somebody almost right on her. I thought she was fabulous today. She just hit so many big 3s. We'd get up and think we could just get a stop, we'd be OK, but we really had trouble stopping her."
Notre Dame was up by two heading into the fourth and wouldn't relinquish the advantage despite Allen, Brianna Turner and Jackie Young all having four fouls.
Louisville's Myisha Hines-Allen, who played only a minute in the first meeting between the teams because of a knee injury, made her presence felt in the first half. She had 12 points, hitting six of seven shots, to help the Cardinals keep pace. She finished with 20 points.
Neither team could get more than a five-point lead in the opening 20 minutes.
"We've got 1½ weeks before we figure out who we will play in the NCAA Tournament, our goal is to win six games," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "That's something you can't wait for next Monday on the draw. You've got to continue to start doing it now."
Notre Dame had just five turnovers to Louisville's 18. When the two teams met the first time, the Irish had just four turnovers.
"You know, we played them at Notre Dame and set a record. We only had four turnovers in the game, so we had five today. I don't think we can play better than that," McGraw said. "I thought we played a really smart game, got the ball to the right people, took good care of it, and forced them into 18, which was huge. We got a couple of breakaway layups in the second half that really, really were key."
With the top 16 teams poised to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinals are on the bubble to become hosts.
Louisville has advanced to the semifinals of a conference tournament in five consecutive seasons.
Allen has started 144 games at Notre Dame, matching Skylar Diggins for the school record for most total career starts.
The Irish have won 11 consecutive ACC Tournament games, the longest run since North Carolina won 13 in a row from 2005-09. Throw in Notre Dame's time in the Big East and the team has won 14 straight conference tournament games.
LOUISVILLE (27-7): Myisha Hines-Allen 9-17 2-2 20, Mariya Moore 3-10 0-0 7, Kylee Shook 6-10 0-0 16, Courtnee Walton 0-0 0-0 0, Asia Durr 8-18 4-6 26, Sam Fuehring 0-0 0-0 0, Ciera Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Taylor Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Jazmine Jones 1-2 0-0 2, Sydney Zambrotta 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 28-58 6-8 73.
NOTRE DAME (29-3): Brianna Turner 8-11 0-0 16, Kathryn Westbeld 2-9 4-4 8, Lindsay Allen 1-2 2-2 5, Marina Mabrey 9-16 5-6 26, Arike Ogunbowale 4-11 5-6 13, Erin Boley 0-1 0-0 0, Jackie Young 5-10 4-6 16, Totals 29-60 20-24 84.
Louisville 17 16 23 17 — 73
Notre Dame 18 15 25 26 — 84
3-Point Goals-Louisville 11-21 (Moore 1-5, Shook 4-5, Durr 6-11), Notre Dame 6-16 (Westbeld 0-2, Allen 1-2, Mabrey 3-6, Ogunbowale 0-2, Boley 0-1, Young 2-3). Assists-Louisville 16 (Moore 8), Notre Dame 16 (Allen 10). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Louisville 35 (Hines-Allen 12), Notre Dame 25 (Turner 5). Total Fouls-Louisville 19, Notre Dame 17. A-3,600.