Notre Dame women's basketball takes out frustration on BC

Anthony Anderson
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — The “chip on our shoulder,” as Jessica Shepard put it, became the boulder on Boston College’s shoulder.

Shepard ruled mostly in the paint with 24 points and eight rebounds, and Arike Ogunbowale added 18 points and another eight boards, before both juniors sat out the fourth quarter in Notre Dame’s 89-60 bounce-back women’s basketball win over the overmatched Eagles on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.

The No. 2-ranked Irish were playing their first game since their most lopsided loss in nearly 16 years, Thursday’s 100-67 decision at No. 3 Louisville.

“I think we all came in with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” said Shepard, who finished 10-of-15 from the field and did her damage in just 22 minutes.

“Quite frankly, that game was embarrassing,” Shepard said of Thursday’s, “and we knew that was not how Notre Dame basketball is played, and we knew we had to come out today in front of our home crowd and just play hard and play together.”

ND (16-2 overall, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) stormed to a 9-0 lead in the opening 1:53, hitting each of its first four shots.

BC (6-11, 1-3) closed to 23-16 early in the second quarter, but the Irish answered that with a 12-0 spree and were never threatened again.

After three periods, the count was 72-33.

“We did some good things in the first three quarters,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “Getting the ball inside was our goal and our game plan today, and I thought we executed it really well. I thought we looked in really well.”

The coach was also pleased with what’s been the larger issue of late, the defense.

“They had 33 points heading into the fourth quarter, so three quarters of pretty good defense,” McGraw said. “We still have some things we can work on, but I thought the zone looked a little more active, man-to-man was a little bit better, and I thought we communicated a little bit better.”

The Irish rang up some staggering statistical advantages.

Among them, they finished with 26 offensive rebounds to just three for BC, good for a 26-0 whitewash in second-chance points. The hosts also had just six turnovers through three quarters to the Eagles’ 18, and completed the day with 14 steals.

“Obviously early, they just got in the passing lanes, took the ball from us, put us back on our heels,” BC coach Erik Johnson said.

If the nature of Thursday’s loss to Louisville by the Irish formed a slight opening for BC in theory, it was also one that was slammed shut in actuality.

“Our job,” Johnson said, “was to make sure any confidence that got shook by the Louisville game (would translate to), ‘Hey, let’s go in and get ’em. As competitors, let’s make sure we can do some of those things Louisville did. We don’t need to be scared coming in here.’

“But the reality,” Johnson continued, “is, look, there’s a reason Notre Dame’s who they are.”

Point guard Marina Mabrey scored 10 points to go with game highs of eight assists and five steals for the Irish, while fellow starters Kathryn Westbeld and Jackie Young combined for 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Freshman Danielle Patterson came off the bench to match her career high with 11 points, getting eight of those in the fourth quarter. She finished 4-of-7 from the field and added four rebounds in a career-high 29 minutes.

“Dani’s really coming along,” McGraw said of one of just two healthy scholarship backups the Irish have left after the recent slew of season-ending knee injuries. “It’s fun to see her starting to relax a little bit and play her game. She made a lot of big plays in the fourth quarter, so really getting excited about her.”

For BC, Milan Bolden-Morris went scoreless through the first three periods, then poured in 17 points in the fourth to easily finish with team-high honors for the game.

The freshman was 5-of-5 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the field overall in the quarter after entering the period 0-of-6 from the field.

The Irish, who improved to 35-0 all-time in ACC home games, step outside the conference Thursday when they host No. 6 Tennessee (16-1).

BOSTON COLLEGE (6-11): Guy 1-3 1-2 3, Pineau 2-5 2-2 6, Anastos 4-5 0-0 11, Bolden-Morris 6-12 0-1 17, Ortlepp 2-9 1-1 6, Quandt 0-2 0-0 0, Gartner 0-1 0-0 0, Lowery 3-6 1-2 9, Mosetti 3-7 0-0 8, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 21-50 5-8 60.

NOTRE DAME (16-2): Shepard 10-15 4-7 24, Westbeld 2-6 3-4 7, Mabrey 5-12 0-0 10, Ogunbowale 6-16 4-4 18, Young 4-8 1-1 9, Butler 1-2 0-0 2, Nelson 3-9 0-0 6, Patterson 4-7 3-6 11, Benz 0-0 0-0 0, Cole 1-3 0-0 2, Totals 36-78 15-22 89.Boston College12101127—60Notre Dame21213017—893-Point Goals--Boston College 13-27 (Anastos 3-4, Bolden-Morris 5-9, Ortlepp 1-7, Gartner 0-1, Lowery 2-3, Mosetti 2-3), Notre Dame 2-11 (Westbeld 0-1, Mabrey 0-3, Ogunbowale 2-6, Cole 0-1). Assists--Boston College 15 (Bolden-Morris 4), Notre Dame 18 (Mabrey 8). Fouled Out--Boston College Guy, Pineau, Rebounds--Boston College 22 (Guy 4), Notre Dame 54 (Westbeld 9). Total Fouls--Boston College 20, Notre Dame 6. A--8,208.

Notre Dame's Jessica Shepard (23) drives downcourt during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston College, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)