No. 1 Notre Dame puts away Penn
SOUTH BEND — That extra burst of power that Notre Dame might’ve been anticipated to get at the onset of the game after seeing its 2018 national championship banner unveiled instead came at the onset of the third quarter.
Arike Ogunbowale scored 21 points, Jessica Shepard 17 and Brianna Turner 16 for the top-ranked Irish, who took control in the second half of a 75-55 women’s basketball victory over Penn on Monday night at Purcell Pavilion.
Leading just 16-13 after a rugged first period and up 39-27 at halftime, ND erupted with an 11-0 spree during the initial 2:24 of the third quarter.
The Quakers (1-1) got no closer than 17 after that.
Ogunbowale, delivering an array of sharp passes, added a game-high six assists to her game-high 21 points.
Turner notched her second double-double to start the season, blending 10 boards with her 16 points, and Shepard added eight boards to her 17 points.
Jackie Young had 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Irish (2-0) again played without senior point guard Marina Mabrey, who is still nursing a quadriceps injury.
Without Mabrey, ND’s top 3-point shooter last season at 85-of-218 for 39 percent, the Irish have struggled outside the arc so far this season.
Monday’s 3-of-12 effort followed the team hitting just 3-of-15 over the exhibition and Harvard games.
Ogunbowale drained all of Monday’s makes from distance, finishing at 3-of-9 after starting 0-of-5.
The Irish outscored Penn 40-20 in the paint and finished with a 14-0 shutout in fast-break points.
The Quakers, who played a 2-3 zone throughout, were paced by Ashley Russell with 15 points. Kendall Grasela added 10.
Eleah Parker, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season, was limited to six points on 3-of-13 shooting against the likes of Turner and Shepard inside.
Penn, in its 45th full season of women’s basketball, faced a No. 1-rated team for the first time.
The Irish now embark on their longest road stretch of the regular season in terms of both consecutive away games (four) and days between home games (17).
They’ll play Saturday afternoon against No. 15 DePaul at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena — also the site of the closest 2019 NCAA Regional — before heading to Canada for three games in three days at the Nov. 22-24 Vancouver Showcase.
Notre Dame’s next home game is Thursday, Nov. 29, against No. 13 Iowa, and that’s followed three days later by a possible No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown when Connecticut comes to town.
Even minus Marina able to play in Notre Dame’s first two games, there’s still a Mabrey lighting it up for an Atlantic Coast Conference team right now.
Dara Mabrey, the younger sister of Marina and of former ND star Michaela, has gotten her own college career off to a rousing start for Virginia Tech.
An immediate starter as a 5-7 freshman, Dara Mabrey has totaled 30 points, 11 assists (against four turnovers) and made three steals in 52 minutes while helping the Hokies to a 2-0 start with lopsided wins over South Carolina Upstate and Georgia Southern.
Doing her big sisters proud, Dara has converted 11-of-16 field goals, including 6-of-11 from 3-point land, and 2-of-2 at the line.
Tech hosts the Irish on Jan. 16 in the lone scheduled meeting between the teams.