Arike Ogunbowale hits 2k mark as Notre Dame cruises past Binghamton

Anthony Anderson | Tribune Correspondent
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — After Arike Ogunbowale scored her 2,000th career college basketball point, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said “I can’t wait to see what’s next for her down the road, because we have a lot more season to go.”

Frankly, what’s next — or who’s next, anyway — for Ogunbowale as long as she remains healthy are Ruth Riley, Katryna Gaither, Beth (Morgan) Cunningham and ultimately all-time Irish scoring queen Skylar Diggins-Smith, who is at 2,357.

Ogunbowale, fifth on the ND scoring chart, is on pace to comfortably pass them all.

With the senior All-American cracking that 2,000 milestone and with the Irish offense purring, No. 2-ranked Notre Dame buried Binghamton, 103-53, in front of 8,183 fans Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion.

Marina Mabrey and Jackie Young not only scored 21 points apiece, but dished a combined 17 assists against a combined zero turnovers.

Every Irish starter, in fact, posted glitzy numbers, and did so despite sitting out the fourth quarter, save for a minute by Mabrey to start that final period.

Perfect-shooting Jessica Shepard netted 18 points in just 19 minutes while hitting 8-for-8 from the field and 2-of-2 at the line. Fellow senior post Brianna Turner chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. She was 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-5 at the line.

Ogunbowale ironically wound up low scorer among the starters with a season-low 13 points, but chose the occasion to add a career-high 11 rebounds and five assists.

“It’s just an honor to be able to do that, Ogunbowale said of reaching 2,000, “especially at this school so many great players have come through. It’s just cool to be able to be in that group and category.”

“That’s a lot of points,” McGraw said of Ogunbowale, who now stands at 2,006, including the legendary game-winning ones she scored in each round of last spring’s Final Four.

“It’s amazing what she’s done,” McGraw said. “Freshman year, coming off the bench, she didn’t score a lot of points, so it’s really been the last three years. She’s just such a great offensive player. She is so exciting to watch, I think the most exciting player in college basketball. … She is one of the very special players we’ve had here.”

Besides being pleased by Ogunbowale’s latest accomplishment, the coach was delighted by her team’s offense as a whole.

“I was really excited about the way the game played out, because we’ve really been working on a little more motion, a little more rhythm to the offense, and I was just thrilled that we had 27 assists,” McGraw said. “That’s a season high. We’ve definitely been lacking in that area, so it’s great to see the way we really shared the ball and just moved. It was a lot of fun to watch.”

The Irish improved to 9-1 while dropping the Bearcats to 5-6 in the first-ever meeting between the programs.

ND overwhelmed Binghamton in just about every manner possible.

On their way to an 89-41 lead through three quarters, the Irish outscored the Bearcats 30-0 in fast-break points, 17-3 in second-chance points and 48-10 in paint points.

“I think we were just trying to do more on the court than just score (ourselves) — get other people involved, just share the ball better,” said Mabrey, who matched a career high with 10 assists. “We talked about having great players and making the extra pass.”

“It’s not all about scoring,” Ogunbowale concurred. “It’s about sharing the ball, and everybody played really well today. We got shots and made the extra pass, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Sophomore Mikayla Vaughn came off the bench to score 10 points and grab a career-high eight rebounds in 24 minutes for ND. Freshman Jordan Nixon matched Shepards’s game-high three steals while logging 28 minutes.

Sophomore Danielle Patterson missed a second straight outing while nursing a sore knee, and freshman Abby Prohaska did not appear for the first time in her Irish career.

“She’s gonna be fine, we think, just not feeling well today,” McGraw said of Prohaska. “Dani Patterson will be back, hopefully, if not for Western Kentucky (Wednesday at home), then for sure Marquette (Saturday on the road).”

Rebecca Carmody, Binghamton’s lone senior, led the Bearcats with 12 points, but was just 5-of-19 from the field with a pair of triples.

The visitors jacked up 40 attempts outside the arc, making just eight, and were just 20-of-70 from the field overall for 29 percent.

Besides finishing 39-of-70 for 56 percent, ND was a sizzling 35-of-53 from the field over the first three quarters for 66 percent.

The Irish drained their first 10 field goal attempts of the day while jumping out to a 23-8 lead through six minutes.

They also scored the first 21 points of the second quarter for a 49-18 advantage and began the second half with a 17-2 spree that gave them a 73-31 lead at five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“I think they like to run transition offense,” McGraw said of her team’s collection of runs. “I think that’s what they really want to do. So they get inspired when they get a steal or rebound and get a fast break going. It’s fun, they want to do it again, and I think we kind of feed off our offense. I’d like us to feed off our defense if we could, but they like being able to run and get out, so that helps us rebound a little more.”

Binghamton’s Lizzy Spindler, left, competes for the ball with Notre Dame’s Mikayla Vaughn during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s Jackie Young (5) drives against pressure from Binghamton’s Carly Boland (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday in South Bend.