Notre Dame women clobber Clemson, 101-63
Arike Ogunbowale had 23 points, and No. 5 Notre Dame bounced back from its second loss of the season with a 101-63 blowout of Clemson on Thursday night.
The Irish (20-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) reached 20 wins for a 13th straight season and used an 18-2 start to avoid their first two-game losing streak in more than eight years.
Notre Dame is used to many more than 20 wins in a season and played like it expected to make a run at a second straight national title.
It was the sixth time this season the Irish have gone over the century mark and second time in ACC play.
All five of Notre Dame’s starters average double figures this season, and each went for 10 or more points against the Tigers (14-7, 5-3).
Marina Mabrey, who set her career best of 29 points at Clemson two years ago, scored 22 points. Jessica Shepard had 16, Brianna Turner added 15 and Jackie Young, who missed Sunday’s loss at North Carolina with a sprained ankle, returned to score 14.
This game was over in a hurry as Notre Dame scored 18 straight points in the first five minutes.
Mabrey had two of her three first-half 3-pointers in the hot start, while Shepard was strong underneath with six points in the surge. Young got her first basket to close the charge and put the Irish ahead by 16 points — a lead they would not give up.
It was a welcome start after the North Carolina game, in which Notre Dame trailed by double-digits before a late rally that made it close. The 78-73 defeat dropped the Irish from No. 1 and could have led to some thorny moments with an improved Clemson on deck.
Instead, Notre Dame ran away from the Tigers. The Irish haven’t lost two straight since falling to UCLA and Kentucky in November 2010.
The Tigers, amid a surprising season under first-year coach Amanda Butler, jumped on top 2-0 on Destiny Thomas’ basket. Things mostly went downhill after.
Notre Dame opened the third quarter like it did the first, using a 20-7 run to extend a lead that eventually grew to 38 points in the final minute.
Notre Dame: The Irish don’t like to lose. That was apparent in how they wore out Clemson on both ends of the floor. Notre Dame has a couple of weeks against opponents it should beat until going to No. 7 North Carolina State on Feb. 18.
Clemson: The Tigers have had a surprising start to ACC play, winning five of their first six. And while they played well in a 54-51 loss at No. 7 N.C. State last Sunday, they have a ways to go before challenging Notre Dame.
Notre Dame hosts Georgia Tech on Sunday.
Clemson hosts No. 3 Louisville on Saturday.