The Notre Dame Women’s basketball team made quick work of Cal-State Northridge in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Cal-State Northridge put up a valiant effort against the Notre Dame Women’s basketball team on Friday night.
After a bit of a dogfight in the first quarter, the Irish controlled the contest the rest of the way and were clearly — as most expected — the more talented team on the floor. Arike Ogunbowale led the way for Notre Dame with 30 points on 12 of 20 shooting. She got plenty of help from Marina Mabrey as well, who came up big with 6 three-pointers en route to a 23-point outing. Jessica Shepard was a force for the Irish in the paint, logging 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Heading into the game, head coach Muffet McGraw and the Irish knew that CS-Northridge center Channon Fluker was going to be the catalyst of any success the Matadors were going to have — and there wouldn’t be much the Irish could do to slow her down. Instead, Notre Dame went about suffocating the rest of the Matadors — contesting nearly every shot and hassling CSUN’s guards off every dribble.
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The plan obviously worked. Fluker put up 25 points, but the Matadors turned the ball over 15 times thanks to Notre Dame’s on-ball pressure.
Final score: Irish 99, CSUN 81
Perhaps the most impressive part of Notre Dame’s win was the fact that they were able to get it done without Kathryn Westbeld for most of the game. The senior forward left the game early in the first quarter with a rolled ankle and never returned.
No word on her status for the second round matchup.
Notre Dame will now face the winner of the South Dakota State-Villanova 8-9 matchup on Sunday in South Bend for a chance to punch a ticket to the Sweet 16.