Notre Dame Women’s Basketball: Irish open season with win over Harvard

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30: Arike Ogunbowale
COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30: Arike Ogunbowale /

The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team started off the season with a 103-58 win over Harvard on Friday. Here are three takeaways from the season opener.

The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team picked up its first win of the season on Friday afternoon with a 103-58 win over Harvard. Arike Ogunbowale lead the way with 30 points and Jessica Shepard added 28 more. Brianna Turner had 11 points in her return after sitting out last season due to a knee injury.

Jordan Nixon shows promise at the point

Senior Marina Mabrey missed a game for the first time in her career due to injury. In her place, freshman Jordan Nixon started at the point. Nixon had four points and three assists in her debut for the Irish. While Nixon is very inexperienced, getting her first minutes against Harvard was a good stepping stone.

For Nixon, the more she plays, the better she will be. Former Irish stars Lindsay Allen and Jewell Loyd both were thrown into the point guard spot from the moment they stepped on campus. While Nixon might not always start games, the fact that she is a true point guard will be very valuable to the Irish.

Irish need to limit turnovers

It’s hard to find many things wrong on offense when you put up 103 points in a game. But for the Irish, the problem spot was in the turnover department. The Irish struggled a lot with this last season, and it appears it still is going to be a problem this season. A total of 16 turnovers on the night will definitely be an area for improvement as the season progresses.

Nixon led the Irish with six turnovers with Turner and Ogunbowale adding three more each. This will get better for the Irish once Nixon gains more experience and the team develops a bit more familiarity.

Notre Dame still shows room for improvement on the defensive end

Coming into the season, head coach Muffet McGraw was not happy with how her defense was looking. Well on Friday night we got the first look at the Irish defense. It’s hard to find any fault in a team that only allowed 58 points, but there definitely is room to grow on the defensive end for the Irish.

Now that the Irish have some height at the forwards spot, a lot of the offense for opposing teams will be towards the outside of the floor. One place the Irish particularly struggled tonight is defending the three. Harvard was able to get off 11 threes in the game. That’ll be a big point of focus heading forward before ACC play begins.

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Next up

Notre Dame will face off against the University of Pennsylvania on Monday, November 12. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.