The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team returned to Purcell Pavilion on Thursday night to take on #14 Iowa.
Not often this season have the Irish come out of the gate firing on all cylinders. But Thursday, with the starting five of Arike Ogunbowale, Marina Mabrey, Jackie Young, Jessica Shepard, and Brianna Turner, Notre Dame was able to take control of the game early. Sixty points in the second half propelled the Irish to their 7th win of the season, beating Iowa 105-71.
A healthy Marina Mabrey is starting to feel it
Marina Mabrey sat out the first five games of the season due to a leg injury. Now two games into her comeback, the senior point guard is starting to come alive. She scored 18 points with 3 three-pointers. Mabrey also added five assists and two steals in an impressive first game back at home. This is a very good sign for the Irish. Even though she has admitted she isn’t 100 percent just yet, she is still managing to be one of the best players on the court in limited minutes. With UConn up next on the schedule for the Irish, it’s important that Mabrey is able to put in some solid minutes on both ends of the floor.
Irish find balance in 1-2 punch at the post
Last season, Notre Dame severely lacked height, especially in their starting lineup. Because of that, Jessica Shepard was forced to carry a large workload. This season, she is getting some relief from that heavy load with the return of Brianna Turner. With Turner back, the Irish become a matchup nightmare in the post.
On Thursday night against Iowa, Shepard and Turner both shot 50 percent from the floor. They picked up 10 and 14 points respectively, adding 8 and 11 rebounds each. UConn’s starting five is definitely small compared to the Irish. One area they should be able to really attack is with the 1-2 punch of Shepard and Turner.
The Irish will play Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET against #2 UConn in the Jimmy V. Women’s Classic.