The Irish Are In the Top 8 in the Nation
After a couple of games in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament (home games at Purcell Pavilion for those games), the Fighting Irish met the Texas A&M Aggies in Spokane, WA for the regional semifinal. After handling both CSU Northridge and Villanova, the Irish played a tough Aggie team. However, the Irish showed their toughness and resilience to get the victory 90-84. Let’s break down how this went.
The Irish actually struggled overall against the Aggies in the first half. The Aggies had a hot start on offense. It was close through the first quarter, a pretty back and forth game. We saw some of the same things from the whole season: Marina Mabrey hitting some 3s but also missing some as well, and Arike Ogunbowale taking her natural leadership onto the court. However, the Aggies stayed with us, and they actually led 26-19 at the end of the 1st Quarter.
The first part of the second quarter became all Aggies. They got a hot shooting streak, taking the score to 37-24 after Chennedy Carter, a freshman, showed some of her prowess and skill. However, the Irish did not waver, fighting back to within 3 points and then only down 47-45 at the half. Part of what helped springboard the team to get back into the game was Marina Mabrey’s 3-point shots. She hit many throughout the game, going 7-11 from beyond the arc.
The Irish made the necessary adjustments at halftime to be able to take control of the game. Just like many other games this season, the team imposed their will to win. The Irish took back the lead in the 3rd quarter afdter great hustle and performances from Marina, Arike, and the physicality of Jessica Shepard under the basket. The Aggies and Carter kept it close by the end of the 3rd, 68-63 Irish. In the 4th quarter, though, It was more of the same story. It was close partly because of the strong, tough shots from the Aggies. Also, the Irish seemed to get heavily out rebounded. We eventually had the upper hand with rebounds (40-37) as the game ended, but getting defensive rebounds against the Aggies was a tough task. Even with all of that, the Irish took over with their skill. The Aggies could not ride out their buzzer beater win against DePaul last week. The Irish were just too much for them. Final score: 90-84.
The Irish will play next on Monday night at 9 PM on ESPN. They will be playing for the Spokane Region Championship and for a place in the Final Four. The team will play the winner of #2 seed Oregon and the #11 seed Central Michigan. Here’s to a shot at a Final Four with a team that was bitten hard by the injury bug. If we can get one more W on Monday night, it would be one of the biggest accomplishments that a team could make given the injury situation for the team. The Irish had great fight today, and we hope to see that continue on Monday night. Go Irish.