Tonight, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team went on the road to play in a Top 10 matchup. They took on the NC State Wolfpack. The Irish (#5) played the Wolfpack (#9) in Raleigh, and the Irish did not disappoint with their performance.
The Irish and the Wolfpack went back and forth for most of the first quarter. It was looking like it was going to be a shootout. The teams traded possessions, with the Wolfpack hitting four 3-pointers in the first quarter. Irish led 23-21. The first quarter saw a behind-the-back pass from Arike that you will see tomorrow on the SportsCenter Top 10.
It was more of the same story in the second quarter. The Irish did open up a few minutes into a stalled second quarter. The Irish took an 11-4 run into the media timeout. In the first half, both teams really were lighting it up from the field. Both teams hit at least 45% from the field in the first half. After a bit of a comeback from the Wolfpack, the Irish led 41-36 at the half.
If the first half was a back and forth foot race, the second half was a boat race, and the Irish had the fastest boat in the water. The Irish were LIVE in the third quarter. After some more back and forth, the Wolfpack tied the game at 47. The Irish immediately turned on the jets. They proceeded to take a 12-0 run through the next few minutes in the quarter. Just like the second quarter, the Irish forced a timeout from the Wolfpack. The run was from some great shots but mostly on fastbreak, transition points. Arike and Jackie Young for the most part were flying on both ends of the court. The Irish finished the game with 37 fastbreak points compared to NC State’s 2 points. That made a serious difference in the game.
It was more of the same story in the fourth quarter. The Irish had built too much of a lead for the now cold Wolfpack to mount any semblance of a comeback. After pure domination, the Irish took the 95-72 victory with an absolutely phenomenal performance. Granted, turnovers were still an issue in the first half, but the Irish overcame those.
The Irish finished the night with just shy of a 53% FG percentage. Again, they only hit four 3-pointers compared to NC State’s 10. They also dominated the boards 45-28. Arike had her average point total for the season: 22. Marina Mabrey also had 21 points on the night, getting more in the mix. Jackie Young and Jessica Shepard both recorded double-doubles tonight as well.
The Irish only have three more ACC games for the season before the confernce tournament. Next up is a trip back home to take on an unranked Duke team at home. That is Thursday at 7 PM. Next Monday, the Irish travel to Syracuse to play the Orange at 6 PM. Finally, the Irish have senior night in 13 days against Virginia at 12:30 PM on Sunday, March 3.
The Irish sit at #5 in the nation right now. Last week, ESPN released their Top 16 seeds as they stand now for the NCAA Tournament. Right now, the Irish are a 2-seed. Winning out or at least making it to the ACC Championship would probably put the Irish in good position to be a 1-seed for the NCAA Tournament.