Game 1 of 6 Complete
This afternoon, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team played their First Round game of the NCAA Tournament. Because they are bosses, the Irish had a home game, as the first two rounds for the Irish are at Purcell Pavilion. They took on the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in a 16/1 matchup in the Chicago region. Here is how it went down.
The Irish admittedly started off pretty slow. Not just by seeding, but by overall athletic ability, people could see this was going to be a lopsided game. The Irish had some good looks at shots, but the Purcell rims had a bit too much give today. Arike, Jess Shepard, and Jackie Young were getting open looks, and some shots on quick passeds were falling. Some were rimming out though. The Wildcats hung on for the first part of the first quarter.
However, they started to go cold overall. As the Irish continued to push the pace and penetrate the lane, they showed their dominant offense. The Wildcats literally had no answer for it, as they only had 7 points in the second quarter. For a full 9 minutes in the game spanning the first and second quarters, the Wildcats did not score any points. As they kept missing many three point shots (they went 9-34 on the day), the Irish kept doing their thing. At halftime, this game was literally over, as the Irish led 51-19.
More of the same - and I know I sound like a broken record. The Wildcats actually were able to get a bit of mojo going, but again they were down by too many points. Their starters were all in single digits besides one, Angel Golden, who had 25 points. So, she was the whole team. Meanwhile, Arike and Jess broke 20+ points, and Bri Turner had 19 points in the paint. After all was said and done, the Irish were able to get the whole bench to play, and they won 92-50.
For a note from the game: Marina Mabrey came into the game with a compression brace on her right knee. She had zero points on the day, and when she would get subbed out of the game, she looked pretty tired. It seemed that her knee bothered her more than she tried to let on. Muffett McGraw said after the game that she hyper-extended the knee in practice on Monday. It sounds like she will still be good to go for the rest of the tournament.
On Monday, the Irish will play their second round game againt Michigan State. MSU pulled out a close, 1-point win over Central Michigan in the game right after the Irish played. MSU is the 9 seed in the Chicago region. That game will be on ESPN in Purcell Pavilion at 7 PM.