Three top-20 wins in November have served notice that Notre Dame is again a team that needs to be included in the national championship contender conversation.
The latest statement win came on Sunday, Nov. 26, when the Irish scored a come-from-behind 92-85 victory over defending national champion South Carolina that propelled Notre Dame to the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament title. With the win, Notre Dame (6-0) snapped No. 3 South Carolina’s (6-1) 17-game winning streak and recorded its first victory against a top-five team since it defeated the Gamecocks at the 2015 Women’s Final Four in Tampa Bay.
Bringing Home the— NOTRE DAME WBB (@ndwbb) November 28, 2017
Take a back pic.twitter.com/RGfiMBLTAI
Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second period, the Irish turned the game around with a decisive 25-point swing to take control of the game as Arike Ogunbowale (23 points) and Jackie Young (22 points) combined for 45 points to lead the way. Young recorded her first career double-double, adding 10 rebounds. Led by Ogunbowale’s 10 points and critical free throws down the stretch, Notre Dame was able to hold off South Carolina.
The road to the tournament title started with a 77-46 win over East Tennessee State on Nov. 24 as Ogunbowale recorded her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Irish held ETSU to a season-low point total for the game, led 44-28 and halftime and then cruised to the win.
In the Showcase semifinal, Notre Dame received a career-high 23 points from Young as they defeated No. 17 South Florida, 76-66. The Irish won despite a 36-point scoring barrage by South Florida’s Kitija Laksa, which was just two points shy of the all-time record for most points ever scored by an opposing Notre Dame player. Laksa connected on nine three-point field goals. Notre Dame was dominant inside, outscoring South Florida 48-22 in the paint while outrebounding the Bulls, 42-25.
Notre Dame, which moved into the No. 3 position in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll, will next play at Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 29, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. For the Irish it will be a tune-up before its much anticipated meeting against No. 1 UConn this Sunday, Dec. 3, in Hartford, Connecticut.