GREENSBORO, N.C. – The defending national-champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish evened the score with the North Carolina Tar Heels at Greensboro Coliseum on Friday.
Led by a game-high 28 points from Arike Ogunbowale and season-high 24 points from Brianna Turner, the Irish claimed a 95-77 win back from UNC after losing in Chapel Hill earlier this season.
Turner completed the double-double with 10 rebounds as the Irish effort was also supported by Jackie Young who finished with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Young didn’t play in Notre Dame’s 78-73 upset loss to UNC.
The victory was a more valuable one as it advanced top-seeded Notre Dame into the 2019 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinal to face No. 5 seed Syracuse on Saturday.
Paris Kea scored 27 and Janelle Bailey finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the eighth-seeded Tar Heels (18-14) who had their conference postseason end with a quarterfinal finish.
North Carolina now awaits Selection Monday to find out what their NCAA Tournament placement will be.
What they said
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell
“It was a hard-fought game against a great Notre Dame team, and they show why they won the national championship last year and why they’re just so good. I thought we battled really hard, especially in the first half, and pretty much first few minutes of the second half we kept fighting back and fighting back. But thought we ran out of gas a little bit probably playing back-to-back from yesterday because the rebounds were even, and at the end of the game they outrebounded us by 12.
“I’m proud of my team. (Janelle) Bailey, (Shayla) Bennett and Paris (Kea) all had really good shooting. We shot right at 50 percent. That’s pretty good against Notre Dame that we shot 50 percent. But we couldn’t stop them. We couldn’t stop their inside game. They’re big and strong and really, really tough right around the basket. But the fact that as a team we only had 11 turnovers. That’s pretty good there. So, you look at all the positives.”
“I think we’re peaking at the right time, even though we don’t have (Stephanie) Watts rights now, but we’re expecting to have her back for the NCAA Tournament. I think we’re peaking right now, and we’re looking forward to the NCAA.
“We’ve had a really, really tough schedule. I think today it was ranked eighth. It’s been anywhere between four and eight throughout the whole year. I think it probably went up playing Notre Dame today. But our strength of schedule has been tremendous. And our RPI is really, really good too. So, we’re looking forward to Selection Monday and playing in the NCAA.”
Points: Ogunbowale 28
Rebounds: Turner 10
Assists: Young 9
Points: Kea 27
Rebounds: Bailey 10
Assists: Bennett, Koenen 5
Box score notes
Halftime: Notre Dame, 45-38
Lead Changes: 8
Largest Leads: Notre Dame 23 (4th – 4:28); North Carolina 2 (1st – 5:01)
Notre Dame led for: 36:26
North Carolina led for: 2:51
Game was tied for: 0:43
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport