The weather’s heating up outside after the Polar Vortex. Inside The Irish delivered some blistering hot defense that set the pace for four quarters of Basketball at Purcell Pavilion. Sunday’s game was the Fighting Irish’s first home game after losing to the Tar Heels last week. They say no loss is a good loss. Personally, the loss to the Tar Heels is equivalent to pressing the reset button on an electronic device when it’s stuck. It’s tough to play ND when that reset button gets pressed.
A Yellow Jacket has a stinger, and you know when one of those is mad at you. The Irish pulled that stinger from Georgia Tech after the Yellow Jackets took a 6-4 led 2:04 into the first quarter. If it’s defense you wanted from the Irish, that’s what you got. Defense tends to lead to offense and you got some of that as well. The Irish defense led to offensive runs against Georgia Tech. There was a 5-0 run, 10-0 run and a 6-0 run. You can’t ask for more than that from a team. The defense was just smothering and the offense was scoring at will. Brianna Turner had three defensive blocks and Jessica Shepard had two steals and a block. The Irish defense put the Yellow Jackets in a 3:54 minute scoring drought to close the period and forced four turnovers in the same time period.
The starting five definitely can hold their own, especially if the “silent assassin” Jackie Young in the game. With all the attention that goes Arike’s and Marina’s way, Young is the “X-factor” on the team. Young, is the glue that makes it possible for Shepard, Mabrey, Ogunbowale, and Turner to do what they do. Young demands respect, especially in the paint. Six of her ten points were in the paint. Going into the paint is essential in getting you opponent t play aggressive. Getting points when the clock is not running is another key to the Irish game. The Irish shot 61.1% from the field, that’s 11-18. Shepard is the same way. Her six of eight points were all from inside the paint as well. The Irish claim victory in the first quarter 28-10.
The second quarter, where do you start? The Irish defense just stifled the Yellow Jackets. The defense kept Georgia Tech so off-balance that they didn’t score from 3:54 in the first quarter until 2:52 remaining in the second quarter. That works out to almost 11 minutes of a scoring drought.The Irish put up 18 points in that time frame. The Irish capped the second quarter off with another 8-0 run to complete the quarter dominance.
The second quarter was an all over team effort. The Irish shot 9-15 from the field. Seven different players contributed on the offense. Ogunbowale led all Irish scorers with seven points, followed by Mabrey with five points including a three-pointer, Vaughn and Shepard both contributed three points. The Irish win the quarter 26-3 and an overall score of 54-13.
The Yellow Jackets open the quarter on a 4-0 run. That’s more points than they scored in the entire second quarter. Mabrey responds in a big way. Not one, not two but three consecutive three-pointers. Mabrey had four total for the quarter.
While Mabrey was raining from beyond the arc, Shepard was in the mood for two steals and Turner was dealing up some big blocks on the defensive side. But the turnovers continue to loom for the Irish offense. Another seven added to the tally including four by Mabrey. The Irish come away with a 20-17 third quarter and an overall score of 74-30.
The quarter starts with Turner, Shepard, and Mabrey all sitting and moving into a support role. Games like this, its good to get the younger players in and get them some experience of playing. The bench players definitely showed they can hold their own. Though there was some help from Young and Ogunbowale. But overall, though the quarter went to the Yellow Jackets 20-16, the Irish prevailed overall 90-50.
🏀🏀🏀 Jessica Shepard 13 Points, 4 Steals, 5 Rebounds, 1 Block
🏀🏀 Jackie Young 18 Points, 4 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block
🏀 Marina Mabrey 20 Points 6-7 from 3 Point Range, 3 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Steal
The Irish travel to Miami to take on the Hurricanes. Tip-off is slated for 7 PM