Writing a story about a loss is probably one of the hardest things you have to do as a sportswriter. Letting the emotion wear off before writing is really key. Then there is the act of actually writing about the National Championship loss or a player who has had a major influence opts out for a chance on the “Big Stage”. This article while have both of those. First we will tackle the loss to Baylor on Sunday and then will come the news about Jackie Young’s departure for the WNBA draft.
They always say, “set the tempo” and to “play your game.” The first quarter tempo was set and play your game, went the way of the Baylor Bears. The game didn’t start in Baylor’s favor. After a steal by Arike, and a missed pull up, Baylor gained the ball back, Arike grabbed another steal. After a turnover on a bad pass from Jackie Young, Baylor scored their first two points of the game. Both teams had difficulty on the offensive end of the court. Brianna Turner was even rejected as she attempted a lay up. It wasn’t till the 8:20 mark when the Irish got it’s first points by Mabrey (a three pointer) to put the Irish to the lead.
The remainder of the first quarter was not pretty for either team. Both teams traded turnovers and and defensive stops. The difference was that Baylor went on an 11-0 from the 8:03 mark to 5:26 when Young was able to score on two free-throws to stop the Bears run. But missed lay ups and turnovers plagued the Irish for the remainder of the quarter. Play wise the Irish did not foul Baylor players in the act of shooting, keeping them away from the charity stripe. Free throw wise the Irish were perfect, 3-3 from the line. The Irish 5-24 FG shooting compared to Baylor’s 12-18 was the difference in the quarter. Baylor wins round 1 25-14.
The second quarter was almost a carbon copy of the first. Ogunbowale opened up the quarter with a bucket to cut the Baylor lead to 9. Baylor the goes on an 8-0 starting at 8:18 to 6:38 as the Bears opened a 17 point lead The Irish opened up their first run starting at 6:17 and running through 4:07. The run cut the Baylor lead in half to 8. Once again both teams struggled offensively. Defensively they kept each other off the scoreboard. The problem for the Irish was the height of the Bears could not be overcome.
The Baylor Bears 8-14 from the field compared to the Fightin’ Irish 6-16 from the field once again could not overcome the height of the Bears as they blocked three of the Irish shots in the quarter. The noticeable box score gap was the zero points by Jessica Shepard. Despite the better shooting percentage of the Bears, the Irish lost the second quarter 18-17. The Baylor Bears bring their score game score to 43-31.
The third quarter saw the Irish come alive. Coach McGraw knows how to turn her team around. Statistically the team made the needed adjustments at the half. The teams opened by trading baskets and the Irish were cutting into the lead, they just needed to make a stop. Unfortunately the stop came when the Bears get a late run at 3;54 to 2:21. The run helped the Bears tally another seven points to widen the gap slightly.
The Irish statistically win the third quarter. The Irish outscored the Bears 24-23. Shooting a FG percentage of 66.7% or 10-15 bettering the Bears FG percentage of 52.4% or 11-21. The Irish were back. Mabrey scored four points, Shepard got four points in the paint, Turner had six points including her alley-oop dunk and Arike 10 points, two three pointers, one of them was a buzzer beater to end the third and two baskets. The Irish were still down 11 with the score ending the third quarter 66-55.
To open the quarter, the Irish open on a 8-0 run. Four of the eight points were from the free throw line. Mabrey was fouled while making attempting a three pointer. She was successful on her three shots. The run pulled the Irish within three points at 8:38 remaining. At 5:18 Mabrey made her third three pointer of the quarter to tie the game at 74. Shepard made both of her free throws at :16 to bring the Irish even at 80-80. The ensuing possession by Baylor saw them drive the basket and slip through the Irish defense to score to put them up by two. Incredibly the Irish were in the same spot last year.
:03 left on the clock and what do you do? Everyone would say “put the ball in Ogunbowale hands.” Last time it was ice in the veins drilling a three, this time nothing to chance the Irish were going for two. With :01 seconds left Ogunbowale gets fouled. Kinda the spot you want to be in. This time destiny was not in the cards for the Irish as Ogunbowale missed the front end of the two shots. Not wanting to make the second, Ogunbowale tried to miss but the ball falls through the net.
Once again statistically the Irish win the fourth quarter. Outscoring the Bears 26-1, giving the final score of 82-81. The surprise on the stat sheet was the fact that Jackie Young was held to no points in the the second half.
Irish By The Numbers
Arike Ogunbowale 31 Points, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Steal
Marina Mabrey 21 Points, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Steal
Brianna Turner 12 Points, 12 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Block, 1 Steal
Jessica Shepard 11 Points, 10 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Blocks
Jackie Young 4 Points, 9 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 1 Block
Mikayla Vaughn 2 Points
Coach McGraw Post Game Conference
Really frustrated. Well, I’m sad for the seniors that we came that close after getting down 17, clawing our way back. We had so many missed opportunities both ends of the floor. Defensively, offensive rebounds we gave up just really I felt lost the game in the first quarter. We just didn’t come out ready. That was disappointing.
But I thought Jackson really was the key to the game. We really couldn’t guard her. Brown gave us a lot of trouble, as well. Those two really played well.
It was a great season. Certainly a great career for Arike, Marina, Jess and Bri.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS🚨
On Monday evening Jackie Young announced that she will be entering the WNBA Draft this Wednesday.
“I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for providing me with three years of the very best experiences, opportunities and people of a lifetime,” Young stated in an official statement. “To Coach McGraw and the coaching staff, thank you for believing in me, pushing me and shaping me into the person and player I’ve become.
“After much consideration, I would like to announce that I will be following my heart and living out my childhood dream of playing in the WNBA. I have waited for this day all of my life and I can’t wait to continue this journey.”
Young Final Stats
71 games played 38 started
300-598 FG 50.2%
Three Pointers 22-68
Free Throws 169-213
186 Assists, 27 Blocks, 404 Rebounds 168 Offensive 236 Defensive
Shake Down The Thunder Sports would like to thank Bob Mackessy for his pictures from the Sweet 16 through the Final Four. We would also like to thank Allison Cruse for her pictures from the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Without your pictures my articles would have been complete.
We would also like to thank Arike Ogunbowale, Jessica Shepard, Brianna Turner, Marina Mabrey and Jackie Young for the memories of the past two seasons we have covered ND Women’s Basketball. Best of luck to all of you at the next level. Cheers and Go Irish! ☘🏀⚡