No. 5 Notre Dame women rout Clemson 90-37
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw says she believes the momentum of her team’s biggest comeback ever — along with the memory of a bruising loss — helped boost the fifth-ranked Irish to their latest win.
Arike Ogunbowale and Jackie Young each scored 23 points as Notre Dame shot 62 percent Sunday in routing Clemson 90-37.
Fresh off their rally from a 23-point deficit to beat No. 6 Tennessee 84-70 on Thursday, the Irish never were in trouble. That victory came a week after Notre Dame lost 100-67 at then-No. 3 Louisville.
“I think we’re practicing harder than we did before the game (Louisville) we don’t want to talk about,” McGraw said. “I was a little worried about our focus at the shoot-around today, but we came out ready and a little bit looser.”
Ogunbowale hit 9 of 14 shots and had five assists. Jessica Shepard added 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and Kathryn Westbeld had 14 points for Notre Dame (18-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“I thought that was a well-played game from start to finish,” McGraw said. “Overall, really, really great stuff on offense. “Defensively, we’re starting to get better.”
Kobi Thornton had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Clemson (11-9, 1-6 ACC). The Tigers shot 26 percent (15 of 58).
The Irish made 12 of 17 in the first quarter while taking a 28-13 lead. They led 48-21 at halftime and took a 75-34 lead into the final quarter.
Notre Dame is minus four players who have sustained season-ending ACL injuries.
“I would have hated to see the final score if they had a full, healthy roster,” Clemson coach Audra Smith said. “When you have multiple players on your team who can score in double figures, that makes it difficult for you to defend.”
Clemson: Coming in, the Tigers led the ACC and were 11th nationally in field-goal defense at 34.6 percent. They also were second in the ACC and 20th nationally in scoring defense at 55.9 points per game. But those totals took a big hit as Notre Dame hit 21 of 31 first-half shots (68 percent).
Notre Dame: The Irish won their 19th straight game in the Purcell Pavilion, where they are 460-92, by dominating the first half. They had 14 assists on their 21 first-half baskets, had 10 steals and committed just one foul. Notre Dame, which improved to 68-3 since joining the ACC, plays its next two league games on the road.
Clemson: Visits Syracuse on Thursday.
Notre Dame: Visits Pittsburgh on Thursday.