Arike Ogunbowale Becomes All-Time Scoring Leader In Notre Dame Win
Senior guard Arike Ogunbowale already achieved college basketball immortality with two epic Final Four game-winning baskets last spring in the closing second(s) en route to a national title.
Her remarkable dossier continued to expand Thursday night during No. 5 Notre Dame’s 89-61 victory versus Duke when her 25 points moved her atop the program’s all-time scoring chart with 2,371, surpassing the previous standard of 2,357 held by Skylar Diggins.
Ogunbowale wasted no time with a couple of early three-pointers and tallying 10 first quarter points while the Fighting Irish built a 27-15 advantage after the first 10 minutes. With 8:49 left in the second quarter, her pull-up jumper at the foul line off the fast break set the new mark. With the first half about to expire, Ogunbowale in typical, clutch fashion converted a jumper while getting fouled with 0.03 seconds left, and then added the foul shot to culminate a 16-0 run and a commanding 52-25 cushion at the intermission.
The streak went up to 22-0 before Duke ended its scoring drought that lasted 8:49 with a basket that narrowed the margin to 58-27.
“It’s a blessing, especially all the great players that have come through this school,” said Ogunbowale of the record. “To be at the top of that list is just an honor, especially doing it at this school.”
Asked if she’s ever reflected on what has happened in her life the past year, she remained locked in the present.
“Well, I’m still pretty young, so I think once I get older and done playing basketball I’ll really appreciate it,” she replied. “But right now I’ve still got a lot of basketball to play. I’m just focused on trying to do better this year.”
“She’s the face of our program,” head coach Muffet McGraw said of Ogunbowale. “When you look at what she’s done for us over the past four years, it’s been fun to watch her grow … and how she’s better every year. Her passion for the game — when she gets the ball in transition she’s just so exciting, and she’s fun to watch.
“I’ve really enjoyed coaching her. She’s taught me a lot of things about being fearless, about letting things go. She’s left her mark on the program that will last forever. She’ll be up in the rafters one day soon. I couldn’t be prouder of what she’s accomplished here.”
Now 25-3 overall and 12-2 in the ACC, the Irish received an assist when Virginia Tech upset Miami, thereby leaving the Fighting Irish and Louisville in a first-place tie in the league, with Notre Dame getting the potential tie-breaker for first place because of defeating the Cardinals head to head.
“When Notre Dame plays like this, it’s a cut above,” said Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie when asked about who she considers the best team in the ACC. “They are dominant at a very critical time to be (on the cusp of March Madness).”
The Twin Tower tandem of graduate forward Brianna Turner and senior forward Jessica Turner dominated in the high-low action, helping the Irish to a 45-25 rebounding advantage (23-10 on offense) and 58-20 in points in the paint.
Turner already had a double-double by halftime (13 points, 10 rebounds) and finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Shepard recorded her team high 11th double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds while also dishing out seven assists, second to senior guard Marina Mabrey’s 10. Mabrey had been under the weather lately and McGraw was thankful she was able to play.
Duke out-scored Notre Dame 19-12 in the third quarter, led by the three-point shooting of Mela Goodchild, who would finish the game 8 of 14 beyond the arc, with her treys tying a single game school record.
The Irish next play Monday evening at No. 16 Syracuse, which will be telecast by ESPN2.
The 22-0 run to end the first half and begin the second marked the 36th time this season that Notre Dame had at least a 10-0 spurt at some point in a contest. Equally as impressive is that no Fighting Irish opponent had a 10-0 or more run against them this season — until Duke outscored Notre Dame 12-0 late in the third quarter before an Ogunbowale bucket at the horn ended it and made it 64-44.
2. Never Satisfied
In the past, McCallie had a frosty demeanor toward the Notre Dame program, but she was effusive in her praise of Ogunbowale and the Notre Dame team, adding how it looks much different from the squad she saw lose at Miami back on Feb. 7. However, McGraw remained the harshest critic.
“Maybe we’re a little more ‘woke’ than we have been previously,” McGraw deadpanned of the proverbial wake-up calls from the three defeats. “I’m always disappointed, I’m always looking for perfection, and we’re so far away from it that it’s hard for me to see the good things right now.”
Her objective is not necessarily just about winning.
“I’m looking for a team that can do what we did at practice and bring it to the game, and we’re just not able to do that,” she responded. “I would be really happy if would could take from the huddle and bring it to the court, and we’re not able to do that. We just have a lot of room for improvement defensively. It’s been our Achilles heel all year long.
“We’ve lost two games at least because we could not get a stop when we needed to. That could have easily happened again tonight. Until we get better defensively, I don’t know how far we’ll go.”
3. The Scoring Chart
Especially notable is three of the top 10 career scorers at Notre Dame since the formation of the program in 1977 are on the current roster:
1. Arike Ogunbowale — 2,371 (2015-19)*
2. Skyler Diggins — 2,357 ( 2009-13)
3. Beth Morgan — 2,322 (1993-97)
4. Katryna Gaither — 2,126 (1993-97)
5. Ruth Riley — 2,072 (1997-01)
6. Jewell Loyd — 1,909 (2012-15)
7. Kayla McBride — 1,876 ( 2010-14)
8. Jacqueline Batteast — 1,874 (2001-05)
9. Brianna Turner — 1,830 (2014-19)*, out in 2018
10. Marina Mabrey — 1,787 ( 2015-19)*