Notre Dame Hands USC Women First Loss, 92-85

ESTERO, Fla. (AP) – Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 points, Jackie Young added 22 and No. 6 Notre Dame beat No. 3 South Carolina 92-85 on Sunday night to take the Gulf Coast Showcase championship and snap the defending national champion Gamecocks’ 17-game winning streak.

Marina Mabrey scored 12 points and Jessica Shepard had 10 for the Irish (6-0), They trailed by 12 points early in the second quarter and then went on a 37-12 run over the next 14 minutes.

A’ja Wilson had a career-best 34 points for South Carolina (6-1), which hadn’t lost since Feb. 19. Alexis Jennings and Doniyah Cliney each scored 12 points for the Gamecocks.

Notre Dame – which trailed 8-0 and 30-18 early – made seven consecutive shots in the second quarter to get back into the game, then had another 7 for 7 stretch early in the fourth.

The first Irish lead came when Mabrey found Shepard for a layup and a 34-33 edge, and Notre Dame just kept attacking the rim the rest of the way.

Mabrey had back-to-back scores at the rim early in the third to give Notre Dame a 47-38 lead, and the Irish kept control the rest of the way. The only time the outcome looked in any doubt was late in the third, when South Carolina forced turnovers on two straight possessions, scored on both and got within 59-51.

Notre Dame called time and set up a play for Mabrey – who drilled an open 3-pointer from the left corner, and the Irish took an 11-point lead into the fourth.

That’s when they closed out the Gamecocks, going up 80-61 when Young scored with 6:34 left. South Carolina had one last-gasp run, getting within nine on a layup by Wilson with 2:04 left and eventually within five in the final seconds, but the Gamecocks ran out of time.

NOTABLE

  • South Carolina’s Alexis Jenningsand A’ja Wilson were named to the All-Tournament Team.
  • A’ja Wilsonposted the third 30-point game of the season and her career, resetting her career high for the second time in three days with 34 points.
  • Wilson also tied her career high with five assists in the game.
  • The Gamecocks trailed at halftime for the first time this season and were out-scored in the paint (58-42) for the first time this season.
  • South Carolina out-scored Notre Dame in the fourth quarter 30-26 and shot 66.7 percent (14-of-21) in the period, but could not overcome the 11-point deficit they had going into the final 10 minutes.

GAMECHANGER

Notre Dame closed the first half on a 17-5 run, capitalizing on five South Carolina turnovers to take a 41-38 lead into halftime.

KEY STAT

In the middle two quarters of the game, Notre Dame out-scored South Carolina in the paint 36-8.

UP NEXT

The Gamecocks return home for their next four games at Colonial Life Arena, beginning on Thu., Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. against Western Carolina.