Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 points, Marina Mabrey added 19, and Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw earned her 900th career victory as the second-ranked Fighting Irish beat Lehigh 95-68 on Sunday.
McGraw, now 900-272 overall, is 812-231 in her 32nd season at Notre Dame, where she won NCAA titles in 2001 and last season. Her first coaching victory came at Lehigh, where the Pottsville, Pennsylvania, native and former Saint Joseph’s point guard was 88-41 in five seasons beginning in 1982-83. She is the ninth Division I women’s basketball coach to reach 900 victories.
McGraw was recognized afterward with a video presentation from her husband and son that brought tears to her eyes. Her 800th victory at Notre Dame came last April 1 in the national championship game.
Brianna Turner scored 15 points, Jessica Shepard had 14 and Jackie Young added 10 for Notre Dame (12-1). The Fighting Irish shot 61 percent from the field and had 26 assists on their 35 baskets. Mabrey had seven assists, Shepard had six and the Irish won the board battle 37-29 with seven each from Turner and Shepard.
Mary Clougherty scored 14 points, while Camryn Buhr and Emma Grothaus had 11 each and Gena Grundhoffer added 10 for Sue Troyan’s Mountain Hawks (8-3). Buhr played at Penn High School, 9 miles from the Notre Dame campus.
The Mountain Hawks fought back from a seven-point deficit in the opening quarter to trail by one, 20-19, after Hannah Hedstrom made three free throws. Hedstrom was fouled by Danielle Patterson while attempting a desperation buzzer-beater.
Lehigh then took a 21-20 lead on Grundhoffer’s basket to open the second quarter. But Ogunbowale made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt by Buhr, and the Irish never trailed again. Notre Dame finished the half on a 21-8 run thanks to 69.2 percent shooting (9 of 13) in the quarter, to lead 46-31 behind Ogunbowale’s 14 points and 10 by Mabrey, her roommate.
A 12-3 start in the third quarter increased the Irish lead to 58-34. The Irish made 10 of 14 shots in the quarter and led 76-48 heading into the fourth.
Ogunbowale moved into fourth on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list, passing Ruth Riley, who finished her career with 2,072 points.
Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks could be a surprise in the Patriot League race. Picked to finish fourth with Navy behind favorite Bucknell, Lehigh hung tough with the Irish for the first 12 minutes before Notre Dame’s shooting accuracy kicked in. After shooting 42.9 percent (6 of 14) in the first quarter, the Mountain Hawks finished at 35.5 percent for the half.
Notre Dame: In their final tune-up before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play, the Fighting Irish showed the effects of an eight-day layoff, committing 10 first-half turnovers and missing some easy shots underneath. But Notre Dame forced 12 Lehigh turnovers in the same span and held the Mountain Hawks to 35.5-percent shooting (11 of 31), including 29.4 percent (5 of 17) in the second quarter. Notre Dame had 11 assists on its 17 first-half baskets.
Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks open Patriot League play Thursday at Lafayette.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish host Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Source: The Associated Press