- Associated Press - Sunday, December 4, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Any thoughts of top-ranked Notre Dame looking past Valparaiso and peeking ahead to Wednesday’s clash with No. 2 Connecticut were quickly put to rest Sunday as the Fighting Irish used a 26-0 start to coast to a 114-54 win over Valparaiso.

“It was a pretty good start, I was happy with that,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “We’re trying to work on a couple different things and I thought we had some urgency and some intensity early on I thought was good.”

Freshman Jackie Young led six Irish players in double figures with 20 points.

Despite hitting 1 of 8 from the field to start the game, the Irish (8-0) scored the first 26 points. During that stretch, Valparaiso attempted just five shots while committing 10 turnovers.

Arike Ogunbowale scored 12 points in the decisive first half as the Irish raced to a 72-23 halftime lead. The 72 points tied a school record for most points in a half. Notre Dame hit 30 of 42 shots (71.4 percent) from the field in the opening 20 minutes and 48 of 75 from the field. Notre Dame shot a season-high 64 percent from the field.

“They came out just on a mission,” Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow said. “They put us on our heels early and dominated that whole half, especially the first quarter.”

Young, a freshman guard, scored her career-high 20 points by hitting 8 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 4 3-pointers.

“I shot well, but I have a lot to work on and just understanding the defense a little more and then I think I’ll get more comfortable,” Young said.

Ogunbowale finished with 18 for the Irish, Marina Mabrey scored 16, freshman Erin Boley added 15, Brianna Turner chipped in 13 and Kathryn Westbeld had 10.

Valparaiso (4-4) was led by Dani Franklin, who scored 18 points as the Crusaders were limited to 22 of 58 from the field (37.9 percent). Valparaiso committed 31 turnovers and Notre Dame pounced. The Irish held a 50-14 advantage in points off turnovers. Notre Dame also outscored Valparaiso 70-16 in the paint. Georgi Donchetz added 10 points for the Crusaders.

The 114 points Notre Dame scored fell shy of the school record of 128, which the Irish scored against Mercer in 2011 and Saint Francis in 2012.

“They could have run the score up on us,” Dorow said, “and I don’t think they did.”


Valparaiso: Before Sunday’s game, Valparaiso had not had a winning record this late in the season since 2008-09.

Notre Dame: A challenging stretch awaits the Irish as they host Connecticut next, then embark on a string of six consecutive road games. After Wednesday, Notre Dame will not play at home again until Jan. 5.


Former Notre Dame standout and current associate head coach Niele Ivey was inducted in the school’s Ring of Honor. Ivey captained Notre Dame’s 2001 national championship team. Valparaiso’s previous trip to Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion came two years ago when former Irish star Skylar Diggins was given the same honor. … Valparaiso was Notre Dame’s first opponent in program history. The Irish were 48-41 winners over the Crusaders on Dec. 3, 1977. . Several members of Notre Dame’s men’s team sat near the court and watched the game. The Irish men host North Carolina A&T; later Sunday. … Notre Dame’s 38 rebounds were a season low. … The Irish had a season-high 19 steals.


Valparaiso: After playing on consecutive days, the Crusaders get a bit of a rest, not playing again until Saturday when they host Grace College. Valparaiso faces another quick turnaround, however, when it travels to face Indiana on Sunday.

Notre Dame: The Irish host No. 2 Connecticut on Wednesday in a matchup of national powers.

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