- Associated Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Marina Mabrey knew Arike Obunbowale would come through eventually for No. 2 Notre Dame against upset-minded Miami.

Mabrey scored 14 of her 21 points in the first half while Ogunbowale went 28 minutes without a field goal, and the Irish outlasted the Hurricanes 83-76 on Thursday night.

“I don’t worry about Arike hitting shots because they are eventually going to go in,” Mabrey said.

It was a long wait. Ogunbowale hit her first shot and then missed her next 12. But it was Ogunbowale’s rebound basket and following free throw with 7:28 remaining that eventually gave Notre Dame breathing room at 62-57 over the Hurricanes.

“Hey, shooters have to shoot,” Ogunbowale joked after she finished with 20 points, 12 in the fourth quarter.

Jessica Shepard had 12 points, Jackie Young added 11 and Kathryn Westbeld scored 10 for the Irish (14-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Miami (11-4, 1-1 ACC) got a career-high 24 points from Erykah Davenport on 12-of-19 shooting, many of them layups.

The lead changed nine times and the game was tied eight times, including 55-55 at the end of the third quarter.

“Marina made some big shots in the first half, but I thought that lay-in Arike got late in the game was the winning basket,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.

The Irish shot 42 percent for the game, were outrebounded 42-38 and had 16 turnovers while forcing 21 for Miami. The Hurricanes shot 47.1 percent and had too many uncontested baskets for Notre Dame’s Naismith Hall of Fame coach to be satisfied.

“There is no reason why we can’t stay in front of the ball,” McGraw said.

Notre Dame was playing for the first time without point guard Lili Thompson, a graduate transfer from Stanford who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in her right knee during Sunday’s 96-73 victory at Wake Forest. Thompson is the fourth player on the team lost to an ACL injury since preseason practice started in September.

Notre Dame is down to seven scholarship players and three walk-ons.

“I felt we had to get into their bench a little bit and get them in foul trouble - that was the game plan,” Miami coach Kate Meier said. “They did a great job not getting into foul trouble.”

The Irish hit 22 of 26 free throws - Ogunbowale was 12 of 13 - to Miami’s 9 of 12.

Miami started the game on a 14-3 run, but the Irish took a 40-36 halftime lead by forcing 10 turnovers despite shooting 37.8 percent (14 of 37) from the field. The Hurricanes got three Irish turnovers to open the third quarter and hit their first five shots to take a 46-45 lead.

Davenport had 14 points in the quarter as the lead seesawed until a 6-0 run gave the Irish a 55-50 advantage with 3:57 remaining. But Miami closed with a 5-0 run to send the game into the fourth quarter tied.

“Toward the end we threw it to Notre Dame,” Meier said. “If that’s why we lose, that’s why we lose. Boy, what a great game. I don’t have any regrets on this one.”

Emes Hof added 14 points and Shanese Bailey had 13 for the Hurricanes.

INJURY WOES

Thompson was averaging 5.9 points, a team-best 1.6 steals and 4.6 assists in 14 games before the season-ending injury. All-America forward Brianna Turner tore an ACL in last year’s NCAA tournament and is sitting out the season. Guard Mychal Johnson tore an ACL in preseason drills, and forward Mikayla Vaughn tore an ACL in practice after the season began.

“It’s certainly an unprecedented situation in my career,” McGraw said.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes, who own one of the two victories by ACC teams over the Irish since Notre Dame joined the league in 2013, shot 50 percent in the first half (16 of 32). With a 51-48 defeat Dec. 31 against then-No. 14 Duke, Meier’s team could be sleeper if it cleans up its shortcomings.

“They had three freshmen on the floor sometimes,” McGraw said. “They are as good defensively as anyone we’ve seen.”

Notre Dame: Inconsistent shooting could come back to haunt the Irish, who rely on Ogunbowale’s 20.5 points per game.

UP NEXT

Miami: Hosts Wake Forest on Sunday.

Notre Dame: Visits Georgia Tech on Sunday.


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