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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale (24) drives past Georgia Tech forward Zaire O'Neil (21) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, in Atlanta. 

Monday, January 02, 2017 7:29 pm

Ogunbowale, Turner power No. 7 Irish past Georgia Tech

GEORGE HENRY | Associated Press


ATLANTA – Arike Ogunbowale wanted Notre Dame to come out strong against Georgia Tech.

She thought that would be the best way to get past the emotional letdown of last week's surprising loss at North Carolina State.

"I know I had a better mindset because N.C. State was a bad loss," she said. "Just bad offensively, defensively, so I tried to key in to my defense and that's how my offense came."

Ogunbowale scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half, Brianna Turner had nine points and 11 rebounds and No. 7 Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech 55-38 on Monday night.

After dropping five spots in The Associated Press poll earlier in the day, the Irish (13-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were never threatened after their 35-game league winning streak was snapped.

Notre Dame took its first double-digit lead on Ogunbowale's 3-pointer early in the second quarter and went up by 21 late in the period.

Georgia Tech (11-3, 0-1) missed 22 of its first 28 shots from the field and had 12 turnovers when consecutive jumpers by Kristina Nelson made it 34-11 at the 2:14 mark of the second.

Zaire O'Neil had nine points and 13 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, who struggled badly in the lane, unable to capitalize much on 20 offensive rebounds.

Georgia Tech began the second half going just 3 for 14 from the field and trailed 47-26 on Turner's alley-oop layup late in the third. The Jackets haven't won a league opener since 2011-12.

"I thought they did a great job changing defenses on us," Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. "When we got an offensive rebound, they'd go to zone. That's hard to play against as a young, especially freshmen guards. You could tell it rattled us."

Notre Dame improved to 48-2 since joining the ACC for its first season in 2013-14. The Irish haven't lost consecutive games since November 2010 and have won 21 straight games following a loss.

"We don't lose two games in a row too often so it was good we were able to take care of that one," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "It always plays in your mind a little bit — 'Where are we right now? What's going on? Why are we struggling?' So it's good to get a win no matter how it looks."


Notre Dame: Ogunbowale hopes that playing six straight road games will make her team tougher in the NCAA Tournament. The Irish haven't played at home since losing 72-61 to No. 1 Connecticut on Dec. 7. They will face Wake Forest this week in South Bend, Ind. "I think it's all good for adversity," she said. "Hopefully later on in March, we're going to be away in games, so it's just good practice."... Despite winning ACC regular-season and tournament titles for the third consecutive season last year, Notre Dame fell in a regional semifinal to Stanford and in the Final Four in each of the five previous seasons. The Irish lost in the national championship game in 2011, '12, '14 and '15.

Georgia Tech: Without an improved offense, the Jackets are likely to struggle against the ACC's top teams. They began the night with no players ranked in the top 30 of league scoring. ... Katarina Vuckovic, the Jackets' leading returning scorer, is averaging 3.4 points. She went 1 for 6 from the field and scored two points. ... The starters were a combined 6 for 31 from the field.


Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen began the game ranked No. 8 nationally with an average of 7.2 assists and finished the game with eight. The senior point guard, a former transfer from St. John's (Md.) College, averaged 5.8 assists in her first Notre Dame season. She had a career-high 12 in November against TCU and last month at Chattanooga.


Notre Dame: Hosts Wake Forest on Thursday.

Georgia Tech: Hosts No. 13 Duke on Thursday.