March 26, 2017

Cardinal takes the fight out of the Irish!

Stanford spotted Notre Dame a 16-point lead, then clawed back into the game to grab a one-point, come-from-behind, upset triumph in the Elite Eight.

The announced crowd in the cavernous Rupp Arena was 2,527 on a damp Sunday in Lexington. The great majority of folks in the stands wore the Irish green; a cluster of a hundred or so in cardinal tried to out-shout them from behind the Stanford bench.

Through the first quarter the teams seemed well-matched, and Stanford held several small leads. Then in the second quarter Stanford fell into a scoring drought while Notre Dame's phenomenal freshman, Arike Ogunbowale drove freely to the basket. After allowing a 13-0 run for the Irish, Tara called time; shortly after, Ogunbowale closed the half with a three leaving Stanford down 14.

That became a 16-point deficit shortly into the third quarter when Notre Dame's equally dangerous Marina Mabrey hit a jumper. There was gloom among the red- shirted fans, who didn't known that this marked the start of a historic recovery. It began with a three by Brittany, then a jumper by Alanna, then another three from Brittany. With the score 43-51, Notre Dame called a timeout. A few minutes later Bird made a layup and Karlie hit a three to bring Stanford within four; Brittany made a layup to close out the quarter with a 16-point deficit reduced to just two, 55-57.

The fourth quarter was a tense, see-saw battle. Looking only at the scoring and ignoring all the misses and steals and fouls, it went like this:

  • Brittany hits a three to give Stanford its first lead of the half, 58-57.
  • Mabrey, who is like an eel wriggling through the defense to the basket, makes a layup: 58-59.
  • Bird makes one free throw to tie, then Brittany hits a jumper: 61-59.
  • Mabrey makes another layup: 61-61.
  • Notre Dame's Erin Boley hits a three: 61-64. Gloom among the red-shirts!
  • Karlie hits a three: 64-64. Red-shirts explode!
  • Alanna makes a layup: 66-64.
  • Two free throws by Ogunbowale: 66-66.
  • Two free throws by Brittany: 68-66.
  • Mabrey hits a three-pointer: 68-69.
  • Two free throws by Marta: 70-69.
  • Mabrey makes a layup: 70-71.
  • Brittany makes a layup: 72-71.
  • Two free throws by Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen: 72-73.
  • Alanna layup: 74-73.
  • Lindsay Allen jumper: 74-75.
  • Tara calls time at 0:36.
  • Alanna makes a layup: 76-75.

Now Notre Dame had the ball, down one with 25 seconds to play. Stanford had a foul to give, so Marta helped them pass some time by fouling the point guard. With three seconds left, Lindsay Allen missed a jumper, the ball went out of bounds, the refs reviewed the video and awarded the ball to Notre Dame.

Tara called a timeout. Then Muffet McGraw called a timeout. Finally, Notre Dame inbounded the ball. Ogunbowale went for a game-winning jumper, Bird blocked it, and the buzzer went off: Stanford wins!

Brittany led all scorers with 27 points (Ogunbowale had 25), including 5 of 9 three-point attempts, plus five rebounds, two blocks and four assists.

Karlie had fifteen points on 5 of 8 three-point attempts, two rebounds, one block and four assists.

Alanna had fifteen points including what proved to be the winning layup, two blocks, two steals and seven rebounds.

Bird had nine points, eleven rebounds, and two blocks including the one that preserved the win in the final second.

Bri had seven points and three assists.

Marta had just two points, but recorded three rebounds and eight assists (with zero turnovers).

Here are game reports and commentary:

The game statistics,

The game highlights video from Stanford Athletics,

The game highlights video from ESPN

Video clips from ESPN:

The video press conference (Notre Dame & Stanford)

And a gallery of photos by Mark Mahan SWBB Facebook.

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