The Marquette women’s basketball team couldn’t stop Notre Dame star Arike Ogunbowale from having a homecoming party in her return to Milwaukee.
The senior guard and former Divine Savior Holy Angels star scored 32 points as the second-ranked Fighting Irish ran away from the No. 19 Golden Eagles, 87-63, at the Al McGuire Center on Saturday afternoon.
“I think it worked out really well,” Ogunbowale said. “Especially senior year, my last year playing, and being able to play in front of friends and family. So it was a really good environment.”
Notre Dame (10-1) took control by outscoring MU, 25-11, in the second quarter.
MU (9-2) had no answers inside for Notre Dame forward Brianna Turner. The 6-foot-3 junior used her size to get good position around the basket. She had 10 points in the second quarter and finished with 20.
The Irish had a 60-30 advantage in points in the paint. Jessica Shepard, a 6-4 junior forward, had 15 points and 18 rebounds.
“I was really proud of our post game,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I thought we took advantage inside. That was our advantage. I thought we were able to go in and look for Brianna Turner and Jess did a great job with the boards.”
BOX SCORE: Notre Dame 87, MU women 63
Ogunbowale then did the honors of putting the game out of reach. She scored the Irish’s first 11 points of the third quarter.
“She’s so explosive,” MU coach Carolyn Kieger said. “And shifty. She can shoot the three and get by you in a quick second.
“I thought a lot of it came in the half court. She does such a good job pushing the ball in transition. But she hit some high-level pull-ups. She attacked off the bounce and just played a great overall game.”
The Golden Eagles couldn’t make enough outside shots to counter the Irish’s inside domination. MU shot 4 for 20 on three-pointers.
“I think we were just playing super passive,” MU senior guard Natisha Hiedeman said. “This was a big-time game, so we just had to be ready and get our minds right.”
Hiedeman led the Golden Eagles with 23 points. But fellow seniors Allazia Blockton and Amani Wilborn combined to shoot 3 for 24.
Blockton was honored before the game after becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer earlier this month. But she couldn’t find much room to shoot against Notre Dame.
“We had Brianna Turner on her when we went man-to-man,” McGraw said. “(She’s) a little bigger. A little more size.
“Just the athletic ability, I don’t think she was able to get by her. We got her off to bad start and sometimes that affects a player.”
Notre Dame also beat MU in an overtime battle last season in South Bend, Ind.
“I think Marquette is a really good team,” McGraw said. “I think they should be ranked higher than they are. They’re a great team, they didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from three tonight.
“They are a good team. I certainly wouldn’t want to play them again.”
The Golden Eagles will begin Big East play against Providence at the Al McGuire Center next Saturday.
“(Notre Dame) played phenomenally,” Kieger said. “Arike … what a homecoming. She was unstoppable tonight.
“I’m a little disappointed. I thought we’d be able to give them a little bit better effort than that. I would have hoped to have been able to give them our best shot. We obviously didn’t do that.
“We’ll regroup. We’ll get better over this break and hopefully go into conference play ready to be the Marquette team that we are.”