Editor’s note: Charlie Creme, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel each vote to determine espnW’s national player of the week, which is awarded every week of the women’s college basketball season.
After celebrating the national championship with her teammates at Notre Dame in April, guard Jackie Young got her own parade back home in Princeton, Indiana. She and the town wouldn’t mind doing that again in 2019.
Young became the top high school scorer in Indiana history at Princeton, which is in the southwest corner of the state, nearly 300 miles from South Bend. She said in high school that her goal was winning an NCAA title; now she’s looking for more than one.
The No. 1 ranked Irish got their first real test of the season Saturday in the championship game of the Vancouver Showcase, as they trailed No. 9 Oregon State by as much as 14 and by nine at halftime.
But the Irish came back to win 91-81, and Young led the way with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. All due respect to her teammate and 2018 Final Four hero Arike Ogunbowale, who was the Vancouver tournament’s most outstanding player, but Young is the espnW player of the week. Young’s defensive energy, rebounding and playmaking were all crucial against the Beavers.
Young got the assist on Marina Mabrey’s 3-pointer with 3 minutes and 23 seconds left, which put the Irish up 80-77. They didn’t give up the lead again. Young’s defensive rebound on Kat Tudor’s missed 3-pointer at 2:15 led to Young’s assist to Jessica Shepard for a 3-point play — a sequence that pretty much shut the door on the Beavers.
In the three games in Vancouver, Young averaged 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists. On the season, the 6-foot junior is averaging 18.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists.
As mentioned, Ogunbowale also had an outstanding tournament, averaging 24.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists. And another player at the same event, Drake forward Sara Rhine, really stood out, too. She averaged 20.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in leading the Bulldogs to victories over Rutgers and No. 13 South Carolina, although Drake fell to Notre Dame.
Both Young and Ogunbowale vexed Drake, combining for 55 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in that game. Then against Oregon State, the Irish were glad to have Mabrey back for the first time this season, as she’d been dealing with a quadriceps injury. But Young and Ogunbowale have been dynamic so far for the Irish (6-0), who next host Iowa on Thursday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET) and UConn on Sunday (ESPN, 4 p.m. ET).
Everyone recalls Ogunbowale’s overtime buzzer-beater against the Huskies in the NCAA semifinals last season, but Young was the leading scorer in that game with 32 points on 10 of 15 shooting. She also had 11 rebounds in the national semifinal. Both are expected to be center stage the rest of this season, which bodes well for the Irish.
Also nominated: Rhyne Howard (Kentucky); Presley Hudson (Central Michigan); Tiana Mangakahia (Syracuse); Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame); Sara Rhine (Drake)