The Deacs faced the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Feb. 18 at home. After coming off four straight wins, Wake Forest players were fired up and ready to take on this nationally ranked team. This was Wake Forest’s longest ACC winning streak since the 1987-1988 season.
Notre Dame is athletic and has a cohesive and efficient offense that dominated the Deacs, especially in the paint.
They caught Wake Forest’s defense off-guard by converting many back-door passes and breakaways. Notre Dame finished the game with 56 points in the paint alone, compared to Wake Forest’s underwhelming performance of only 26 points in the paint. The Irish also finished with 15 fast break points.
The biggest difference between these two teams was the depth of the bench. This was evident more as the game went on; Wake Forest started to pick up fouls at a fast rate. Notre Dame bench players contributed 42 of the total 86 points scored that night, while Wake Forest’s bench players only converted a game total of seven points. Notre Dame dominated every aspect of the game, as expected from this elite level team.
The Deacs had 22 total turnovers, while Notre Dame only had 15 in the game. This didn’t allow the Deacs to have many opportunities to convert points off of turnovers. Rebounds were another crucial part of the outcome of this game; Notre Dame finished with a total of 40 rebounds, 11 offensive and 29 defensive. This caused them to prevent the Deacs from having many second chance points, as well as giving them more opportunities to score on offensive on more than one chance.
Leading scorers for the fighting Irish were Brianna Turner (19), Kathryn Westbeld (10), Arike Ogunbowale (16), Marina Mabrey (11), and Kristina Nelson (10).
It’s impressive that this team had five players score points in double digits. For the Deacs, Ariel Stephenson finished with 17 points and Elisa Penna had 10. Free throws helped the Irish; they were 90 percent from the line in the first half and 80 percent in the second half.
The Deacs will take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Feb. 25 at 7p.m. at the Lawrence-Joel Coliseum. It will be Senior Night for the Lady Deacs. The Hokies are 3-11 in the ACC and are coming off of a four game losing streak.