Young eclipses 1,000 point milestone as Irish dominate ACC opener
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame women's basketball has captured four ACC regular season championships in the five seasons since joining the conference. But if anyone thought it had gotten old to the Irish, Thursday's dominant performance over Pittsburgh left no doubt that the motivation is still there.
Notre Dame used a blistering first half to overwhelm the Panthers, opening ACC play with a 100-44 victory which head coach Muffet McGraw called her team's best game of the season thus far.
“We’ve got a long way to go so it’s great to get out in the first game and really set a tone for the ACC," said McGraw, just days removed from her 900th coaching win against Lehigh. "We’re going to take it one game at a time, but it’s important for us to come out and play like that every game.”
The Irish were led by the senior duo of Marina Mabrey (20 points and seven assists) and Arike Ogunbowale (18 points), however the 16 points from junior guard Jackie Young were the most meaningful.
Entering Thursday just six points shy of 1,000 career points, Young scored three early buckets to become the 40th Irish player to reach the milestone in program history. She also joins four of her teammates - Ogunbowale, Mabrey, Jessica Shepard and Brianna Turner - in that accomplishment. Notre Dame is one of just two teams in the entire country to boast all five starters with at least 1,000 career points.
Young, a native of Princeton, Indiana, spent most of postgame lauding her teammates and their willingness to help her towards the accomplishment. That humility is one of the reasons McGraw has the confidence to shower praise when able.
“I know everybody in Princeton is celebrating that right now," McGraw said. "She has done so many great things for us, and she’s so unselfish – never cares about how many points she scores. But I still think she may be the best player ever to come out of here. She’s so important to our team.”
Young and the Irish move to 13-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play. Next, they'll hit the road to play Georgia Tech on Sunday.