Chicago, IL – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had just enough team defense to defeat Chennedy Carter and the Texas A&M Aggies 87-80, in the Sweet 16 matchup at Wintrust Arena in Chicago Saturday afternoon.
Notre Dame (33-3) now has beat Texas A&M in the regional-semifinal round for the second consecutive year.
Notre Dame Arike Ogunbowale led her team with 34 pts, while forward Jessica Shepard recorded a double double with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
“Arike wins it with a defensive stop,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said, needling her star on the postgame dais. “I think that should be the headline.”
Texas A&M guard Carter lead all players scoring 35 points, which gives her the second most points for an Aggie in a NCAA Tournament game.
Notre Dame started the third quarter with an 8-0 run capped off by a Brianna Turner layup.
“It was super physical, but that’s basketball,” Arike said, “Having the crowd on our side like that definitely helped us a lot and (gave us) momentum. I’m glad the fans made the trip.”
In the 4th quarter Ogunbowale knocked down a 3 pointer that allowed the Irish never to looked back.
After this victory Notre Dame earned it’s ninth trip to the Elite Eight in the past 10 years.
Next up will be No 2 seed Stanford in Monday nights Chicago Regional Championship game.