Guard Arike Ogunbowale scored a career-high 34 points to lead No. 1 seed Notre Dame to an 87-80 victory over No. 4 Texas A&M in a Sweet 16 game Saturday in the Chicago Region.
The game was tied at 69 in the fourth quarter before Ogunbowale scored five consecutive points on a 3-pointer and then a fast-break layup after she stole the ball on a pass. The Irish were able to maintain at least a five-point lead for the final 6:07.
Ogunbowale made 14 of 26 shots from the field.
Senior forward Jessica Shepard contributed 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for the Irish. Jackie Young had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Notre Dame (33-3) advances to Monday’s regional title game against Stanford, which fended off Missouri State later Saturday.
Sophomore guard Chennedy Carter led the Aggies (26-8) with a season-high 35 points. She made 13 of 34 shots, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range. Carter was tagged with two fouls in the first four-plus minutes. She avoided a third foul before the break but spent much of the second half bouncing between the lineup and the bench.
Texas A&M’s Ciera Johnson had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Kayla Wells scored 18.
Notre Dame made it look easy in winning its first two tournament games at home by an average of 35 points. The Irish never trailed in wins over Bethune-Cookman and Michigan State, then trailed 90 seconds into Saturday’s contest.
The first half featured eight ties and 15 lead changes. No team led by more than five points.
Notre Dame was in jeopardy of trailing at half for the first time since a mid-January game at Tennessee before Ogunbowale broke loose for four quick points in the final minute. That helped tie the game at 42.
—Field Level Media