Jackie Young’s 25-point, 10-rebound double-double Monday night helped top-seeded Notre Dame rally from a nine-point second-half deficit and stop second-seeded Stanford 84-68 in the title game of the Chicago Region at Wintrust Arena, earning the right to defend its national championship.
The Fighting Irish (34-3) advanced to the Final Four in the NCAA Women’s Tournament, earning a matchup Friday night in Tampa against Connecticut. It’s a rematch of a regular season game in December that the Huskies won.
Arike Ogunbowale added 21 points despite making just 6 of 19 shots for Notre Dame, while Brianna Turner scored 14. Jessica Shepard stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 11 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.
Kiana Williams paced Stanford (31-5) with 20 points, but converted only 8 of 22 attempts from the field. Dijonai Carrington chipped in 18 and Alanna Smith scored 14 points. The Cardinal made just 39.7 percent of their field goals and were outrebounded 48-38.
The Irish outscored Stanford 58-35 in the second half, pulling away with a 32-point fourth quarter. Ogunbowale’s 3-point play with 7:47 left in the game gave them a 59-48 lead, and the Cardinal couldn’t get closer than eight for the night’s remainder.
Stanford controlled most of the first half, using an excellent defensive effort to keep its high-scoring opponent under wraps. Notre Dame endured a 3 1/2-minute scoring drought after Ogunbowale opened the game with a 3-pointer, and the Cardinal took a 13-11 edge to the second quarter.
Stanford found a little more traction offensively in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the first half. It closed the half with an 8-2 spurt, capped by a Lexie Hull jumper with 49 seconds left that put it in the locker room with a 33-26 lead.
The margin was still seven almost halfway through the third quarter when the Irish finally got going. Young’s seven points in an 11-2 run over the final 2:17 of the period not only activated the large Notre Dame crowd, but gave their team a 52-46 advantage.
—Field Level Media