USC Women Suffer First Loss Of The Year

ESTERO, Fla. (AP) - Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 points, Jackie Young added 22 and No. 6 Notre Dame beat No. 3 South Carolina 92-85 on Sunday night to take the Gulf Coast Showcase championship and snap the defending national champion Gamecocks' 17-game winning streak.
    
Marina Mabrey scored 12 points and Jessica Shepard had 10 for the Irish (6-0), They trailed by 12 points early in the second quarter and then went on a 37-12 run over the next 14 minutes.
    
A'ja Wilson had a career-best 34 points for South Carolina (6-1), which hadn't lost since Feb. 19. Alexis Jennings and Doniyah Cliney each scored 12 points for the Gamecocks.
    
Notre Dame - which trailed 8-0 and 30-18 early - made seven consecutive shots in the second quarter to get back into the game, then had another 7 for 7 stretch early in the fourth.
    
The first Irish lead came when Mabrey found Shepard for a layup and a 34-33 edge, and Notre Dame just kept attacking the rim the rest of the way.
    
Mabrey had back-to-back scores at the rim early in the third to give Notre Dame a 47-38 lead, and the Irish kept control the rest of the way. The only time the outcome looked in any doubt was late in the third, when South Carolina forced turnovers on two straight possessions, scored on both and got within 59-51.
    
Notre Dame called time and set up a play for Mabrey - who drilled an open 3-pointer from the left corner, and the Irish took an 11-point lead into the fourth.
    
That's when they closed out the Gamecocks, going up 80-61 when Young scored with 6:34 left. South Carolina had one last-gasp run, getting within nine on a layup by Wilson with 2:04 left and eventually within five in the final seconds, but the Gamecocks ran out of time.
    
BIG PICTURE
    
Notre Dame: Even against a big frontcourt like South Carolina's, the Irish held a 58-42 edge on points in the paint. ... The Irish have now won 38 consecutive games played in November.
    
South Carolina: The Gamecocks started 9 for 14, then were just 6 for their next 26. After the hot start, they went more than 20 minutes before making two consecutive shots. ... South Carolina coach Dawn Staley remained stuck on 399 career wins.
    
HOW THEY FINISHED
    
No. 17 South Florida beat St. John's 68-59 for third place, Washington State topped Rutgers 63-60 for fifth place and Western Michigan defeated East Tennessee State 87-79 for seventh place.
    
Notre Dame is the fifth champion of the event, following Middle Tennessee State (2013), Connecticut (2014), Stanford (2015) and Baylor (2016). Next year's field for the Gulf Coast Showcase has yet to be announced, but expect South Carolina back in 2021. That's the earliest the Gamecocks can return, and that'll be the senior year for Destanni Henderson - a highly touted star from southwest Florida who has signed with South Carolina.
    
FAMILIARITY
    
Wilson and Shepard were teammates on USA Basketball's U-18 women's team - coached by Staley - that won gold at the 2014 FIBA Americas Championship. They combined for 39 points in the title-game win over Canada.
    
UP NEXT
    
Notre Dame: Visit No. 25 Michigan on Wednesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
    
South Carolina: Host Western Carolina on Thursday to start a four-game homestand.
 

© 2017 Associated Press


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