SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Top-ranked Notre Dame faced down a sturdy challenge by Green Bay in the Preseason WNIT semifinals Thursday, backed by a typically swarming defense and the offensive punch of Arike Ogunbowale.
The Fighting Irish (3-0) will play for the Preseason WNIT crown at home on Sunday, Nov. 20; tipoff is 3 p.m. ET, and game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. They will take on 17th-ranked Washington.
Ogunbowale, a 5-8 sophomore guard from Milwaukee, scored 18 points and added three steals as Notre Dame built an 11-point lead at halftime but had to work through the final seconds to secure the win. The Phoenix (2-1), which beat Elon and Little Rock to reach the semifinals, were hampered by turnovers (15 in the first half, 22 overall) but made 12 3-pointers.
Green Bay was within five points, 63-58 with 3:41 left in the fourth quarter after a jumper from junior Jessica Lindstrom. Lindsay Allen hit a free throw and then found Brianna Turner with a nice pass for a layup to make it 64-58 with 2:32 remaining. Mehryn Kraker drained a 3-pointer to make it 66-61 with 2:03 left, but the Phoenix were unable to finish off the rally.
Turner added 14 points for Notre Dame, which won the Preseason WNIT in 2004 and beat Central Michigan and Fordham to reach the semifinals this year. Marina Mabrey added 13 points and three assists, and Allen had eight assists.
Green Bay got 20 points and 16 rebounds from Lindstrom, with Kraker chipping in 14 points and four assists.