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 Washington or Missouri.
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 closed with eight assists.
Green Bay got 20 points and 16 rebounds from Lindstrom, with Kraker chipping in 14 points and four assists.
WASHINGTON 79, MISSOURI 66
SEATTLE, Wash. – Down two starters because of injuries, Washington rode the senior leadership and skills of Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor to secure a win against Missouri on Thursday in the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT.
The 17th-ranked Huskies (3-0) will travel to No. 1 Notre Dame for the championship game, slated for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 20, which will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
After setting a Preseason WNIT record with 16 3-pointers against Colorado State on Monday, Washington hit 15 against the Tigers (2-1) and outscored the visitors by a 49-28 margin in the middle two quarters. Plum finished with 32 points and seven assists, and Osahor contributed 18 points and 16 rebounds, to go with six assists.
Natalie Romeo hit four 3-pointers for Washington, which didn’t get a single point from its bench.
Cierra Porter had 16 points for Missouri, which beat Abilene Christian and Nebraska in the previous two rounds. Sophie Cunningham scored 14 points and added six assists.
NEBRASKA 62, COLORADO STATE 59
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska got 3-pointers from Hannah Whitish and Jessica Shepard in the final 1:48 on Thursday to slip past Colorado State in a consolation round game of the Preseason WNIT.
With the game tied at 55-all. Whitfish nailed a 3-pointer, and after a layup by CSU’s Elin Gustavsson made it 58-57, Shepard added her long bomb with 38 seconds to go to build a 61-57 edge. Hannah Tvrdy’s layup with 22 seconds left made it 61-59, but the Cornhuskers added a free throw by Whitish and saw Colorado State miss a layup in the final seconds.
Leading the way for Nebraska (2-1) was Shepard, who closed with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Whitish had 10 points as the Huskers survived going just 10-for-22 from the free-throw line.
Tvrdy, a transfer from Nebraska, closed with 17 points and nine rebounds. Gustavsson added 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Ellen Nystrom added 13 points and seven rebounds. Nystrom, the Mountain West Conference player of the year in 2015-16, fouled out with about 3 minutes to go.