Notre Dame squeaked by Oregon State in an early season matchup between two of the nation’s best teams, despite another stellar outing from Mikayla Pivec. Pivec matched her career high with 19 points, while grabbing eight boards, and dishing six assists. Oregon State also received double-digit scoring efforts from Taylor Kalmer and Kat Tudor at 12 a piece, as well as from Marie Gulich, who had 10. The Irish were led by a career night from sophomore Jackie Young who had 21, and were able to finish off the Beavers behind some clutch free throws and stellar defense by Arike Ogunbowale.
This highly anticipated matchup got started off with a weird play when Ogunbowale’s first shot got stuck on the rim. Oregon States’s Maddie Washington then nailed the first three pointer of her career to catapulted Oregon State to an 8-0 start. A Tudor three-ball ended up putting the Beavers up 11-2, forcing the Irish to take their first timeout. Teams traded baskets throughout the rest of the first quarter before Notre Dame’s Lili Thompson hit a three at the end to cut the lead to 20-15.
Notre Dame’s Mikayla Vaughn opened the 2nd with a quick layup to cut the lead to three before back-to-back threes by Katie McWilliams and Kalmer forced another Irish timeout. The defense was stellar by Oregon State as they swarmed Notre Dame in the paint. When they did score in the paint, it felt like it took multiple shots per possession. Midway through the quarter, the Beavers struggled to convert, letting Notre Dame back within three at 30-27. A Pivec jumper and layup, followed by a Tudor three increased the lead back to 10 with a minute left in the half before a Marina Mabrey layup brought the halftime score to 37-29.
The teams traded baskets to start the 3rd quarter with McWilliams striking first. Notre Dame then cut the deficit to two at 46-44 after an old school three point play by Young and a layup by Vaughn, forcing Oregon State to call a timeout to stop the bleeding. Notre Dame eventually tied the game at 48, and then took the lead behind an Ogunbowale three. Oregon State answered with two Gulich baskets to get the lead back going into the fourth quarter, 52-51.
The Beavers stuck with the hot hand as Gulich got the first bucket of the fourth quarter. Norte Dame hit back to back shots to get the lead back at 55-54 on baskets from Young and Mabrey. The Irish hit their stride to get the lead up to four before Kalmer hit a three. A Shepard put back got Notre Dame back up three, then Pivec made a three point play sandwiched around a TV timeout where the crowd could catch its breath. A Thompson floater pushed the Irish ahead again before Tudor hit a three for the Beavers to reclaim the lead at 65-64. Notre Dame then scores three straight baskets capped by a Young layup to increase the Irish’s lead to five before a Gulich hit an open layup. Needing a crucial stop, Oregon State needed to make something happen, but couldn’t get the much needed defensive rebound to make the comeback possible.
The Beavers will head to the East Coast to play North Carolina Central before taking on another premiere opponent in Duke on November 22nd and 25th, respectively. Check back with Building the Dam for more previews and recaps from the games.