Jessica Shepard had her first double-double at Notre Dame as the No. 6 Irish opened their season with a 121-65 victory over Mount St. Mary's on Saturday.
Shepard, a junior transfer from Nebraska, finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. She was among five starters scoring in double figures for coach Muffet McGraw. Arike Ogunbowale led the Irish with 21 points and became the school's 37th 1,000-point scorer.
"I was really pleased for Jessica coming in for her first game and getting a double-double," McGraw said. "For Arike to reach 1,000 points in the first game of her junior year is an amazing accomplishment."
Marina Mabrey matched Shepard's 18 points, Jackie Young had 16 and graduate student Lili Thompson had 10. Notre Dame led from start to finish against the undersized and overmatched Mountaineers.
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Notre Dame's 121 points is the third most in Irish history and most since it scored 120 against Pittsburgh on Jan. 17, 2012. It's the most in a season opener since defeating Liberty 113-35 on Nov. 24, 1989.
Notre Dame, which shot 58.4 percent from the floor, outscored Mount St. Mary's 68-24 in the paint. Thompson had 8 of 24 assists by the Irish, who outrebounded the Mountaineers 50-27.
"We've been struggling to take care of the ball in practice, so I was really happy," McGraw said. "I was disappointed with our defense. I think we can play better and bring more intensity. We have a lot of work to do on the defensive end."
Mount St. Mary's, which shot 40.7 percent, got 12 points from Ashlee White.
Mount St. Mary's: Under first-year coach Maria Marchesano, who was the associate head coach at IUPUI, the Mountaineers are coming off a 12-18 season that included a 10-8 mark in the Northeast Conference.
Notre Dame: The Irish are missing point guard Lindsay Allen (graduation) and All-America forward Brianna Turner (ACL) and reserve guard Mychal Johnson (ACL) for the season. Transfers Thompson (Stanford) and Shepard (Nebraska) started and performed well.
CLIMBING THE MOUNT
Notre Dame's victory was its first against Mount St. Mary's, which won the previous meeting 57-44 in the Penn Holiday Tournament during the 1981-82 season. McGraw began her head coaching career the following season at Lehigh and the first season of her 31 at Notre Dame in 1987-88. McGraw is now 766-227 at Notre Dame and 854-268 in 36 seasons overall.
Notre Dame senior Kathryn Westbeld finished with six points, four rebounds and two assists in 10 minutes during her return from offseason ankle surgery.
Mount St. Mary's: At Xavier on Tuesday.
Notre Dame: At Western Kentucky on Tuesday.