NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 2 University of Notre Dame women's basketball team defeated DePaul, 91-82, on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in an historic showing at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Jessica Shepard set the Purcell Pavilion women's scoring record with 39 points, and the Irish (10-1) won their 10th straight against the Blue Demons (7-4) and 13th straight at home.
"We count our blessings during the Christmas season, and Jessica Shepard is No. 1 on the list," Karen and Kevin Keyes Head Women's Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw said. "That was a phenomenal game. To dominate the game inside like she did — that's what we hoped she could do, what we knew she could do. The team did a very good job of looking for her today."
How It Happened
Beginning with the opening tip, Jessica Shepard took control offensively, recording a first quarter season best 12 points in the opening 10 minutes. DePaul, which took 12-of-19 shots from beyond the arc in the period, went on a 3:20 scoreless drought, while Shepard and Marina Mabrey combined for all 19 points in the quarter, wrapping the period in a 19-19 tie.
Kathryn Westbeld sparked the Irish in the second quarter, burying back-to-back baskets at the 6:53 mark, leading Notre Dame on an 8-2 run. Furthermore, Shepard continued her strong play, scoring Notre Dame's final 12 points in the second period, concluding with a then season-high 26 points on a career-high tying 13 made field goals by the midway point. As a result, the Irish took a 41-40 edge into halftime.
"If we could play both ends of the floor, we would be a great team," McGraw said. "That's what we're waiting for. I know we can score; we've got a lot of weapons on offense. We just don't have the commitment to defense right now that we need."
Entering the final period with a 60-58 advantage, Notre Dame opened with an 8-0 run which extended into a 14-2 advantage against the Blue Demons. Katherine Westbeld, who finished with a season high 10 points today, was one-of-six Irish players to score in the fourth, as Notre Dame ultimately tallied 31 points in the period to secure the 91-82 victory over DePaul.
Player of the Game
Jessica Shepard turned in the most dominant performance of her career, recording her fourth double-double of the season on a career-high 39 points with 11 rebounds. The junior also knocked down a career best 17 made field goals on 22 attempts.
Shepard's 39 points set the Purcell Pavilion women's scoring record, breaking Ruth Riley's previous mark of 36 points versus Miami on Feb. 22, 2000.
Overall, Shepard's scoring output ranks fourth all-time for Notre Dame, trailing only Jewell Loyd (41), Ruth Riley (41) and Katryna Gaither (40).