Young helps Irish to title; named MVP

Submitted photo

Princeton grad and current Notre Dame junior Jackie Young was named the MVP of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament over the weekend.

Jackie Young earned yet another honor Sunday after impacting Notre Dame basketball women to their fifth Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship in six years.

On the three-year anniversary of being named the Naismith National Girls High School Player of the Year as a Princeton Community senior, the 6-foot junior guard was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after the nationally No. 4-ranked Lady irish beat No. 3 Louisville 99-79 in the tournament final in the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum.

Having repeated an 82-68 January 10 win in South Bend, and avening a loss to Louisville in the 2018 ACC tourney final, Coach Muffet McGraw's Lady Irish will host the NCAA tourney's first two rounds.

The Notre Dame women's basketball schedule page lists the first round date as Fri., March 22.

The 16 teams standing after the first two rounds will enter regional play, -- one regional will be played in Chicago.

"This was a huge win for us. It probably gets us to Chicago, which was one of our goals," McGraw is quoted on the web page, a year after the Lady Irish were assigned to Spokane, Wash., for regional play before becoming national champions in Columbus, Ohio.

Young's ACC Tournament MVP Award, voted to her despite 6-4 senior center Jessica Shepard's 30 points and 13 rebounds in the finale, capped her team's three-wins-in-three-days run that began when she produced 19 points, a game-high nine assists and seven rebounds in Friday's 95-55 quarterfinal win over North Carolina.

This little over a month after an ankle sprain in practice forced her to sit out a 78-73 loss to the Lady Tar Heels in Chapel, Hill, N.C.

Saturday, when the No. 1-seeded Lady Irish beat No. 5-seeded Syracuse 91-66 in the semifinals, the leader of Princeton's 2015 Class 3A state champions produced 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Her 18 points and 13 boards were game-highs, her five assists a team-high.

Sunday, when she shot 9-for-18 from the field, all from two-point range, and 3-for-4 on free throws, Young achieved her 10th double-double of the season -- good for a Notre Dame season record.

The 15th double-double of her college career moved her within two of the Notre Dame guard record by Lindsay Schrader, according to the web page game recap..

The web page game reported that Young and Shepard on Sunday achieved the Lady Irish's first 30-or-more-points and 10-or-more double-doubles in a game

See Young/Page B2

since last March 30, when Miss Young did so in the NCAA Final Four semifinal overtime win over Connecticut.

Shepard also dished four assists Sunday.

Six-three senior Brianna Turner authored 20 points and seven rebounds, 5-8 senior Arike Ogunbowale 12 points and six rebounds, 5-11 senior Marina Mabrey 12 points and a game-high seven assists. Thus all five Notre Dame starters in double-figures.

Shepard joined Young on the All-ACC Tournament First Team, which also included Louisville's Asia Durr, Syracuse's Tiana Mangakahia and North Carolina State's Elissa Cunane. Ogunbowale, top career scorer in Notre Dame history, is on the Second Team.

Louisville, which became ACC regular-season co-champion by matching Notre Dame's 14-2 record, but was the tourney No. 2 seed due to its January 10 loss in South Bend, fell to a 29-3 season long despite Bianca Dunham's 18 points, Jazmine Jones' 17 and Durrf's 16.

The Lady Irish scored 72 points in the paint, a season-high as reported on the Notre Dame web page, and outboarded the Lady Cardinals 44-25.

Young, whose 3,268 Princeton points remain the Indiana high school career record for both genders, raised her three-year Notre Dame total to1,265.

Her 474 this season, a 14.8 average compared to 14.4 a year ago, have come on 180-for-325 (55.4 percent) field shooting including 11-for-27 (42.7 percent) on threes, plus 103-for-133 (77.4 percent) free throwing. She is averaging 7.3 rebounds, third on the team to Shepard's 9.9 and Turner's 7.5, and a team-best 5.25 assists per game. She also has made 42 steals and 12 shot-blocks, and her 168 assists have come around 64 turnovers while playing 31.8 minutes per game.

The NCAA Final Four will be played on April's first full weekend in Tampa, Fla.A Lady Irish repeat championship would mark their third NCAA title, all under McGraw.

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