SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Arike Ogunbowale provided the offense and her Notre Dame teammates provided the defense as the Fighting Irish played as the No. 1 team for the first time in 15 years and looked the part in a 107-47 victory over Central Michigan in the first round of the Preseason WNIT on Friday night.
Ogunbowale scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-13 shooting, including making all five 3-point attempts.
"I think Arike was in a zone tonight -- not on defense -- but offensively it was definitely an outstanding game, especially from the 3-point line," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.
Ogunbowale, who made only 18 3-pointers as a freshman last season, said she had focused on improving her shot from the outside.
"Freshman year they sagged off on me a lot so I knew this year they would probably start it. So now they have to play me fair," she said. "They have to guard me on the 3 and guard me driving so it's harder for them."
Central coach Sue Guevara said she was surprised by Ogunbowale's outside shooting.
"She's really worked on the 3-ball. Because we know that's she's a Mack truck that can get to the basket and pull up. But boy, hitting that 3," she said.
The Irish scored the first 15 points, hitting 6-of-7 shots while the Chippewas were 0-of-4 with two turnovers and no rebounds. The Irish made 76 percent of their shots in the first quarter to open a 35-9 lead. They extended the lead to 56-20 at halftime and 81-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Marina Mabrey, who came off the bench because McGraw said she lacked focus before the game, added 17 points for the Irish and Lindsay Allen had 13 points and eight assists. The Irish outscored the Chippewas 46-16 inside and Notre Dame's reserves outscored Central's bench 39-17.
Aleah Swary led Central with a career-high 15 points.
Central Michigan: The Chippewas were overmatched in their first game against a top-ranked team even though league coaches picked them to win the Mid-American Conference with four returning starters from last year's team that finished 22-11.
Notre Dame: The Irish, who won by an average of 29 points against non-conference opponents during the regular season last year, had little trouble in winning their 21st straight season-opener.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: The Irish should be able to hang onto their top ranking following a dominant performance.
TIP-INS: Notre Dame had 13 made baskets in the first quarter. The Chippewas had 13 shot attempts. ... Central missed its first five free throws. ... Chippewas starter Jewel Cotton had two fouls in the first three minutes and another starter, Presley Hudson, had two in less than five minutes. The Chippewas dropped to 1-5 all-time against the Irish, with the lone 72-69 win coming 33 years ago.
SHE SAID IT:
"We couldn't do anything. They're bigger, they're more physical, they outweigh us," Guevara said. "Their guard play was way too much for us. Way too much."
The Irish were without standout freshman Jackie Young, who is out indefinitely with an injured right thumb sustained last week in an exhibition game.
Central Michigan: Central has to wait to see who it will face in the second round. The Chippewas will play their home-opener against Oakland on Nov. 22.
Notre Dame: The Irish will play another three games at home in the tournament if they keep winning, starting with Fordham on Monday.