KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The top-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish did Thursday night what they have been doing to everybody during their 12-game winning streak, and the Tennessee Lady Vols did what they have never done since before the late Pat Summitt launched her Hall of Fame career on Rocky Top.
The Irish, after trailing by three points at the half, spurted past the reeling Lady Vols behind the hot shooting of senior guard Arike Ogunbowale for a 77-62 victory in a once festive Thompson-Boling Arena that was anything but festive by game's end.
Tennessee (12-7) lost for the sixth straight time, which hasn't happened since the Lady Vols started 0-6 in 1970, which was before the Summitt era. It was also Tennessee's fourth straight loss at home, and the Lady Vols are now suddenly in danger of not even making the NCAA tournament after 37 straight appearances.
Just like it has done ever since its 89-71 loss to UConn on Dec. 2, Notre Dame (19-1) was too explosive for Tennessee to keep up. Ogunbowale, after shooting just 2-of-8 from the field in the first half, poured in 16 points in the third quarter to trigger a 19-2 second-half run for the Irish, who have won all 12 games during their winning streak by at least 14 points.
Ogunbowale, the hero of last season's national championship game, finished with 28 points. Junior guard Jackie Young posted the seventh triple-double in Notre Dame history with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.