SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Bethune-Cookman’s first trip to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament ended with a 92-50 loss to defending national champion Notre Dame, a life-defining experience to cap off an incredulous run and one more 20-point outburst from Angel Golden.
The senior from Tampa, Fla., scored a game-high 25 points, but the Fighting Irish’s height, depth and just about everything else sent Notre Dame to the second round, where it will host Michigan State Monday evening.
Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 points and Jessica Sheppard 22 as the Fighting Irish (31-3) shot 54.5 percent (36-66) from the field and outrebounded the Lady Wildcats (21-11) by a count of 49-28.
Notre Dame’s inside presence limited B-CU to 14 points inside the paint. The Lady Wildcats finished with more 3-pointers — a season-high nine — than two-point shots (seven).
Golden had five of those 3-pointers as she posted her 30th career 20-point night. B-CU had won all but one of the previous 29 games before this.
All nine Lady Wildcats scored in their NCAA tournament debut.
Amaya Scott, a sophomore, had six points and matched her career high of 12 rebounds. Freshman Camary Harris posted five points and five rebounds.
Making her final appearance, senior Chasimmie Brown had six rebounds and made both free throws. Graduate student Kendall Fincher, playing in her home state, also was 2-2 from the line.
B-CU won its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) tournament championship since 1984 with a line-up depleted by five players needing surgery. The Lady Wildcats regrouped to win 12 of their final 14 to win last week’s conference title and a first-ever NCAA appearance.