BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Jessica Shepard posted 19 points and 12 rebounds, powering No. 6 Notre Dame to a 78-65 win Tuesday night at Western Kentucky.
Shepard transferred to Notre Dame this past summer from Nebraska and was granted an NCAA waiver Nov. 1 for immediate eligibility. She averaged 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds last year as a sophomore at Nebraska.
Arike Ogunbowale and Mikayla Vaughn scored 21 and 17 points apiece Tuesday for the Fighting Irish (2-0), which won in its first road game of the year. Coach Muffet McGraw's Notre Dame squad built a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and held off a WKU team that received votes in this week's AP Top 25.
Tashia Brown scored 25 points for the Lady Toppers (1-2), but was just 6-for-25 from the field.
Notre Dame used a defense-first approach to hold off the upset-minded Lady Toppers. The Fighting Irish held WKU to a 30 percent shooting day from the field, including a 16 percent mark from 3-point range. Notre Dame has held each of its first two opponents to 65 points.
Western Kentucky is a program that's been to NCAA Tournament three of the past four years and has played power conference teams tough — most recently when the Lady Toppers took down then-No. 16 Missouri last week. WKU stayed within striking distance Tuesday, but had no answer for Notre Dame's size, as evidenced by a 50-32 Irish points-in-the-paint advantage.
Notre Dame: will head west Sunday for a battle at No. 17 Oregon State.
Western Kentucky: will play its fourth straight opponent from a major conference to open the season, traveling Friday to Indiana.