SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale scored 15 points each to help top-seed Notre Dame beat Robert Morris 79-49 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
The Irish (31-3), who have won 15 straight, improved to 28-5 in seven tournament appearances as a No. 1 seed, but the 30-point margin of victory was the smallest during those games. The Irish previously had won by at least 31.
It also was the smallest margin of defeat for the Colonials (22-11) in five tournament games. They lost 101-49 to Connecticut last season and 93-42 to Notre Dame in 2014.
The Irish dominated inside, outscoring the Colonials 44-14 in the paint and had a 52-23 rebounding advantage. The Irish also outshot the Colonials 53 percent to 27 percent.
Lindsay Allen repeatedly cut through the Robert Morris defense and finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Brianna Turner had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Irish opened the game on a 10-0 run, the Colonials answered with the next 10 to tie it, then the Irish responded with a 12-0 run. The Irish led 39-25 at halftime and used a 9-2 spurt in the third quarter to extend the lead to 41-31 and an 8-0 run to go ahead 61-36 and were never threatened again.
The 30-point loss was the most lopsided of the season for the Colonials, whose previous largest loss was 81-60 to Iowa in December.
Anna Nikki Stamolamprou, the Northeast Conference player of the year, led the Colonials with 19 points and Megan Smith had 10 points and five rebounds.
Janee Brown, who went to the same elementary school as Allen, didn’t play because of a high ankle sprain sustained against Farleigh Dickinson on Feb. 27.
Robert Morris: The Colonials fell to 0-5 in the NCAA Tournament, but were more competitive than they were in a 101-49 loss to Connecticut last season and in a 93-42 loss to Notre Dame in 2014. Their narrowest NCAA Tournament defeat was 84-52 (32 points) to fourth-seed North Carolina State in 2007.
Notre Dame: The Irish didn’t work up much of a sweat in improving to 7-0 in opening-round games as a No. 1 seed,
Notre Dame: Plays Purdue to try to reach the Sweet 16 for the eighth straight season.
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