She eventually walked into the locker room on her own power and came out in the second half unaided and still in uniform, but was unavailable to play.
Turner, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, leads Notre Dame (32-3) in scoring (15.3 points per game), rebounding (7.1) and blocked shots (2.5).
Notre Dame might have had such a conquest Sunday night at the Purcell Pavilion, depending on what Turner's MRI results show on Monday. With 48 seconds left in the half, Turner was wide open under the basket, jumped to catch and buckled to the ground holding her knee.
In overtime, the Irish displayed enough adjustment, motion and mental toughness to score 14 points in the five minutes. "We didn't make some shots down the stretch or we could have won it in regulation". In that period, they shot just 3-of-12 from the field. Over the game's last 5:19?
Mabrey said she was focused on not turning the ball over.
Despite Turner being out for the rest of the game and Westbeld picking up her third foul with 8:05 left in the third period, the Irish still had a 66-55 lead heading into the final 10 minutes. Without her, the Irish couldn't use the ball screen effectively, and they were forced to generate their offense by asking senior guard Lindsay Allen or sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale to beat their defenders one-on-one. And they simply couldn't do it.
Turner scored 10 points as the Irish built a 45-33 lead.
"That's a prayer that got answered for us finally", Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. Because their current plan when she isn't available doesn't look good - without a miraculous turnaround bank shot by Mabrey, which McGraw called a "prayer" after the game, the Irish might not even be getting ready to play Ohio State in Lexington, Kentucky, on Friday.
Sparking the detonation on both ends of the floor were freshmen Young at guard and Erin Boley at forward. With Turner out and her other two forwards in foul trouble, Boley saw just 32 seconds of action in the second half. And this was despite the fact that she keyed the second quarter that gave the Irish the 14-point cushion they needed every bit of, as she scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds in the period. "We like to run the pick and roll but it is not as effective with her on the bench". "Coach was running plays to get me the ball". By that point, Kathryn Westbeld, who returned to the starting lineup for the Irish after sitting out the first round game as a pre-caution, had four points...and two fouls.
So yes, the Irish did "survive and advance", as is the mantra for many teams this time of the year. But there's a lot to be concerned with, especially if Turner is unable to play against a top-10 Ohio State squad Friday. Because the Irish lost last year in the Sweet 16 with her, and it's hard to believe they will win without her this year based on Sunday's performance.
Notre Dame: The Irish, who started the season ranked No. 1, are comfortably where they were expected to be as they advance to the NCAA regional semifinals for the eighth straight season and the 15th time overall. And it better hope that McGraw is able to come up with a game plan better than the one now in place.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.