Nov. 30, 2014
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – After cruising through its first seven games, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw knows that the competition is about to get a little tougher.
With games looming against No. 10 Maryland on Wednesday and third-ranked UConn on Saturday, the Irish will be challenged. So far this season, No. 2 Notre Dame hasn’t been tested much.
The Irish have now won its first seven contests by an average of nearly 47 points a game.
“A lot of people have been contributing so far, which is great,” McGraw said. “We know Wednesday is going to be different. That’s the most important game right now.”
Notre Dame (7-0) got off to a slow start against Kansas. The Irish only led 22-17 with 8:34 left in the first half before going on a 20-4 run to close it. Mabrey got the burst started with a 3-pointer from the wing. Her second 3-pointer during the burst made it 32-21. Lindsay Allen also hit a 3 and had five points in the run.
“Once they got going in transition it led to easy baskets,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “They create chaos on defense with their length, and it’s tough to match.”
The Irish led 42-21 at the half.
Things didn’t get much better for Kansas (5-2) in the second half as the Irish pulled away. McGraw started emptying the bench before the midway point of the second half with her team up 40.
Before leaving the game, Loyd caught a gorgeous alley-oop pass for a lay-up from Allen. She almost had another one off a half-court pass from Allen, but missed the shot.
“That was an easy one I should have had,” said Loyd, smiling.
Notre Dame: Before Sunday’s contest, the Irish had played a stretch of five games in seven days. Notre Dame hadn’t had a schedule like that since 1979-80 when the Irish played five games in six days, including two in one day.
“Well the players certainly like that schedule, but as a coach I know we need a little more practice,” McGraw said.
Kansas: This was only the second meeting between the schools. The Jayhawks lost the other meeting in the regional semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
NEXT YEAR’S FIELD:
North Carolina headlines the tournament next year. Joining the Tar Heels will be Gonzaga, Southern California, West Virginia, Yale, Iona, Fairleigh Dickinson and Grand Canyon.
Notre Dame: Plays Maryland on Wednesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The men’s team is playing at home that night, so the arena wasn’t available.
Kansas: Hosts Incarnate Word on Thursday before playing No. 14 Cal on Sunday.