Feb. 27, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) — Madison Cable had 20 points and five steals Saturday to lead No. 2 Notre Dame to its third straight regular-season ACC title with a 70-58 win over Boston College.
The Irish finished off an undefeated conference season by beating Boston College behind Cable’s steady shot and leadership.
”I’m just glad we won … I don’t think it’s just one person, so that’s why I like to deflect anything that comes to me,” Cable said. ”We completed our first goal, now it’s time to move on to the next thing.”
Cable wasn’t in the mood to expound on her game, but her coach was.
”She’s the heart and soul of our team,” said Irish coach Muffet McGraw. ”The most competitive, the hardest worker. She just gives it all for the team, every single day.
”Every time we absolutely had to get a basket (this season), she was the one.”
Brianna Turner finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for the Irish (28-1, 16-0 ACC), who have now won 21 straight games. They also extended a streak of five straight conference titles, dating back to their time in the Big East, and improved to 54-1 in the ACC since joining the league in 2013, including postseason play.
”It’s been amazing, the run that we’ve had,” McGraw said. ”No matter who graduates, we can keep our tradition going.”
The Notre Dame senior class of Hannah Huffman, Michaela Mabrey and Madison Cable (pictured with their coaches during a pregame Senior Day ceremony) has led the Fighting Irish to a 136-7 (.951) record in its four-year run, including four outright regular-season conference titles (the last three in ACC).
The Irish will have a double bye in next week’s ACC tournament, which they’ll try to win for the third straight season, as well.
Kelly Hughes scored 16 points to lead Boston College (14-15, 2-14 ACC), which has lost four straight and 10 of its last 11 games to close out the regular season.
Arike Ogunbowale added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Irish, who beat the Eagles for the second time this season. They also won at BC, 63-50 on Jan. 14.
This one wasn’t as close until late in the contest. Notre Dame hit 10 of its first 11 shots to open the game and had a double-digit lead less than three minutes in.
”You can’t spot a team at this level a 10 or 12-point lead right at the beginning,” said Boston College coach Erik Johnson. ”They’ve got weapons all over the place.”
One of three seniors for the Irish, Cable had 11 points and four steals in the first half, as Notre Dame’s defense smothered Boston College in the early going.
On offense, Notre Dame shot a blistering 73 percent (16 of 22) from the field in the first 20 minutes and took a 42-24 lead into halftime.
A 13-3 run in the third quarter pushed Notre Dame’s lead up to 22 points.
The one negative for the Irish was a letup in the fourth quarter that allowed Boston College to creep back within 12 points in the final minute. That marked the second straight game the Irish saw a big advantage trimmed down late in an otherwise comfortable victory.
”We got off to a great start,” McGraw said. ”I wish the second half had been as good. It would have been nice to finish a bit better.”
Notre Dame: The only other ACC team to lose just one game over a three-year span was Duke from 2002-04.
Boston College: The Eagles closed the regular season against the ACC’s top three teams (Louisville, Syracuse and Notre Dame), all nationally-ranked opponents.
Notre Dame: ACC quarterfinal play at 2 p.m. on March 4.
Boston College: ACC tournament first round against TBD on March 2.