March 06, 2015
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – No. 2 Notre Dame hasn’t had many scores to settle in its short time in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Just this one.
The top-seeded Fighting Irish avenged their only ACC loss in two years Friday by beating Miami 77-61 in an ACC quarterfinal.
”Any time you lose a game,” coach Muffet McGraw said, ”that’s the team you want to play again.”
ACC player of the year Jewell Loyd scored 16 points, and league freshman of the year Brianna Turner had 13 points and 10 rebounds to help the Irish (29-2) win their 15th straight game. Taya Reimer and Madison Cable each scored 13 points.
The defending league tournament champions held on after a late 15-4 run to advance to the semifinals. The Irish will face 16th-ranked and fourth-seeded Duke (21-9) on Saturday.
Jessica Thomas scored a career-high 24 points and Jassany Williams had 16 for the eighth-seeded Hurricanes (19-12).
Adrienne Motley, who averages nearly 17 points, finished with just five on 2-of-8 shooting with Loyd guarding her when Notre Dame wasn’t playing zone defense.
Kathryn Westbeld had 10 points for the Irish, who held the Hurricanes to 1 of 10 shooting over 6 1/2 minutes down the stretch to improve to 5-0 in ACC tournament games.
”I thought that might have been where we could have made our little run,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. ”If you’re going to beat Notre Dame, you’ve got to make those plays. … They’re like gold when you get them.”
Led by Loyd and Turner, they haven’t lost since Miami handed them their only ACC setback on Jan. 8.
In that 78-63 loss in Coral Gables, Motley scored a career-high 32 and Williams blocked nine shots.
”Miami’s a great team, but we definitely wanted to get them back,” said Reimer, who didn’t play in the teams’ first meeting.
Miami threatened to make it 2 for 2 after cutting it to 48-43 on Thomas’ drive with 13 1/2 minutes left.
Lindsay Allen converted a three-point play to start the decisive run, and Cable made a key 3 before Turner converted a three-point play to give Notre Dame its largest lead, 63-47, with 9:05 remaining.
The final score could have really been lopsided, had Notre Dame’s shooting not gone cold at roughly the same time Miami’s did. After Turner’s three-point play, the Irish missed seven straight shots over a 6 1/2-minute period. The Hurricanes couldn’t take advantage, and never drew closer than 10 during that stretch.
Miami: The Hurricanes were denied just their second semifinal berth since joining the ACC 10 years ago.
Notre Dame: The Irish have the top seed in a conference tournament for the fourth straight year. They also were the No. 1 seeds in the Big East tournaments in 2012 and `13.
Notre Dame: Plays No. 16 Duke on Saturday in an ACC tournament semifinal.