Nov. 24, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. – With their top scorers having an off night, Notre Dame got contributions from a host of other players.
Taya Reimer led all scorers with 14 points, followed by Madison Cable and Hannah Huffman with 12, and Michaela Mabrey and Jewell Loyd with 11 in the No. 2 Irish’s 97-43 rout of Harvard on Monday night.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said she was pleased with that distribution since Loyd, averaging 21.3 points per game, hit just two of 14 from the field. Freshman forward Brianna Turner, averaging 19.3 ppg, scored just three points.
“A lot of different people stepped up today and that’s exactly what we needed,” McGraw said. “To see what we can do when two of our leading scorers are having an off night.”
After Notre Dame (5-0) failed to score on its first two possessions, Harvard (2-2) grabbed an early 5-2 lead with a 3 by Erin McDonnell. But the Irish offense quickly heated up, jumping out to a 59-13 lead at the half.
Notre Dame went on a 43-2 first-half run in which Harvard turned the ball over nine times and hit just one of 14 shot attempts, while the Irish sunk 14 of 20 shots from the field.
Harvard shot 17 percent in the first half and 29 percent on the game, while Notre Dame shot 49 percent.
McDonnell led the Crimson with 10 points.
Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith called the 54-point loss “very disappointing but perhaps not unexpected.”
“It was a tall mountain to climb and we have a very young backcourt,” she said. “My backcourt is just really, really young. They were deer in the headlights tonight and you could tell. We couldn’t get the ball to our forwards. That’s just experience, confidence. I walk out of this say, `It was a great experience being here.”
Notre Dame dominated Harvard on the boards, outrebounded them 50-26.
Despite the lopsided halftime margin, Harvard came out aggressively in the second half with a 9-2 run over the first 2:48, with 3’s by Kaitlyn Dinkins and Ali Curtis, and Temi Fagbenle’s three-point play.
Over their 4-0 start against Massachusetts Lowell, Michigan State, Chattanooga and Holy Cross, the Irish have scored more than 100 points twice, enjoying an average margin of victory of 43.
“They’re all doing really good things,” McGraw said. “Brianna has really exceeded our expectations, scoring wise. She’s running the floor so well, she’s rebounding. Mychal Johnson’s a threat from long range. Kathryn Westbeld probably has the most potential. She fits in our offense so well. She’s a good passer and can score in a lot of different ways.”
McGraw said the team’s busy November schedule has been trying at times because it doesn’t leave much time for practice. Mabrey laughed, saying she doesn’t quite agree. “When we start off in October and go for a very long stretch of time, playing against each other kind of gets old at some point,” Mabrey said. “We get really hyped up for games.”
Notre Dame hosts Quinnipiac on Wednesday. Harvard plays Holy Cross on Tuesday at Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavillion.