Jan. 24, 2016
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Brianna Turner and No. 3 Notre Dame took a while to figure out a winning formula. When they did, the rest was easy.
Turner scored 18 points from the post and the Irish shook off a slow start to beat Virginia Tech 80-41 Sunday.
Three days after getting plenty of outside scoring in beating Syracuse at home, the Irish moved inside against the Hokies.
”We had to score in different ways,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.
After starting out 2 of 11, the Irish made 12 of 16 shots and started pulling away. Virginia Tech made only 4 of 25 shots in the first half.
The Irish led 11-7 after the first quarter, then began the second period on a 10-0 run. They led 31-11 at the break.
”I thought we started the game looking little fatigued with our third game of the week,” McGraw said. ”We just couldn’t get the energy (in the early part of the game). The bench was really key.”
Sidney Cook scored 21 points and Vanessa Panousis 10 for the Hokies (14-5, 2-4). An injury also kept regular Regan Magarity out of the lineup.
McGraw credited Mychal Johnson with playing a complete game, shining on defense and also scoring nine points in 20 minutes.
”She’s capable of that,” McGraw said. ”I’d like to see her shoot the ball more.”
The home-floor energy also helped the Irish pull away.
”I want us to have the persona. I want us to have that swagger,” McGraw said. ”Our crowd definitely helps that. Those people are loud and it can be an intimidating place to play.”
Notre Dame finished the game by shooting 29 of 55 (52 percent). Virginia Tech made just 15 of 55 (27 percent).
”I was really happy with the defense, which doesn’t happen often,” McGraw said. ”We did a lot of good things defensively – we talked, we communicated and was really worked. They were intense and did a great job of knowing who the shooters were.”
Hokies coach Dennis Wolff praised the Irish.
”It was a tough afternoon for us,” he said. ”As we all know, that’s one of the best teams in the country.”
”In order for us to be able to hang in the game with a team like that, we need to be able to be way more efficient on the offensive end.”
Cook scored 15 points in the second half.
”I feel that every game I just do my best and try to play my hardest,” Cook said. ”My shots just fell today and my teammates kept giving me the ball. I’m just always trying my best.”
Virginia Tech: The Hokies are now 1-8 all-time against Notre Dame.
Notre Dame: Lindsay Allen tied a school record for consecutive starts at 97 … The Irish are now 400-91 all-time in conference play, covering the program’s membership in the North Star, Midwestern Collegiate, Big East and Atlantic Coast Conferences.
Virginia Tech: Host Miami on Thursday.
Notre Dame: Visit Georgia Tech on Thursday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies came in leading the ACC in scoring defense at 48 points per game. Notre Dame surpassed that total by the end of the third quarter.