Feb. 14, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) — Miami coach Katie Meier was grateful No. 3 Notre Dame committed 23 turnovers.
”My God, if they didn’t turn it over 23 times they would have had 115 points on us,” she said.
Notre Dame (24-1, 12-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) jumped to a 10-point lead in the first five minutes, led by 20 late in the second quarter and stretched the lead to 36 early in the fourth.
”She’s smart. She’s going to get us into stuff. She’s going to get the right people the ball,” she said. ”I was really surprised we were up that much at halftime without Lindsay in the game.”
Meier admitted she celebrated when Allen picked up her second foul.
”It was huge for our game plan, just huge,” she said. ”I thought that could change the game and they just didn’t blink. They have great mental toughness and tremendous leadership.”
Miami (22-4, 9-4) entered with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s fourth-best scoring defense at 57.2 points a game, holding opponents to 36 percent shooting. The Irish shot 54 percent in handing the Hurricanes their worst loss since losing by 21 to Syracuse two seasons ago.
”Our defense wasn’t as great as it needed to be tonight, but man, Notre Dame,” Meier said.
McGraw conceded the Irish might have had the loss to Miami last season, their only league loss in three seasons in the ACC, on their minds.
”We didn’t really talk about it because we had the chance to avenge that loss in the ACC tournament last year,” she said. ”But just knowing we have a team coming in that’s beaten us before, we wanted to make sure we could set a tone early.”
Notre Dame had little trouble while stretching its ACC win streak to 28 straight since it lost to the Hurricanes.
Marina Mabrey scored 14 points for the Irish, and Allen had 11.
Emese Hof and Jessica Thomas led Miami with 12 points apiece. Adrienne Motley, who had a career-high 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting in the 78-63 win over Notre Dame last season, finished with eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.
”We missed a lot of open shots early and I guess that kind of got to our head,” Motley said.
McGraw believes her team is peaking, saying the Irish are close to being in Final Four form.
”We’re really close right now, the way we’re playing,” she said. ”Being able to score 90 points I think that makes me feel good, because I know we’re capable of that every night.”
Miami: The Hurricanes’ string of holding opponents to 30 or fewer points in the first half ended at five games. The Irish had 30 with 7:05 left in the second quarter. … Miami fell to 0-3 against ranked opponents. … Michele Woods played in her 121st game, tying for 10th in games played for Miami.
Notre Dame: The Irish improved to 7-1 against ranked opponents. … The Irish are 43-1 in ACC play. … It was Notre Dame’s eighth annual ”Pink Zone” game, which raises money for breast cancer research and awareness. Previous events raised more than $850,000. … It was Notre Dame’s second sellout of the season.
Miami is home against Virginia Tech on Feb. 21.
Notre Dame plays at Wake Forest on Thursday.