Feb. 01, 2016
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — No. 3 Notre Dame found itself trailing late in a road game against an angry conference rival with something to prove. The Fighting Irish can win those types of games, too – especially with Madison Cable playing so well.
Cable scored 18 points and Notre Dame beat Duke 68-61 on Monday night for its 14th straight win.
”I think she’s a little bit of an unsung hero because she deflects the praise constantly,” coach Muffet McGraw said. ”She hits big shot after big shot in the game. … She definitely does not get the attention she deserves.”
She certainly wasn’t unsung by Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie, who plainly said Cable ”won the game for them.”
Freshman Arike Ogunbowale added 16 points and Brianna Turner had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (21-1, 9-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their 25th straight game decided either by single digits or in overtime. Each of their previous four ACC road games was decided by at least 10 points.
Notre Dame blew a 13-point lead and trailed by five with under 6 minutes to play before reeling off 13 consecutive points while holding Duke scoreless for 6 1/2 minutes.
McGraw called it ”great confidence for our team to know that we can come in, not play particularly well … and come out with the win.”
Rebecca Greenwell had 16 points to lead Duke (16-7, 5-4). Her twisting, left-handed layup with 7 minutes left put the Blue Devils up 55-50. But they followed that with 10 empty possessions while Notre Dame took over.
Cable hit the Irish’s biggest shot in that stretch, a 3-pointer from the right wing with just under 4 minutes left that put Notre Dame ahead to stay. She added a steal and layup a minute later to make it 61-55.
Freshman Kyra Lambert ended Duke’s drought with a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left, and she pulled the Blue Devils to 65-61 with a three-point play with 27 seconds to play. Turner and Michaela Mabrey then sealed it by going a combined 3 of 6 on free throws after that.
Lindsay Allen had 10 points for the Fighting Irish, who average a Division I-best 42.6 percent shooting from 3-point range but were just 6 of 19.
Azura Stevens finished with 14 points and Lambert had 10 for the Blue Devils, who had a four-game winning streak snapped and were denied their first win over a top-3 opponent since they beat No. 3 Ohio State in 2009. Duke kept this one tight by limiting its turnovers – the Blue Devils average 19 but finished with 12 – and building a 49-42 rebounding edge.
The Fighting Irish improved to 47-1 against ACC teams – in both regular-season and tournament games – since joining the conference for the 2013-14 season. They have won 25 in a row against league opponents since that lone loss came at Miami on Jan. 8, 2015.
Duke now has two unranked basketball teams – men and women – for the first time since December 1986. The women fell out of the poll two weeks ago and on Monday they were joined by the men outside the AP Top 25. ”Polls are what other people think of you,” McCallie said. ”We’re concerned about what we think of ourselves.”
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish improved to 18-1 in North Carolina, including a 10-1 mark in true road games in the state. The only loss came at Duke in 1997.
Duke: The Blue Devils fell to 0-4 against ranked teams this season. This was their first matchup with an ACC team in the Top 25.
Notre Dame hosts N.C. State on Thursday night.
Duke hosts Virginia on Thursday night.