Dec. 12, 2015
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kathryn Westbeld and No. 3 Notre Dame passed their final test on the court before going back to campus for final exams.
Westbeld had 12 points and 14 rebounds, her double-double leading five Fighting Irish players in double-figure scoring, as Notre Dame beat TCU 88-72 on Saturday in only its second game ever in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
”It’s been a long stretch so far,” Westbeld said. ”Our last game before finals, go out and give it all you have.”
The Irish (9-1), playing their fourth game in 11 days and first against an unranked team, trailed only after the game’s first made free throw. They went ahead to stay with an early and fast 12-0 run in which co-captain Michaela Mabrey assisted on four consecutive baskets in about 2 minutes.
”I was kind of worried when we were warming up, I thought we were very lackadaisical, so I talked to our whole team,” said Mabrey, who had 15 points and eight assists. ”We came out with a lot of energy that we haven’t really had the past couple of games.”
Zahna Medley had 22 points and Veja Hamilton added 14 for TCU (7-3), which had its 12-game home winning streak snapped in its final game at the cramped University Recreation Center.
”When you play in front of a packed crowd, it makes the game so much more exciting,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. ”It was loud.”
Notre Dame shot 55 percent, quickly settling down after freshman Marina Mabrey’s air ball on an attempted 3 just 6 seconds into the game, and had 24 assists on its 33 field goals.
The Lady Frogs played all last season and the start of this season in their temporary home, going 21-4 in the gym that holds just over 1,000 spectators and is across the hall from an indoor pool. Their next game will be in their completely renovated arena across the street.
”This was a really good place for us to be,” second-year TCU coach Raegan Pebley said.
Pebley said TCU is gaining a lot of confidence in its half-court defense. Still, that’s not the real reason the Lady Frogs didn’t play a lot of press against Notre Dame. ”It’s hard to press a five-guard lineup,” she said. The Irish scored 65 first-half points in their last game when DePaul tried to continually press them.
Notre Dame’s only other game in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was a 64-63 loss at SMU on Jan. 15, 1984. The Irish and Horned Frogs had played only once before, a 78-67 home win for Notre Dame 25 years ago Sunday, in McGraw’s fourth season.
Notre Dame: The Irish have won 48 of their last 50 regular-season road games, the losses coming at Connecticut last week and Miami in January, ending their Division I record-tying 30-game road winning streak.
TCU: After shooting a school-record 61.5 percent (32 of 52) from the field in their last game, an 88-55 win over Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday, the Frogs shot 39 percent (25 of 65) on Saturday.
Notre Dame visits Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 21.
TCU hosts Southern Utah on Dec. 20.