Nov. 11, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Taya Reimer is the first to admit she’s too nice.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw recently said she would like to see a little more meanness from her team, and in particular, from Reimer. McGraw saw a glimpse of what could be for the 6-foot-3 freshman forward Monday night.
Reimer had 19 points and 13 rebounds as No. 6 Notre Dame dominated No. 19 Michigan State on the boards in an 81-62 victory.
Jewell Loyd scored 22 points and added nine rebounds for the Fighting Irish (2-0), who outrebounded the Spartans 52-29.
“I don’t think we’re quite where I want to be yet,” McGraw said of her team’s toughness. “I thought (Reimer and Loyd) played today a little differently. A little bit meaner.”
Notre Dame improved to 28-5 overall – and 9-1 at home – against ranked teams over the past two seasons. The Irish have won 15 of their last 16 games in November, with the only loss coming to No. 1 Baylor in 2011.
Of Reimer’s 13 rebounds, eight came on the offensive glass. Notre Dame had nearly as many offensive rebounds (24) as Michigan State had total, and scored 25 second-chance points.
“Just being physical and trying to be mean, that’s the only way that you can muscle for those rebounds,” Reimer said. “I definitely am too nice. I’m trying to work on it.”
Kayla McBride started just 2 of 10 from the field for Notre Dame but finished with 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Irish led by as many as 22 points in the second half, but Michigan State cut Notre Dame’s lead to 11 three times. The final time, with 7:15 to play, the Irish answered with a 9-0 run highlighted by a layup off an alley-oop pass and a tough basket in the paint by Loyd.
“Jewell, I thought, was the player of the game,” McGraw said. “She made a lot of big things happen for us.”
Five straight points by the Spartans early in the second half got the lead down to 11, but consecutive putbacks by Ariel Braker halted that push.
“We couldn’t find a way to keep them off the boards,” Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said.
Michigan State missed its first 13 3-point attempts before Tori Jankoska hit one, just under 7 minutes into the second half.
The Irish outrebounded MSU 31-16.
Leading by three points at the 14:07 mark of the first half, the Spartans went the next 4 minutes without a field goal, going 0 of 4 from the field with three turnovers. In that span, Notre Dame used an 8-2 run to go up seven points after a 3-pointer by Loyd.
Loyd’s fallaway jumper from the paint with just over 4 minutes left before halftime capped another run, 9-0 this time, which pushed Notre Dame’s lead to 12. Loyd finished the half with 14 points, and Reimer had nine points and nine rebounds, six offensive.
“It’s all about heart and determination to try and get the ball,” Loyd said.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame is now 28-5 (.849) against ranked opponents the last two-plus seasons (since start of 2011-12), including a 9-1 record at home during that time … Notre Dame has a 25-game regular season win streak and 13-game home winning streak, both dating back to last season (73-61 loss to Baylor on Dec. 5, 2012) … the Fighting Irish topped the 50-rebound mark for the second consecutive game (54 vs. UNC Wilmington on Saturday), the first time Notre Dame has posted back-to-back 50-rebound games since Dec. 12 & 22, 2001, when the Fighting Irish did so in home wins over Western Michigan (56 rebounds) and Marquette (54 rebounds) … Notre Dame also improves to 78-14 (.848) in November games since 1995-96, and has won 15 of its last 16 games in the month of November … the Fighting Irish cut the Michigan State lead in the series to 8-7 and even the series at Purcell Pavilion to 4-4 as Notre Dame has won the last three in a row (its longest series winning streak against MSU) … the 19-point margin of the victory over MSU was Notre Dame’s largest against the Spartans since an 84-54 victory in 1999 at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame is now 56-20 (.737) all-time against schools from Michigan, including 36-8 (.818) under head coach Muffet McGraw, and wins in 13 of the last 14 … the Fighting Irish are 47-49 (.490) all-time against the Big Ten, but 26-18 (.591) at home and 40-34 (.541) under McGraw and they have also won eight in a row and 19 of the last 25 against the Big Ten … Notre Dame improves to 42-9 (.824) in back half of one-day or less breaks between games since 2008-09 … the Irish are now 2-0 on Veterans Day, having also bested Akron in 2011 at home, 81-61 … freshman forward Taya Reimer collected her first career-double with (very) early season bests of 19 points and 13 rebounds … Reimer also tied for team-high honors with five assists … sophomore guard Jewell Loyd tallied her third 20-point effort of her career, and first since a career-high 27 points against Tennessee-Martin on March 24, 2013, in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Iowa City, Iowa … Michigan State went 0-for-9 from the three-point line in the first half (eventually missing its first 13 tries before making three of its last four) … the last time the Fighting Irish held an opponent without a three-pointer in the first half was March 26, 2013, in an NCAA Championship second-round win at Iowa, with the Hawkeyes going 0-for-11 from deep to start that night … Notre Dame is 1-0 this year when it wears its white jerseys with lime green trim after going 5-1 last season (as opposed to their postseason lime green and camouflage trim uniforms they wore a year ago).