Dec. 30, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP)– Madison Cable came up big late for No. 3 Notre Dame, helping her coach draw closer to another milestone.
Already a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and a prime candidate for induction into this year’s class for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Muffet McGraw recorded her 799th career victory Wednesday night as the Irish held off a late Georgia Tech comeback in an 85-76 win.
Brianna Turner led Notre Dame with 20 points, and Cable knocked down a pair of 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter after the Yellow Jackets cut a big Irish lead to 8.
”She’s made so many big shots for us at critical times,” McGraw said of Cable, who scored 13 of her 19 in the second half. ”We looked to find her.”
McGraw deflected talk of nearing win number 800 afterward.
”Every one is important,” McGraw said. ”Now we’re in conference, so every game has got to have a business-like approach.
”Every game is going to be a battle.”
This one was turning into a blowout before it became a battle down the stretch. With the Irish (12-1, 1-0 ACC) up by 10, Michaela Mabrey hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the second half, and Cable made a 3 a minute later. Cable’s shot was part of a 12-2 Irish burst that pushed their lead to 22 just over 5 minutes into the second half.
But the Yellow Jackets (10-4, 0-1) got consecutive 3-pointers from Cryor and Whiteside, part of a 10-2 spurt to start the fourth quarter that cut the Irish’s lead to 11.
Cable responded with a corner 3-pointer in front of the Irish bench, but Cryor followed with three straight layups to cut it to 8 with 3:44 to play.
Again, Cable knocked down a 3 in front of the Irish bench, and Lindsay Allen’s desperation leaner at the shot clock buzzer with 2:22 left got the lead back to double digits.
”They’ve got three A-plus level 3-point shooters,” said Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph. ”That’s really tough to defend.”
Ciani Cryor led Georgia Tech with 19 points, and Roddreka Rogers added 17. The Yellow Jackets had won five straight.
Georgia Tech led by a point after the first quarter, but turned the ball over seven times in the next 10 minutes. The Irish took advantage with a 12-1 run and Ogunbowale’s 3-pointer with 5:14 left in the half gave the Irish a 10-point advantage.
”We battled for about 22 minutes but you have to battle for 40 minutes,” Joseph said.
Following a shoulder injury that held her out for six contests, Turner had her best offensive showing in the three games since her return, going 6-for-9 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free throw line.
”I felt great tonight,” Turner said. ”I was just trying to concentrate tonight on putting the ball in the basket.”
Notre Dame: Now in their third season in the ACC, the Irish improved to 39-1 against the league, including postseason play.
Notre Dame: At Pittsburgh on Sunday.