NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team began Atlantic Coast Conference play on Sunday, but couldn’t open up with a victory, falling 71-55 to Clemson. The Fighting Irish (5-8, 0-1) were ultimately doomed by a 7-of-31 shooting performance in the first half and couldn’t overcome the deficit, despite outscoring the Tigers (5-8, 1-1) 24-16 in the fourth quarter.
Katlyn Gilbert provided a superb stat line, registering 16 points, six boards and a career high nine assists. Anaya Peoples supplied 14 points and seven boards, while Destinee Walker rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points and five boards.
“Our lack of awareness hurt us again,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw said. “(Kobi) Thornton had a really good second half – tough matchup for us. We couldn’t make a shot and we hung our heads. Instead of saying we could get a rebound or defend or get an assist, we just hung our heads and that’s unacceptable.”
How It Happened
It was a low scoring first quarter as the Tigers edged the Irish, 12-11. Notre Dame started the game 3-of-4 from the field, but ended the period 4-of-17. Peoples was active on the boards, collecting six rebounds over the opening 10 minutes.
Clemson scored the first six points of the second quarter, jumping out to an 18-11 lead, which forced a Notre Dame timeout at the 8:29 mark. The Tigers then used the momentum to garner a 35-17 advantage at the half, limiting the Irish to 3-of-14 shooting for the period.
Clemson’s Kendall Spray haunted the Irish from the beyond the arc this afternoon, tying the Purcell Pavilion record for made three-pointers with eight. Spray was 5-of-7 from three at the half and finished 8-of-14, tallying a season high 24 points. Behind Spray and Kobi Thornton’s 23-point effort, Clemson built a 28-point lead, up 53-25, with 3:34 left in the third.
However, the Irish continued to fight back, ending the third on a 6-2 scoring spree. Notre Dame then scored the first eight points of the fourth and outscored Clemson 15-4 over a 4.5 minute stretch to cut the deficit to just 13 points (59-46) with 5:33 remaining. Yet, Clemson was able to stymie the momentum, stalling the comeback there to hold on for the 71-55 win.
- Irish drop their first contest to Clemson in the all-time series, as they now lead the Tigers, 6-1.
- Notre Dame’s streak of 58 consecutive conference games won at home came to an end today. The streak dates back to Notre Dame’s Big East days in 2012.
- Mikki Vaughn played in her first game since hurting her knee in the season opener. Vaughn provided eight points, four steals and two boards.
- Peoples notched double-digit points for the 10th time this season, tallying 14.
- Gilbert has totaled double-digit points in all 13 games this season. The sophomore scored a team high 16 points.
- Gilbert dished out a career high 9 assists.
- Walker rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 today, her 10th on the season as well.
The Irish hit the road in the new year for a January 2 showdown at Pittsburgh. Tip is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ACCNX.