Feb. 19, 2015
Inside The Game: #4 Notre Dame 71, Georgia Tech 61
February 19, 2015 – Atlanta, Georgia (McCamish Pavilion)
It Was Over When: Sophomore guard Lindsay Allen whipped a pass from the right wing to senior guard Madison Cable, who got loose behind the Georgia Tech defense and converted a layup on the left block with 1:37 remaining to give Notre Dame a 67-60 lead. It was the dagger in an 8-1 game-ending run for the Fighting Irish, who led for the vast majority of the second half, but never managed to pull completely clear of the Yellow Jackets until the closing minutes.
Game Ball Goes To: Playing her 100th game in a Notre Dame uniform (and starting for the 99th time), junior guard Jewell Loyd added another bullet point to her ever-expanding resume Thursday night, scoring a game-high 31 points, including 23 in the second half. It was Loyd’s ACC-leading fourth 30-point game of the season and seventh of her career, with both the season and career totals setting Notre Dame program records — Loyd had been one of several players with three 30-point games in a season (most recently last year), while she passed Katryna Gaither (six from 1993-97) on the Fighting Irish career chart. Loyd also picked up her 16th 20-point game of the season, tying for fourth on the Notre Dame single-season list with the most since Ruth Riley’s 16 20-point games in 2000-01.
Unsung Heroes: Two of Notre Dame reserve guards played critical roles in Thursday’s win. Cable narrowly missed her second career double-double, finishing with nine points (4-5 FG) and a game-high (and season high-tying) 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, junior guard Hannah Huffman was a defensive stopper, coming on with 5:29 left in the first half and holding Georgia Tech’s Kaela Davis (who had 11 points on five of 10 shooting at that juncture) without a point (on zero of three shooting) for the remainder of the period, while Notre Dame scored 10 of the final 15 points in the half to close within 34-33 by intermission.
Unofficial Play of the Game: Leading 52-51 with less than nine minutes remaining, Notre Dame got three offensive rebounds on one possession, with freshman forward Kathryn Westbeld collecting Loyd’s miss, and then Cable grabbing Westbeld’s putback attempt and sending the ball back to Allen to recycle the offense. Allen then drove the lane and put up a floater than missed everything, but Cable alertly came flying in along the right baseline, leaped to snare the rebound and while still in mid-air, deftly flipped in a reverse layup from the left side. It was a textbook example of the hustle and blue-collar effort that has made Cable a fan favorite throughout her Fighting Irish career.
Stat Of The Game: Notre Dame picked up its 25th win of the season, the sixth consecutive year the Fighting Irish have reached the 25-win mark. In its first 30 seasons of varsity competition, Notre Dame posted a total of five 25-win seasons, something the Fighting Irish now have done in seven of the past eight years (2007-08 through 2014-15, except 2008-09).
Additional Notes: With Thursday’s win and Miami’s loss at North Carolina State, Notre Dame has clinched a top-four seed and a double-bye for the 2015 ACC Tournament, with the Fighting Irish set to play their first tournament game in the quarterfinal round on Friday, March 6 (time and opponent to be determined) at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina … Notre Dame trailed at halftime for only the fifth time this season (3-2 record; other wins at No. 15/17 Michigan State on Nov. 19 and home vs. Florida State on Jan. 2) … Thursday marked the first time the Fighting Irish had only one player score in double figures since March 8, 2010, when Skylar Diggins had a team-high 10 points in a 59-44 loss at top-ranked Connecticut in the BIG EAST Conference Tournament championship game at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut … Notre Dame has won 44 of its last 45 regular season road games … the Fighting Irish have won 58 of their last 61 games against conference opponents … Notre Dame is 119-28 (.810) in the month of February since the 1995-96 season, including an active 24-game winning streak in February games … the Fighting Irish are 4-0 all-time against Georgia Tech (2-0 on the road, 2-0 at home) … Notre Dame is 8-2 (.800) all-time against Georgia schools, having won its last eight in a row, and the Fighting Irish are 3-1 all-time on the road against teams from the state of Georgia … Turner had three blocked shots, giving her 62 on the season and making her just the fifth player in program history to record 60 blocks in a season (Riley did it four times, Devereaux Peters did so twice, while Shari Matvey and Amanda Barksdale did it once) — Peters had the most recent 60-block season with 78 in 2011-12, while Riley is the last Fighting Irish freshman to hit that mark with 71 in 1997-98.
Up Next For The Fighting Irish: Notre Dame returns home to begin the final week of the 2014-15 Atlantic Coast Conference regular season, playing host to No. 8/7 Louisville at 7 p.m. (ET) Monday at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 as part of its “Big Monday” package (the last of three appearances for the Fighting Irish on Big Monday this season), and it also can be seen on the WatchESPN app. In addition, radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and free of charge worldwide online through the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director