NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Win No. 100 in ACC play will have to wait for the Notre Dame women’s basketball squad, as Georgia Tech (4-1, 2-0) invaded Purcell Pavilion on Sunday and left with a 82-67 victory. The Fighting Irish (2-3, 0-1) received a 21 point effort from freshman Maddy Westbeld, all in the second half, but the Yellow Jackets countered by connecting on 10-of-19 from three-point range.
Westbeld came a rebound shy of her first career double-double for the second time this season. The Ohio native shot 6-of-13 from the field, with a perfect 6-for-6 day from the free-throw line. Dara Mabrey also finished in double figures with 11 points, converting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
“Disappointed with our defensive effort. I felt like the first half showed a little of what I wanted defensively until their 8-0 run to end the half bothered our confidence. Coming out in the second half, we wanted to change things up defensively to throw something at them, but didn’t succeed with that, resulting in them setting the tone of the half,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Head Coach Niele Ivey stated. “I’m trying to figure out rotations and that nucleus still and that was part of the problem today. I know our defensive effort can get better.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Georgia Tech got off to a 6-0 start until the debuting Mikki Vaughn got the Irish on the board at the 8:25 mark. Katlyn Gilbert shone bright in the first, scoring six straight midway through the period to garner a 13-10 lead for the Irish. In fact, the Irish fired off a 10-0 run over a three-minute span, which included back-to-back treys from Mabrey, to capture an 18-15 lead after one.
The Yellow Jackets used the three-ball to keep pace with the Irish in the second, as their first four makes were all from beyond the arc. On the other side, the Irish spread the wealth, getting contributions from Alasia Hayes, Vaughn, Gilbert and Sam Brunelle.
Mabrey’s third trey of the half came with three minutes left in the second, but that would be the last field goal for Notre Dame. The Irish suffered from three offensive fouls on three consecutive possessions, which resulted in Georgia Tech recording an 8-0 run to claim a 35-33 lead at the half. Mabrey and Gilbert each had nine points at the midway point.
The visitors earned some separation in the third quarter, out-scoring the Irish 26-18. Georgia Tech’s Lotta-Maj Lahtinen and Eylia Love combined for 16 of the team’s points. Westbeld kept the Irish within striking distance, pouring in nine for the quarter, including a stretch of six straight.
Westbeld then scored 12 of the team’s 16 fourth quarter points, but every time Notre Dame seemed to get close, Georgia Tech stymied the momentum with a big play. In fact, the Yellow Jackets shot 62.1 percent in the second half compared to Notre Dame’s 38.7 percent.
- Notre Dame suffered its first loss in the overall series, now 13-1, with a 7-1 mark at home.
- Westbeld secured her fifth consecutive game in double figures with 21 points. She is now two games away from tying Sam Brunelle’s freshman record of beginning your Irish career with seven straight.
- For the second straight game, Westbeld recorded double-digit points in the fourth quarter. This time, the freshman tallied 12 in the fourth.
- Mikki Vaughn made her 2020-21 season debut today, tallying seven points, six rebounds and four blocks. The latter ties her career high.
- Brunelle had a solid day on the boards, reeling in eight rebounds to go with her seven points.
Up next, the Irish conclude their five-game homestand with Virginia Tech on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. EST, on the ACC Network.
— ND —