Irish Drop Back-and-Forth Battle to #16 DePaul, 105-94

Sam Brunelle shines with 31-point performance


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It was an offensive heavyweight battle inside Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday night as the Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (5-7) traded blows with No. 16 DePaul (8-1). However, when the dust settled, it was the Blue Demons who surged late in the fourth quarter to escape with the 105-94 victory. 

Sam Brunelle exploded with a career best 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting. Fellow freshman Anaya Peoples recorded her second straight double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds, which were career highs in both. 

Destinee Walker notched her second 20+ scoring performance on the year with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Katlyn Gilbert tallied her 12th straight double-digit scoring effort with 16 points, while Marta Sniezek came one assist shy of tying her career high mark at Stanford with 12. 

“We struggled to find the three-point shooters. We knew they were going to shoot a lot of them and we just had a lot of breakdowns. I thought the turnovers were what really killed us,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw said.

How It Happened

With Notre Dame trailing 10-4, an Irish surge in defense led to production on the offensive end. The Irish recorded a 10-0 run spanning just over two minutes, in which the defense forced four DePaul turnovers in that span. Notre Dame later fired off a quick 7-0 run to go up 25-16 before finishing the period up 30-24, marking its highest offensive output for a quarter this season. Gilbert led the offensive flurry with 11 points. 

Depaul caught fire from beyond the arc in the second as their first five made shots were all three-pointers. However, the Irish kept pace behind a 10-point quarter from Brunelle and six points from Peoples. The Irish shot 11-of-17 from the field (64.7 percent) for the period, claiming a 53-51 advantage at the half. Brunelle was two points shy of her career high at the half with 17, while Gilbert (14 points) and Peoples (10 points) were in double figures already as well. 

In the third, DePaul rallied with an 8-0 run from 5:19-4:06, capturing the lead at 72-68. Walker took over the offensive mantle for the quarter, scoring 10 of the team’s first 18 points, including a shot-clock buzzer-beating three which ended the Blue Demons’ scoring run. 

Over the last 2:08 of the third, DePaul connected on three treys building a seven-point lead before Peoples beat the buzzer with a layup, cutting the deficit to 81-76 to start the fourth.  

Brunelle started the final quarter with an and-one which ignited a 5-0 run to tie the game at 81-all. However, DePaul immediately retaliated with a 6-1 scoring spurt, forcing a Coach McGraw timeout trailing 87-82 with 7:36 left. 

Out of the timeout, the two true freshmen combined for a 6-2 run to cut the deficit to one before DePaul hit its 15th three of the game, going up 92-88. 

The DePaul three triggered a momentum shift which led to the Blue Demons outscoring the Irish 16-6 for the remainder of the game, claiming the 105-94 victory. DePaul finished with 16 three-pointers on 29 attempts and forced 27 Notre Dame turnovers.  


  • Tonight marked the 46th meeting between the two programs. Notre Dame still leads the series 26-20. 
  • The 199 combined points were the second most all-time in program history. The record remains 201 vs. West Virginia on Jan. 7, 1999. 
  • Brunelle was two points shy of her career high at the half with 17. She ultimately finished with a career high 31 points. 
  • Peoples recorded her second straight double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds – career highs in both categories. 
  • Gilbert kept her career high double-digit streak rolling with 16 points vs. DePaul, making it 12 games in a row. 
  • Sniezek took a charge tonight and has now taken 15 charges on the season.
  • Sniezek dished out a season high 12 assists, one shy of her career best set at Stanford. 
  • Notre Dame recorded its highest offensive quarter output this season in the first, tallying 30 points. The Irish also posted their highest halftime total with 53 and highest end game total with 94. 
  • Destinee Walker registered her second 20+ scoring effort on the year with 20 points tonight. 

Up Next

The Irish will have 10 days off for finals week before returning to action inside Purcell Pavilion for an exhibition bout with the University of Guelph. Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 21.