CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame (4-4, 2-2) will say goodbye to 2020 on a winning note, defeating the University of Miami (4-3, 1-3), 71-60, inside the Watsco Center on Thursday afternoon. The Fighting Irish received double-digit scoring contributions from Maddy Westbeld, Destinee Walker, Dara Mabrey and Sam Brunelle, as the group combined for 62 of the team’s 71 points.
Walker and Mabrey tied for the team lead with 17 points each. Walker scored 12 of her points in the first half while Mabrey took over in the second, where she recorded 12. Walker finished 7-of-8 from the free-throw line to go with her season-high eight rebounds, while Mabrey went 4-of-5 from deep and tied her career high of six assists.
Westbeld did Westbeld things, shooting 7-of-12 from the floor to finish with 15 points and seven rebounds. Lastly, Sam Brunelle dropped 13 points, with 11 coming in the fourth quarter thanks to three triples.
“I’m super proud of my group and proud of this team to come down to Miami and get this win on the road,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Head Coach Niele Ivey stated. “It was a great testament of us bouncing back from our last game. We came back and really worked on our defensive effort and playing better together. Thought we were more disciplined and everyone stepped up when I needed them to.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame found itself in a 13-4 hole after six early turnovers plus a 5-for-7 shooting start from Miami. However, the Irish settled in after a Coach Ivey timeout at the 5:09 mark.
Walker hit back-to-back jumpers to pull within four at 13-9. Then Westbeld drove for a layup at 1:04, before knocking down a trey to give the Irish a 14-13 lead. All-in-all, Notre Dame ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run over the final 4:11.
Westbeld made it seven straight points with a layup to kick off the second, however, Miami immediately countered with a 7-0 run to recapture the lead at 20-16. Yet, six straight points from Walker after a steal and fastbreak layup, resulted in the Irish recapturing the lead at 22-20.
In fact, it was all Team W (Walker and Westbeld) in the first half, as the duo took over, scoring 17 straight points for the Irish from 3:24 in the first to 4:38 in the second.
By half, Walker led with 12 points, followed by seven from Westbeld. Together, they were 8-of-13 from the field. Ultimately, the Irish ended the second quarter on a 15-2 scoring spree, building a 31-22 advantage.
The Hurricanes made their first four shots from the field to open the third on 9-2 scoring run, cutting the gap to one-possession at 33-31. Once again though, the Irish settled in after a Coach Ivey timeout, this time responding with a 7-0 run thanks to Mabrey and Westbeld – pushing both players into double-digit points by 5:44 in the third.
Fast forward to the end of the third where Anaya Peoples got the bench to its feet after hitting a put-back jumper at the buzzer, giving the Irish a 50-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Brunelle and Mabrey then iced the game in the final period, combing for five three-pointers to bring the game to its 71-60 conclusion. Brunelle was simply lights out, totaling 11 points in the quarter on 4-of-5 shooting (3-of-3 from three).
As a team, the Irish outshot the Hurricanes, 45 percent to 34.3 percent, plus outrebounded them 44-38.
- Notre Dame leads the overall series now 22-5, with a 9-3 mark at Miami.
- Westbeld and Walker scored 17 straight points from 3:24 in the first to 4:38 in the second. The duo had 19 of the team’s 31 points at the half.
- Walker had earned 12 of her 17 total points by the half. Today marked her fourth double-digit scoring performance of the season and second straight – plus her 70th overall of her career.
- Walker reeled in a team-high and season-best eight rebounds today.
- Westbeld bounced back from her lone single-digit scoring game with 15 points on Thursday. The freshman shot 7-of-12 from the field.
- Mabrey recorded her fourth game in double figures this season with 17 points against Miami. After sitting with five points at the midway point, Mabrey tallied 12 in the second half.
- Mabrey also tied her career high in assists with six.
- Brunelle netted her third double-digit game this season with 13 points off the bench. Brunelle scored 11 points in the fourth, which included three triples.
- Brunelle has hit a three-pointer in all six games. When going back to the end of last season, the streak extends to 11 games.
- It marked the second straight game the Irish had two players come off the bench and finish in double figures.
- The Irish hit five of its eight triples in the fourth quarter thanks to Brunelle and Mabrey.
Up next, the Irish will look to right a wrong when they get a second chance at Georgia Tech at home. The rematch takes place Sunday, Jan. 3, at 4 p.m. EST, on the ACC Network.
— ND —