CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – It was not the homecoming Notre Dame freshman forward Sam Brunelle had in mind on Sunday as the Fighting Irish women’s basketball team (7-13, 2-6) dropped a 90-60 contest to the University of Virginia (8-12, 3-6). The Irish shot 32.1 percent from the field compared to Virginia’s 47.2 percent, as the Cavaliers attempted 16 more shots.
“I thought Virginia played really well. They made a ton of shots and credit our defense to that. We gave them a lot of easy looks and they took advantage of it,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw stated. “We looked like a young team today.”
Brunelle led the way with 21 points on a career-high tying four made three-pointers. Brunelle also recorded five rebounds, two steals, two assists and three blocks. It marked the freshman’s third 20+ point performance.
How It Happened
It was a one-possession game (down 11-9) with 3:46 left in the first, when the Cavaliers fired off a 6-0 run, which was ended by a Brunelle three-pointer. As a result, the Irish trailed 19-12 after the opening period. Notre Dame turned the ball over seven times and went just 3-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Notre Dame found itself in another hole in the second quarter, as the Cavaliers got hot and outscored the Irish 34-17 in the period, shooting 13-of-18 from the field. Brunelle was the lone Irish player in double-digits at the half with 11 points behind two three’s.
The Irish could only muster one field goal in the third as they suffered from an 0-for-17 field goal drought in the quarter. Gilbert joined Brunelle in double figures, reaching 12 points by quarter’s end.
Notre Dame outscored Virginia 23-17 in the fourth, with seven points coming from Walker and eight from Brunelle. Gilbert finished with 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting, while Walker notched 11 points, with six coming from the free-throw line.
- Today marked the 11th ever meeting between Notre Dame and Virginia. With the loss, the Irish move to an 8-3 series lead.
- It was a homecoming for Brunelle, who grew up 15 minutes down the road in Ruckersville, Virginia.
- Ironically, Notre Dame boasted more Virginia natives on its roster than the Cavaliers with both Brunelle and Sniezek.
- Brunelle continued her hot trend from beyond the arc, knocking multiple three-pointers for the sixth straight game. In fact, Brunelle hit a season-high tying four three’s.
- Brunelle recorded her third straight double-digit scoring effort, and 15th on the year, with 21 points today. Brunelle has totaled 62 points in said three-game span.
- Gilbert tallied her team best 17th double-digit scoring effort with 16 points.
- Walker notched her 16th double-digit scoring effort with 11 points.
- Sniezek took her 23rd charge of the season in the fourth quarter. It marked the 13th straight game in which she’s taken a charge.
The Irish return to Purcell Pavilion on Thursday, Jan. 30, for a showdown with No. 5 Louisville. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.