Irish Ground Rockets in Final Minute with 54-51 Win

Brunelle makes program history with double-digit scoring performance


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The (RV) Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (3-2) gutted out a 54-51 victory over Toledo (1-2) on Wednesday night, rallying from nine in the comeback win. Freshman Sam Brunelle recorded her first career double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Brunelle became the first freshman to start her Irish career with five double-digit scoring games. 

Destinee Walker supplied 12 points and six boards to the Irish cause, while Katlyn Gilbert flirted with a double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, the Irish defense caused four shot-clock violations in the fourth quarter alone to help spur the team to victory, forcing 21 Toledo turnovers in-all.  

“I thought Gilbert did so many great things and came up with some big steals, big rebounds and big plays. I was really pleased. And for Sam to get her first career double-double – one of many. She made some huge shots also, but it was her rebounding which was key. That’s how we won at the end of the game,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw said. “Toledo’s effort was tremendous. They look like a veteran team and forced us into some bad mistakes. We got a lot of work to do, but heading in the right direction.”

How It Happened

Anaya Peoples, Walker and Brunelle all tallied early buckets to jump the Irish out to a 6-2 lead in the opening minutes, but the Rockets regrouped with a 9-0 run to take their first lead. Walker would connect on back-to-back jumpers to pull the Irish within one at 11-10, yet Toledo converted two three-pointers in the final minute to take an 18-10 advantage into the second. 

Fast forward to 1:43 remaining till half and Toledo’s Mali Morgan-Elliot hit a three to give the Rockets their largest lead of the game at 31-22. Next, Gilbert and Peoples connected on back-to-back scores but Toledo ultimately took a 33-26 lead into the half. 

The Irish started the third on a 6-0 run, but Toledo’s fifth trey of the game kept the Rockets ahead 36-32. Midway through the quarter, Brunelle became the first Irish to reach double-digits, thus setting the new program mark for a freshman. 

In fact, Brunelle went on to tally eight points in the period on 4-of-5 shooting, keeping the Irish within one-possession heading into the fourth at 44-41. Brunelle had already achieved her first career double-double as well boasting 15 points and 10 boards at the time. 

Trailing by four (46-42) with 6:45 left in the game, Notre Dame sent its fans to their feet, recording a 7-0 run (four points from Walker) in just over a two-minute stretch – a span which saw the Irish defense force back-to-back shot-clock violations.

With a pair of free-throws, Brunelle extended the run to 9-0 as the Toledo drought lasted four-and-a-half minutes. Later up three with two minutes remaining, Sniezek recorded a clutch steal which Walker converted to points, extending the lead to 54-49. 

Next, Toledo cut the lead to one possession at 54-51 with 38 seconds remaining, but the Irish defense held strong for the three-point victory.  


  • With the win, Notre Dame extends its overall series lead against Toledo to 7-2, with a 4-0 mark at home.
  • Brunelle became the first freshman in program history to start her Irish career with five double-digit scoring games. Brunelle logged 19 points and 13 rebounds – her first career double-double.
  • The Irish forced 21 turnovers tonight and have now forced 69 total over the last three games, logging at least 20 in each.  
  • Gilbert kept her career high double-digit streak rolling with 11 points against Toledo, making it five games in a row. 
  • Walker logged her fourth double-digit scoring effort on the year with 12 points – the 44th of her career.

Up Next

The Irish look to secure their first ranked win on the young season when they travel to Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 23. Tip against the No. 21 ranked Michigan Wolverines is slated for 1 p.m. ET on BTN+.