CANCUN, Mexico – The Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (5-4) ended the Cancun Challenge on a high note, knocking off No. 21 South Florida (5-4), 67-51. As a result, the Fighting Irish pick up their second ranked win on the season.
Anaya Peoples led the Irish in both scoring and rebounding, tallying a near double-double with 18 points and nine boards. She was followed by a 17-point performance from Destinee Walker. Furthermore, Katlyn Gilbert tied her career high of eight rebounds to go along with her 11 points.
Next, Sam Brunelle rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points, while Marta Sniezek notched six points, six boards and five assists.
How It Happened
In the first, the Irish utilized an 11-0 scoring run to go up 13-5. The scoring stretch was kicked off by back-to-back treys from Gilbert and Cosgrove. By the end of the first, all five Irish starters had tallied points, as Notre Dame led 13-9.
The Bulls cut it to one possession in the first minute of the second, but Peoples, Walker and Gilbert combined for a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 19-11. After a Brunelle three-pointer at 3:22, Notre Dame led 24-16, but South Florida deployed back-to-back three-pointers, ultimately recording an 8-0 run to tie the game at 24-all. With one second left in the half, Walker was sent to the free-throw line, where she gave the Irish a 25-24 halftime lead.
Notre Dame spread the wealth in the third quarter, receiving scoring contributions from six different players. Peoples recorded a stretch in which she scored six straight for the Irish, ultimately tallying nine in the quarter. The Irish ended the period with treys from both Walker and Peoples, garnering a 49-37 advantage heading into the fourth. The Irish had their best shooting quarter in the third, converting 9-of-14 from the field.
Walker, Gilbert and Peoples combined for the team’s first 12 points of the fourth, building their largest lead of the game, up 61-42 with 5:30 remaining. The Bulls tried staging a rally, firing off a 9-1 run to cut it to 62-51. Yet, Walker iced the game from the free-throw line, while Peoples tacked on another bucket to bring it to the 67-51 final.
- Notre Dame leads the overall series, 12-2, against USF and have won nine straight against the Bulls.
- The Irish earn their second ranked victory on the season.
- The Irish move to 14-2 in Thanksgiving week tournaments/showcases spanning over the last decade (since 2009-10 season)
- Gilbert kept her career high double-digit streak rolling with 11 points versus South Florida, making it nine games in a row.
- Gilbert also tied her career high of eight rebounds.
- Peoples led the Irish in scoring for the second time this season, pouring in 18 points. She also tied her season high in rebounds with nine.
- Irish scored over half of their points in the paint, tallying 34 for the game.
- Danielle Cosgrove made her second career start, tallying five points, three boards and three assists.
The Irish return stateside to Purcell Pavilion, where they’ll host Minnesota on Wednesday, Dec. 4, as part of the ACC/B1G Challenge. The game will tip at 8 p.m. ET, airing live on the ACC Network.