NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team (6-5, 4-3) got back on track Thursday afternoon following a 79-72 win over Wake Forest (6-4, 3-3) at Purcell Pavilion. The Irish used a big second quarter to build their lead and never looked back as they got back above .500 in ACC play.
Maddy Westbeld led the way for the Irish in scoring and rebounding in another strong performance from the freshman. She set a career high with 25 points and added a team-high nine rebounds. It is Westbeld’s fourth 20-point game this season.
Mikki Vaughn was dominant on both sides of the court this afternoon, finishing with a season-high 14 points, four rebounds, two steals and a career-high tying four blocks. It marked Vaughn’s third consecutive game in double figures.
In addition, Abby Prohaska stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, five boards and a career high seven assists. Speaking of assists, the Irish dished bout 22 of them, while only committing 11 turnovers.
“I’m extremely proud of my group for finding a way to win,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Head Coach Niele Ivey stated. “A really hard loss last week so after that game, my job was to change the mindset of this group. To see them respond and to find the resiliency, I am extremely proud of that. Some career performances from Westbeld and Vaughn today.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Wake Forest jumped out quickly, scoring seven of the first nine points of the game. The Irish responded with a quick 7-0 run to take their first lead by the media timeout. The Irish kept their advantage thanks to 50 percent shooting (9-for-18) from the floor and held a 19-16 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Irish continued the balanced scoring in the second quarter as all eight players who saw the floor in the first half had scored. Notre Dame expanded its lead in the quarter after holding the Demon Deacons scoreless for over four minutes of play. The Irish lead expanded to 37-25 at the half after a three-pointer from Westbeld fell as the buzzer sounded.
The Demon Deacons battled back in the third, trimming the Irish lead down to six points in the first couple minutes of the quarter. Notre Dame responded by going into the post with Vaughn and Westbeld. Both players reached double figures in scoring by the end of the quarter. The Irish strung together six consecutive field goals during the quarter and held a 57-49 lead heading into the final stanza.
In the final quarter, Notre Dame extended its lead to the largest margin at 67-53 with 7:00 left in the game. Wake Forest made it interesting in the final minutes, trimming the lead down to three but the Irish held on for the win. Mabrey, Peoples and Westbeld all hit timely free throws over the final 69 seconds.
With the victory, Notre Dame has won three straight games at home.
- Notre Dame leads the overall series 9-0, with a 5-0 mark inside Purcell Pavilion.
- Maddy Westbeld earned her ninth game in double figures this season with a career-high 25 points.
- It was Westbeld’s fourth 20-point game this season with three coming against ACC opponents.
- Mikki Vaughn recorded her third-straight game in double figures with 14 points.
- Vaughn tied a career high with four blocks.
- Abby Prohaska set a new career high in assists with seven.
- The Irish continue to show the ability to bounce back, avoiding back-to-back losses this season. In fact, the Irish are averaging over 78 ppg after losses this season.
- The Irish outscored the Deacons 42-28 in the paint.
- Irish also posted a tremendous assist-to-turnover ratio of 22 to 11. They also forced 17 Wake turnovers.
— ND —