ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The (RV) Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (4-2) earned a hard fought 76-72 road win at No. 21 Michigan (4-1) on Saturday afternoon, as the Fighting Irish earned their first ranked victory on the season. Destinee Walker exploded with a season-high 27 points, tying her career high of made three-points with a 5-for-8 day from beyond the arc.
The Irish trailed by as much as 11 points in the second quarter, before rallying in the fourth, outscoring the Wolverines 19-11 over the final period.
Sam Brunelle scored nine of her 12 total points in the fourth quarter to tally her sixth straight game in double-figures. Furthermore, the Irish received double-digit scoring performances from both Katlyn Gilbert (12 points) and Anaya Peoples (13 points).
“I think it gives us great confidence to be able to come in here and beat a ranked team on the road,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw said. “I thought falling out of the poll was a good thing for us. You have to earn what you get and this team hadn’t earned anything yet. It was tough losing games at home, but we are learning. I was so pleased with their poise down the stretch and our defense.”
Winning inside the Crisler Center has been no easy feat for Michigan opponents dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season. In fact, the victory marked the sixth win by an opposing squad inside the Crisler Center in the past 61 games, with Notre Dame and Michigan State as the only two squads to have won twice in that span.
How It Happened
Walker connected on a pair of early three’s to pace the Irish against the Michigan offense, as the two sides were square at 12-all five minutes in. However, the Wolverines made four of their last five shots of the quarter, two of which were three’s, to claim a 25-19 advantage after one.
Later in the second, Michigan produced a 6-0 run to garner its largest lead of the game at 33-22 at the 6:25 mark. Yet, the Irish immediately countered with a 6-0 run of their own, which then led to a stretch in which Notre Dame connected on seven straight field goals, pulling within 39-36 at 3:06.
Later down 41-36 with just under three minutes till the half, the Irish outscored the Wolverines 7-3 the rest of the way, ultimately 24-19 for the period. Walker notched five points in that stretch, including a pull-up jumper at the buzzer.
The Irish also recorded their best shooting percentage quarter of the season, knocking down 11-of-17 from the field (64.7 percent), to stay within one at 44-43 at the half.
At 7:03 in the third, Walker beat the buzzer again, hitting her fourth three of the game to push the Irish ahead 47-44. Yet, Michigan immediately recaptured the momentum, posting a 9-0 run over a 1:17 stretch behind three, three-point plays. Walker would keep the Irish within striking distance, scoring nine of the team’s 14 points in the third quarter.
Down four entering the fourth, the tide began to shift in favor of the Irish. In a span of 1:23, Notre Dame fired off a 7-0 run, claiming a 67-63 lead. In fact, Brunelle caught fire, recording a stretch in which she scored nine of the team’s next 11 points.
Up 73-70 with a minute remaining, the Irish defense stood tall as Marta Sniezek notched huge back-to-back defensive boards to help send Gilbert and Walker to the free-throw line to ice the game.
- With the win, Notre Dame extends its overall series lead against Michigan to 13-7, winning four straight against the Wolverines. The Irish also even the record in Ann Arbor to 5-5.
- The victory marked the sixth win by an opposing squad in the Crisler Center in the past 61 games, dating back to the 2015-16 season. In addition, Notre Dame and Michigan State are the only two squads to have won twice in that span.
- Since the 2009-10 season, the Irish are 23-1 against Big Ten opposition.
- Brunelle added on to her program record this afternoon with her sixth straight double-digit scoring effort, supplying 12 points. Brunelle is the first Irish player in program history to start her career with six double-digit scoring games, with the previous record being four.
- The Irish forced 24 turnovers this afternoon and have now forced 93 total over the last four games, logging at least 20 in each. Notre Dame converted the 24 turnovers into 32 points, a season high.
- Gilbert kept her career high double-digit streak rolling with 12 points at Michigan, making it six games in a row.
- Walker secured a season best 27 points and tied her career mark from beyond the arc, converting 5-of-8.
- Sniezek came one steal shy of tying her career high with five this afternoon. Sniezek also scored a season best six points.
- The Irish rallied from 11 down, marking their first double-digit comeback win of the season.
The Irish head south of the border for the Cancun Challenge. Notre Dame will compete in three games over three days, starting on Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, Nov. 28. The Irish will challenge Florida Gulf Coast, South Dakota State and South Florida, in said order.