NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame women’s basketball fans witnessed the Fighting Irish (7-12, 2-5) display their most complete game of the season Sunday afternoon inside Purcell Pavilion. The Irish utilized a strong second half performance to roll to a 76-53 victory over the visiting Miami Hurricanes (10-8, 2-5).
Freshman Sam Brunelle shot lights out in the second half, where she scored 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting, ultimately finishing with a game-high 25 points. Destinee Walker joined Brunelle in the 20+ point club by pouring in 21 of her own. Furthermore, the duo went a combined 7-of-10 from three-point range, tying the team high for made three-pointers this season.
Mikki Vaughn recorded 16 points and eight boards. Katlyn Gilbert tallied 10 of her 12 points in the second half to go along with her seven assists. Next, Marta Sniezek logged eight assists and a season-high tying seven boards.
“I was really pleased with the third quarter,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw stated. “We talked about guarding Mykea Gray better in the second half, so we did a better job there. The biggest thing was that shots began to drop. When shots drop, our confidence grows and we play better defensively.
“I thought Sam looked like an All-American in the second half. Destinee made some huge shots. Katlyn ran the floor and made easy baskets. Marta was particularly efficient today with getting everyone in their spots.”
— Notre Dame WBB (@ndwbb) January 19, 2020
How It Happened
Notre Dame started the game 5-for-5 from the field, receiving contributions from four different starters, as the Irish jumped out to an 11-7 lead. On the defensive side, the Irish held Miami to without a field goal from 6:25-1:26 (0-for-8 during said stretch), claiming a 16-12 advantage after the opening period.
Vaughn and Walker contributed six points apiece in the first quarter, as Notre Dame boasted seven assists on seven made baskets.
Next, Brunelle and Walker converted with back-to-back treys in the early minutes of the second quarter, extending the home team’s lead to eight. However, the Irish were limited to one field goal for nearly a seven-minute stretch, allowing the Hurricanes to rally back and claim the lead. Yet, a Walker jumper in the final minute regained the lead for the Irish at the half, up 28-27.
Walker, who started the game 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, was in double figures at the midway point with 13 points.
Later tied at 32-all at 7:58, the Irish seized complete control of the game, ending the quarter on an impressive 20-2 scoring spree. Brunelle and Gilbert both caught fire during the run, tallying 10 and eight points, respectively.
Up 52-36 at the start of the fourth, the Irish didn’t let up. Brunelle knocked down two three’s and scored eight points over the final quarter to bring her game total to 25. In addition, Walker added her fourth three-pointer of the game. Furthermore, Vaughn tallied eight points in the fourth to surge to 16 points for the game.
All-in-all, the Irish recorded their most efficient game of the season with 23 assists on 30 made field goals. Notre Dame shot 50.0 percent (30-of-60) from the field and outrebounded Miami 42-33.
- Today marked the 26th ever meeting between Miami and Notre Dame. With the win, the Irish move to 21-5 overall in the series.
- The Irish boasted seven assists on seven made baskets in the first quarter and ultimately finished with 23 assists on 30 made field goals. The 23 assists were one shy of the team’s season high set against DePaul.
- Sniezek took a charge in the second quarter, marking her 21st on the season.
- Walker logged her team best fifth game with 20+ points and 15th in double figures. Walker poured in 21 points, which included a 4-for-5 day from three.
- The Irish scored 20 straight points in the third quarter, marking their longest run of the season – previous was 17 straight at Fordham. The Irish held Miami scoreless from 7:58-0:03.
- Brunelle and Gilbert combined for 18 of the 20 points in the third quarter run.
- Brunelle recorded her second game with 20+ points this season with 25. Brunelle converted three treys, one shy of her season high. It also marked her 14th game in double figures.
- Brunelle went off in the second half, scoring 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
- Notre Dame tied its second-best shooting performance on the year, converting 50.0 percent of its shots.
- Sniezek tied her season high in rebounds with seven, while also dishing out eight assists.
- Vaughn notched her fourth game in double-figures since returning with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. All four games, Vaughn has scored at least 16 points.
- Gilbert tallied her 16th game in double figures with 12 points, which marks a team best.
The bye week is upon the Irish, as they will have Thursday night off before heading to Virginia on Sunday, Jan. 26. Tip against the Cavaliers is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on ACCNX.