Dec. 22, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Amazing, outstanding, tremendous, fabulous.
Those are a few of the superlatives Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw tossed out Sunday to describe sophomore guard Jewell Loyd, an emerging star for the Irish.
Loyd scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go with 11 rebounds for No. 4 Notre Dame, which never trailed in a 106-72 blowout of Central Michigan.
“I thought Jewell was amazing, just simply amazing,” McGraw said. “She played just like she practiced (Saturday), and I was really happy to see that, because her effort was tremendous. Her efficiency was outstanding. Just a fabulous game for her.”
Notre Dame (10-0) will likely move up in the polls after No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Tennessee lost earlier in the week. The Irish recorded their 800th win in school history, the 27th Division I program to do so.
Crystal Bradford led Central Michigan with 30 points and 13 rebounds as the Chippewas (4-6) lost to their third top-10 opponent this season.
“Notre Dame is at another level,” said coach Sue Guevara. “They have a lot of weapons.
“They just took it down our throats.”
The Irish scored 32 points off of 25 Chippewa turnovers, getting out in transition throughout the game, with Loyd often leading the way. The 5-foot-10 guard was nearly unstoppable when she got into the paint, as evidenced by an athletic step-back jumper that she was fouled on but still managed to knock down with nine minutes to play.
“You can’t really guard her one-on-one when she gets the ball and a head of steam going down the floor,” McGraw said. “She’s pretty much unstoppable.”
Notre Dame shot a blistering 61.8 percent from the floor, including 57.1 percent from the 3-point arc. The 106 points were a season high for the Irish.
“That was some phenomenal offense going on in that game,” McGraw said.
Central Michigan started out 0 of 7 from 3-point range. The Chippewas were fourth in the country coming in with nearly 10 3-pointers per game, but finished 6 of 24 against the Irish.
Loyd missed only one shot from the field in the first 20 minutes and had 19 points and seven rebounds at halftime. She said she played confidently with her brother in the stands.
“You practice how you play,” Loyd said. “The momentum from yesterday’s practice carried over to the game. You have to stay confident on the floor. You’re going to miss shots, but you just keep shooting.”
Bradford was also impressed by Loyd’s efficiency. Both players scored 30 points, but Bradford needed 13 more shots.
“You see 30 points, but it’s a bad 30, I feel,” Bradford said. “My shot selection wasn’t as efficient as it should have been, definitely.”
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame earns the 800th win in program history, becoming the 27th NCAA Division I women’s basketball program to record 800 all-time wins (currently at 800-316, .717, in 37 seasons of varsity competition) … at 10-0, Notre Dame continues the third-best start to a season in program history, exceeded only by the 2009-10 team (15-0) and the 2000-01 national championship squad (23-0) … the Fighting Irish have won 33 consecutive regular season games and 17 consecutive home games, both dating back to Dec. 5, 2012 (a 73-61 loss to third-ranked Baylor at Purcell Pavilion) … Notre Dame has won 26 consecutive games coming off its final exam break, a run that dates back to 1985 … the Fighting Irish have won 18 consecutive games going into the Christmas break and are 28-9 (.757) all-time in such contests … Notre Dame is 390-90 (.813) all-time at home, including a 67-5 (.931) record since Purcell Pavilion was renovated prior to the 2009-10 season … the Fighting Irish are 4-1 all-time against Central Michigan, including a 2-1 mark at home, and have won the last four meetings with the Chippewas … Notre Dame’s 106 points were the most ever scored against CMU in a regulation game and second-most all-time behind a 113-107 double-overtime win at home over Eastern Michigan on Feb. 20, 2010 … Notre Dame is 38-14 (.730) all-time against current Mid-American Conference teams (23-4, .851) at home, including a 23-5 (.821) mark (14-1, .933 at home) in the 27-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw … Notre Dame jumps to 58-20 (.743) all-time against Michigan schools including a 38-8 (.826) record in the McGraw era … the Fighting Irish have won 15 of their last 16 games against Michigan teams, dating back to the 2005-06 season … Notre Dame scored a season-high 106 points, the ninth-most points in a home game in school history and its highest output at any time since Dec. 31, 2012, when it defeated Saint Francis (Pa.), 128-55 at Purcell Pavilion … the Fighting Irish topped the 100-point mark for the second time this season (100-61 win over Duquesne on Dec. 1 in Toronto) and seventh time in the past three seasons … this marked the sixth time this season Notre Dame has led by at least 20 points at halftime … the Fighting Irish have scored at least 40 points in the first half of eight games this season (and at least 34 in all 10 outings) … Notre Dame matched its season high with 51 first-half points, duplicating its opening 20 minutes against UNC Wilmington in the season opener on Nov. 9 at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame’s 55 second-half points were a season high for any period and most since April 2, 2013, when it tallied 56 points in the second half of an 87-76 win over No. 5 Duke in the NCAA Norfolk Regional final in Norfolk, Va. … Notre Dame has scored 50 or more points in five halves this season, but this is the first time the Fighting Irish scored 50 points in both halves of a game since Dec. 31, 2012, when they topped 60 points in both halves of their 128-55 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame shot better than 55 percent from the field for the third consecutive game (.563 vs. UCLA on Dec. 7, .586 at Michigan on Dec. 14), the first time it’s done that since Nov. 20-29, 1997, when the Fighting Irish did so in wins over North Carolina State (.565), Bowling Green (.558) and Ohio University (.567) … this was the third time this season Notre Dame has shot better than 60 percent from the field in a game (.629 vs. UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9; .609 vs. Duquesne on Dec. 1) … the Fighting Irish dished out 30 assists for the second time this season (31 vs. UCLA on Dec. 7 at Purcell Pavilion) and collected at least 21 assists for the ninth time in 10 games this season (the lone exception being a 17-assist night on Dec. 4 at No. 10/11 Penn State) … Notre Dame had at least four double-figure scorers for the eighth time this season (8-0 record), with the Fighting Irish improving to 83-5 (.943) in the past five seasons when they have at least four players scored in double figures, including wins in 53 of their last 54 such outings (the lone loss coming on April 7, 2013, in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals against Connecticut in New Orleans) … Notre Dame was outrebounded for the first time all season and first time since March 12, 2013, when Connecticut held a slim 36-33 edge on the glass in the 61-59 Fighting Irish win in the BIG EAST Championship final at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. … sophomore guard Jewell Loyd scored a career-high 30 points, topping her previous best of 27 points against Tennessee-Martin on March 24, 2013, in the first round of the NCAA Championship in Iowa City, Iowa … Loyd is the first Fighting Irish player to score 30 points in a game since Jan. 28, 2013, when Skylar Diggins finished with a career-high 33 points in a 77-67 win at ninth-ranked Tennessee … Loyd has scored in double figures in 16 consecutive games, dating back to March 11, 2013 (eight points vs. No. 16/15 Louisville in 83-59 Notre Dame victory in BIG EAST Championship semifinals at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.) … this was Loyd’s fourth 20-point game of the season and sixth of her career … Loyd also tied her season high with 11 rebounds to secure her second double-double of the season and third of her career (she had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the season opener vs. UNC Wilmington on Nov. 9) … Loyd set a new career high with 12 made field goals, topping her previous best of 10 set twice before (most recently eight days ago on Dec. 14 in the 86-64 win at Michigan) … for the second game in a row, Loyd went 7-for-8 from the field in the first half … sophomore guard Michaela Mabrey scored in double figures for the sixth time this season (after having three double-digit games all of last year), and tied her career high with four three-pointers, a mark she set in last weekend’s Michigan victory … Notre Dame drew a season-high 8,775 fans to Sunday’s game, its 39th consecutive contest with at least 8,000 fans … Loyd’s spinning layup with 7:18 remaining pushed the Fighting Irish over the 88-point mark, earning coupons for a free Big Mac for the Purcell Pavilion crowd — it was Notre Dame’s sixth “Big Mac” game of the season, but the first time in Loyd’s career she sank the “Big Mac Basket”, making her the 10th current Fighting Irish player to send the faithful home with full bellies.