Feb. 16, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame rode Jewell Loyd’s leadership, smothering defense and clutch 3-point shooting to beat Duke.
The fourth-ranked Irish won their 10th straight game, topping the No. 10 Blue Devils 63-50 on Monday night.
Duke (19-7, 10-3 ACC) came out strong, building a 14-5 lead over the first 5:31. The Blue Devils, who lead the nation in rebounding margin, asserted themselves early on the offensive glass, grabbing the game’s first six rebounds. They outrebounded the Irish 45-37, and Notre Dame (24-2, 11-1) scored well below their season average of 84.9 points.
But Notre Dame eventually heated up from beyond the arc, hitting nine 3’s, nearly double their 5.1-per-game average.
Loyd made four of her eight 3-point attempts, while Duke missed all 12 of its tries.
It was the first time this season that Duke went scoreless from beyond the arc.
”Always time for a first, I guess,” said Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie. ”Horrible. Terrible. They need to smarten up, get the ball inside.”
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw cited Loyd’s defense against Rebecca Greenwell, who’s already set a Duke freshman record with 53 3-pointers this season, as a key to the game. Greenwell entered the game averaging 14.2 points per game but finished with just four points on 2-of-5 shooting.
”I thought her defensive intensity and focus was phenomenal,” McGraw said of Loyd. ”She did not let her touch the ball. She face-guarded her, fought through screens.”
Loyd said she has worked on becoming a more vocal leader this year.
”I’m more passionate,” Loyd said. ”I want it more. When I get out on the floor I just want to have fun. I want to compete every single night. I think I told our team after their first run, that’s it, that’s all they’re getting.”
Reserves Madison Cable and Kathryn Westbeld help put the brakes on that fast Duke start. Cable finished with six rebounds and nine points, including a 3 from the corner as the shot clock expired coming out of a first-half media timeout, giving Notre Dame its first lead of the game at 20-19.
The Irish went on a 14-5 run over the final 10:17 of the first half to take a 34-24 lead into the break. During that stretch, Duke hit just two of nine attempts from the field.
A 6-0 Duke run to start the second half trimmed the lead to 34-30 but an 11-0 Irish spurt over a 4:02 span gave Notre Dame their largest lead at 19 with 11:05 left.
Elizabeth Williams led Duke with 18 points.
Brianna Turner’s game-leading four blocks brought her season total to 59, the most by a Notre Dame freshman since Ruth Riley recorded 71 blocks in 1997-98.
Former Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins was in attendance as well as Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins.
The Irish play at Georgia Tech on Thursday.