Dec. 19, 2012
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Notre Dame returned from a 10-day layoff and picked up right where it left off.
Kayla McBride scored 16 points to lead four teammates in double figures as the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish cruised to a 100-39 victory over Alabama A&M in the first round of the World Vision Classic on Wednesday.
Notre Dame, off for exams since a 109-70 victory against Utah State on Dec. 8, reached triple digits in consecutive games for the first time in school history.
“I was really pleased with the way we shot the ball,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “We had 10 days off between games, and we didn’t get to shoot on the court here before the game. I thought we’d be rusty, but I thought we looked pretty good. We only made 10 turnovers.
“You look at the layoff, and you think you’re not going to look sharp, but 26 assists and 10 turnovers, those were the most pleasing statistics.”
“It’s funny, because when you’re not allowed to practice, you are allowed to shoot,” McGraw said. “Kayla McBride has done a lot of shooting over the past couple of weeks, and she really has looked good shooting the ball. Madison Cable, the same thing. She has gotten a lot of shots in.”
Jasmine Sanders scored 10 points for Alabama A&M (1-6).
“Their pressure got to us,” Alabama A&M coach Altherias Warmley said. “I thought that Notre Dame played a great 40-minute game. There were parts of the first half where we did well at making our reads and executing and doing some of the things that we wanted to, but at the end, we were worn down. They picked up the pressure in the second half.”
Notre Dame never trailed and was up 45-24 at halftime. McBride led the Fighting Irish with 14 points in the opening half while Natalie Achonwa had seven rebounds and four assists.
“My teammates have faith in me and they find me in open spots,” McBride said. “The 15-foot pull-up is my favorite shot. They know where to find me. They were making great assists, and I was able to make shots.”
In the second half, Holloway led all scorers with 13 points and scored the final basket of the game that gave the Irish their record. Her 15 points were a career best.
Kaila Turner (seven assists and seven steals) and Cable were also big in the backcourt for the Irish, who had 19 steals and committed just 10 turnovers while the Lady Bulldogs had four steals and 29 turnovers. Notre Dame also finished with a 37-9 edge in points off turnovers.
Cable, who scored nine points on three 3s near the midway point of the second half, returned to the lineup this season after missing the 2011-12 campaign due to a foot injury. Cable and Holloway led a Fighting Irish bench that had a 44-16 scoring advantage over the Lady Bulldogs.
“I had some great passes from Whitney and K.T. (Turner), so they did the hard part,” Cable said. “I just had open shots. They just found me.”
Markisha Wright was another Irish bench player with a career best, as she grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds, including 11 in the second half.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame scores 100 points in consecutive games for the first time in school history … the Fighting Irish reach triple digits at a neutral site for just the second time in school history, and first since Nov. 24, 1989 (a 113-35 win over Liberty in the first round of the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando, Fla.) … the 61-point margin of victory is Notre Dame’s largest since Jan. 17, 2012 (a 120-44 win over Pittsburgh at Purcell Pavilion), and its largest at a neutral site since the aforementioned 78-point win over Liberty in 1989 at the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando … Notre Dame held Alabama A&M without a field goal for 11:25 in the second half (from Alyssa Strickland’s tip-in at the 16:04 mark until Ebony Johnson’s jumper with 4:39 left) … the Fighting Irish are 32-4 (.889) in regular-season tournament games (multi-game events) during the past 17 seasons (1996-97 to present) … Notre Dame has won 10 consecutive games against first-time opponents, while improving to 34-3 (.919) against new foes since 2000-01 and 54-7 (.885) against first-time opponents since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96 … the Fighting Irish have topped 100 points in three of their last four games against new opposition and held seven of their last 10 new opponents to less than 50 points; during its current 10-game winning streak against first-time foes, Notre Dame has won by an average score of 95-43 … the Fighting Irish set season bests for fewest turnovers (previous was 11 against Mercer on Nov. 20), offensive rebounds (most since Dec. 28, 2011, when they had 30 against Longwood) and bench points (previous was 36 against Utah State on Dec. 8) … for the second consecutive game, the Fighting Irish had a season-high five players score in double figures, with Notre Dame improving to 58-4 (.935) in the past four seasons when they have at least four double-digit scorers, including an active 28-game winning streak … sophomore guards Madison Cable and Whitney Holloway both scored in double figures for the first time in their careers, meaning nine of the 11 players on this year’s Fighting Irish roster have reached double digits at least once this season, the lone exceptions being senior guard/tri-captain Kaila Turner (who has scored nine points twice) and freshman guard Hannah Huffman (who matched her career high with five points on Wednesday vs. Alabama A&M) … including Huffman, several Notre Dame players set or tied career highs in one or more categories during Wednesday’s game — Holloway, Cable and Huffman did so in points, sophomore forward Markisha Wright in rebounds, junior forward Natalie Achonwa, Cable and Turner in assists, freshman guard Jewell Loyd in blocks, Turner and Holloway in steals, and Cable in field goals made/attempted and three-point field goals made/attempted … Turner’s seven steals are the most by a Notre Dame player in a game since Nov. 11, 2011, when Fraderica Miller had seven thefts in a win over Akron in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at Purcell Pavilion … the Fighting Irish had all 10 players in uniform (freshman guard Michaela Mabrey was out nursing an ankle injury) crack the scoring column for the second time this season, having also done so on Nov. 18 against Massachusetts (Cable missed that game with a sore foot) … Notre Dame has now won 25 consecutive games coming off its final exam break (no games played between finals and Christmas in 1994 and 1997), a streak that dates back to Dec. 21, 1985 (a 73-67 loss to UCLA at Purcell Pavilion) … the Fighting Irish are 3-0 all-time in UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, having also won both games it played in the 2005 Duel in the Desert, also hosted by UNLV … Notre Dame will play Big 12 Conference member Kansas State in its next World Vision Classic game at 6 p.m. (ET)/3 p.m. (PT) Thursday at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas — in addition to the live radio broadcast and live stats of this game that will be available through the links in the schedule on the front page of UND.com, the game will be streamed free and live through UStream on the official Basketball Travelers tournament web site (CLICK HERE to access the live stream).