Jan. 7, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Brianna Turner said she was looking forward to playing Virginia because the Cavaliers are ”a great team.”
Virginia also is a team that, in two meetings, has allowed No. 3 Notre Dame’s 6-foot-3 sophomore to show how good she can be.
Turner had 19 points and nine rebounds and the Fighting Irish pulled away from Virginia early in a 74-46 victory Thursday night.
”I think our guards just did a really great job of getting the ball high to me because I can get pretty high when they lob it in to me,” Turner said after making 7 of 9 shots, almost exclusively from in close. She also had two blocks and watched most of the fourth quarter.
A year ago, Turner had 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 75-54 victory for the Fighting Irish against the Cavaliers.
Marina Mabrey added 15 points and fellow freshman Arike Ogunbowale had 13 to help the Fighting Irish (14-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their seventh in a row, and they did it in dominating fashion against the smaller Cavaliers. Notre Dame enjoyed a 38-4 advantage on points in the paint, and 18-2 edge on second-chance points and outrebounded Virginia 45-28 with 14 offensive rebounds.
”They throw those lob passes to her and is she gets a clean look at it, we can’t jump up there with her,” Breyana Mason said.
Mikayla Venson scored 17 points to lead Virginia (11-5, 1-1) and was the only one of the Cavaliers’ scorers to have a decent night. No. 2 scorer Faith Randolph (13.9 ppg) scored just four on 2 for 11 shooting, No. 3 Lauren Moses (11.2) had just six on 2 for 12 from the field.
The Cavaliers shot just 30 percent (16 of 54) overall.
The Fighting Irish took control with a 20-8 run that started with the last basket of the first quarter and extended to halftime. Mabrey hit two 3-pointers in the burst and her sister Michaela added another as the Irish took a 35-23 lead into the intermission.
The Cavaliers were 2 for 14 from the field in the second quarter, looking nothing like the team that only four days earlier shot 67 percent from 3-point range, played stiff defense and beat then-No. 22 Miami 76-56.
”I don’t know who that was out there,” Virginia coach Joanne Boyle said. ”It’s one of the strangest games I’ve been a part of.”
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was concerned about the Cavaliers’ 3-point shooting, but they made just 5 of 15 attempts.
”I was just a little nervous starting out in that zone,” McGraw said. ”We had a couple of backup plans, but fortunately they didn’t connect early on too many.”
Already leading 35-23 at halftime, Notre Dame opened the third quarter with a 10-5 run, pushing its lead to 45-28, and Virginia never threatened again. The Irish led by as many as 30 and played underclassmen for almost the entire fourth quarter.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish arrived leading the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage, having made 94 of 205, or 45.9 percent. They were 7 for 16 in the game. … Notre Dame scoring leader Madison Cable, who averages 16 points, hit a 3-pointer for the game’s first points and never scored again.
Notre Dame is at home against North Carolina on Sunday.