Jan. 15, 2015
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP)- Brianna Turner kept hitting baskets, snatching down just about every loose rebound and swatting away shots. By the end of the night, the freshman’s dominating performance had helped No. 7 Notre Dame earn another road win against a ranked opponent.
Turner had 29 points, a season-high 18 rebounds and seven blocked shots to help the Fighting Irish beat No. 12 North Carolina 89-79 on Thursday night. It gave Notre Dame its fifth win in six tries against a Top 25 opponent this season.
That includes a 4-0 mark on the road, the latest coming after Notre Dame (16-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot 63 percent after halftime and turned away a late push by the Tar Heels (15-3, 2-2).
Much of that started with Turner, who got the best of talented UNC post player Stephanie Mavunga.
”I just really tried to stay on the glass,” Turner said. ”(Mavunga) is a really good rebounder so I really just tried to box out and go for the boards.”
Turner was second nationally in shooting percentage at 66.4 percent after Tuesday’s games, then topped that by making 10 of 13 shots against the Tar Heels. In 36 minutes, she matched her season high in points and blocked shots.
The only hiccup? A 9-for-16 effort from the foul line.
”Had she not missed all those free throws,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw quipped, ”she would’ve really had a good game.”
Sophomore Lindsay Allen added a career-best 24 points, helping Notre Dame overcome a quiet game from leading scorer Jewell Loyd. She came in averaging 21.5 points but finished with just eight on 4-for-11 shooting.
Notre Dame rallied from 11 down in the first half then blew nearly all of a 14-point lead in the second when the Tar Heels pulled within 78-77 on Mavunga’s 3-pointer with 4:29 left.
But Allen immediately scored in the paint to start a clinching 9-0 run, which included a critical 3-pointer from Michaela Mabrey with 2:41 left.
”They beat us with old-timey basketball – high-low feed and the pick-and-roll,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. ”And they were successful with it.”
Allisha Gray scored 20 points for North Carolina, which shot 37 percent.