Feb. 18, 2016
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)– It didn’t take long for Brianna Turner to figure out she’d have a big game for No. 2 Notre Dame.
Thanks to her, the Fighting Irish are a step closer to clinching their third straight Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title.
Turner had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Notre Dame remained undefeated in the ACC by beating Wake Forest 86-52 on Thursday night.
”I’m really happy with how aggressive Brianna is being right now,” coach Muffet McGraw said. ”Really, we need her to do what she’s doing.
”We didn’t shoot it particularly well from the 3-point line (3 of 12), but we were able to go inside. Plus, defensively we were able to do a lot of good things.”
The Fighting Irish, who have won the past two ACC championships, also clinched a top-four seed and bye to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Ariel Stephenson scored 17 points and Elisa Penna had 10 for the Deacons (15-12, 6-8), who shot 37.7 percent (20 of 53) and made just 5 of 17 3-pointers to snap a four-game winning streak.
The 6-foot-3 Turner scored 12 points in the first quarter, including eight straight and 12 of 14 points over a six-minute span, to put Notre Dame up 24-12. She finished with 14 points in the half as the Fighting Irish led 41-22 at the break.
”I felt pretty confident in the first quarter,” Turner said after posting her second double-double this season and the 12th of her career. ”My teammates kept finding me, and I was getting fouled and knocking down my free throws. I felt pretty good from the start.”
Turner, who leads the ACC in field goal percentage at 61.5 percent, was 6 of 11 from the field and 7 of 7 from the free-throw line. She also had three blocked shots.
Wake Forest managed to cut the lead to 24-16 in the opening 1:39 of the second quarter, but Ogunbowale scored eight points during a 12-2 run that pushed Notre Dame’s lead back to double digits.
The Irish would then open the third quarter with a 19-7 run to push its lead to 62-29 with 2:16 remaining. Wake Forest would pull no closer than 26 points the rest of the game.
”They came in from the get-go and were really rolling early on us, and wanted to make a statement,” Deacons coach Jen Hoover said. ”They established themselves (inside) right off the bat.”
Notre Dame: Improved to 4-0 all-time against the Deacons, and 3-0 as conference opponents. . Has now won 30 consecutive games against ACC opponents, and improved to 51-1 since joining the league three seasons ago.
Notre Dame shot 56.5 percent from the field (35 of 62), the 14th time this season the Fighting Irish shot 50 percent or better. They also went 13 of 15 from the free-throw line.
But Notre Dame’s biggest advantages came from scoring inside, getting 56 points in the paint. The Irish also outrebounded Wake Forest 40-23, and forced the Deacons into 22 turnovers that led to 23 points.
Notre Dame: Visits No. 10 Florida State on Monday.