Nov. 14, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) – Brianna Turner had an impressive college debut, shattering Notre Dame’s record for points by a freshman in her opening game.
Turner scored 29 points to lead No. 3 Notre Dame to a 105-51 win over UMass Lowell on Friday night at Purcell Pavilion.
The 6-foot-3 forward from Pearland, Texas, who grabbed nine rebounds, poured in 22 points over the game’s first 13 minutes. Her fastbreak layup with 6:48 to go in the first half stretched the Irish lead to 30, making it 43-13.
Turner set a school record in the Muffet McGraw era for freshman debuts, easily topping the 18 points that guard Alicia Ratay scored in 1999 against Toledo that was matched by Courtney LaVere in 2002.
“I really just thank my teammates,” Turner said. “They were looking for me the entire night. I ran the floor and they always had their eyes up, Jewell (Loyd) and (Lindsay Allen) looking for me on the post-ups.”
McGraw called Turner’s performance “phenomenal.”
“She plays like she practices,” McGraw said. “She does that every day in practice so it’s not surprising that she does it in the game. She’s just going to keep getting better.”
Notre Dame (1-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the first five minutes, as the River Hawks (0-1) missed their first six shot attempts before junior forward Lindsay Doucette hit a layup. Notre Dame led 61-24 at the half.
Things were no better for the River Hawks in the second half. Junior guard Loyd’s fastbreak layup with 15:15 left to play capped a 16-4 run to start the half before UMass Lowell coach Jenerrie Harris called a timeout with the score 77-28.
But Harris said she was pleased with her team’s hustle, which helped force 18 turnovers.
McGraw noted she’s playing more freshmen this year but she thinks they’ll get better.
“I think we had four turnovers in the first four minutes,” she said. “We had a few people that got a lot and I think that was just nerves.”
Harris, facing one of the nation’s elite programs on the road in her head coaching debut, said she thought the experience would help her team.
“Their discipline stuck out to me the most,” Harris said of Notre Dame. “It shows us the things we’re good at, as well as things we need to improve. I was impressed with the team’s fight.”
Loyd followed Turner in scoring, contributing 20 points for Notre Dame.
Shannon Samuels led UMass Lowell with 16 points.
TIP-INS: UMass Lowell: The River Hawks finished 5-23 last season. Coach Jenerrie Harris was an assistant at Navy the past five seasons. The River Hawks are entering their second season as a Division I team.
Notre Dame: Notre Dame won its 20th straight season opener and won its 29th straight home game. The Irish went 37-0 to start last season before losing to Connecticut in the title game.
DOMINANT ON THE GLASS: The River Hawks’ forwards were no match for Turner and 6-foot-3 sophomore Taya Reimer, who had 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Notre Dame outrebounded the visitors 54-23, easily transitioning the outlet pass to fastbreak layups.
“Our post game, we feel like rebounding is something we’re really going to do well,” McGraw said. “Our posts are really good running the floor. I think we share the ball well, we’re pretty unselfish. Offensively I thought there were a lot of good things.”
FAST STARTS: The win was Notre Dame’s second-largest margin of victory in a season opener, behind only its 113-35 victory over Liberty on Nov. 24, 1989, at the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando, Florida.
UP NEXT: UMass Lowell: The River Hawks host Rhode Island on Wednesday.
Notre Dame: The Irish play at No. 14/15 Michigan State on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, live on Big Ten Network).