December 30, 1998
BOSTON (AP) – Boston College wanted to be noticed and the Eagles certainly gained seventh-ranked Notre Dame’s attention after a surprisingly easy win.
“I thought Boston College played like a Top 10 team,” Fighting Irish coach Muffet McGraw said after the Eagles posted a 78-65 upset on Wednesday night.
“They played extremely well. Executed their game plan to perfection. I felt like we were never in the game,” McGraw said. “I thought when it was 5-2 the game was over. We were never in the game mentally.”
Whitney Steele scored 17 points and Cal Bouchard had 16 as the Eagles extended their best-ever start and posted their first-ever win over a Top 10 team.
“We knew this was a chance to show everyone in the stands and in the country how good we are,” Bouchard said.
Becky Gottstein added 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Eagles (10-1, 2-1 Big East). Alissa Murphy chipped in with 14 points and Paula Bacso had 10.
Ruth Riley led the Fighting Irish (9-2, 1-2) with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Danielle Green added 14 points, 12 coming in the second half.
The Eagles, who never trailed, opened the game by scoring nine of the first 11 points and held a 15-12 edge before Steele scored all 10 of her first-half points during a 16-8 run as they pulled to an 11-point lead 15 minutes into the half.
“They came out and just took it to us,” Green said. “We were never able to battle back.”
In the early going, Boston College used a patient offense, using up most of the 30-second shot clock before finding open shots against Notre Dame’s zone defense.
“It was one of our goals in the game plan,” Bouchard said of the Eagles’ quality shots. “Coach said we had to be patient and take our shots on offense.”
The Irish closed the gap to 39-29 at the break when Sherisha Hills nailed a 35-footer at the buzzer.
In the second half, the Eagles, who shot 50 percent (29-of-58) in the game, saw their lead sliced to 42-34 before they went on a 12-4 run to pull ahead by 16 on Murphy’s jumper with 14:45 to play.
Notre Dame never closed the margin below 10 points the rest of the way. “Our whole team has a confidence about themselves,” Gottstein said. “We knew we could play with the top teams. It was a chance show how good we are. We know it.”