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ND Women’s Basketball

Boston bound

| Thursday, February 13, 2014

After defeating Boston College by a resounding 42 points at home Jan. 9, the No. 2 Irish will travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to take on their ACC rival again tonight.

“I think it’s difficult to play a team twice when you beat them by that much the first time,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “In your mind, you know you can win, but yet you have to be ready, because they’re such a good team.”

Irish senior guard Kayla McBride goes for a layup during Notre Dame’s 101-64 victory over Syracuse on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion. McBride finished the game with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead the Irish to their 23rd straight win to start the season.John Ning

Irish senior guard Kayla McBride goes for a layup during Notre Dame’s 101-64 victory over Syracuse on Sunday at Purcell Pavilion. McBride finished the game with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead the Irish to their 23rd straight win to start the season.

When Notre Dame (23-0, 10-0 ACC) hosted Boston College (12-13, 3-8), the Irish raced out to a double-digit lead in less than nine minutes of play. The Irish continued to run away with the game in the second half, behind a bench that scored 55 points, as the team claimed its 14th victory, 95-53.

For Notre Dame to come out strong again in an effort to continue an undefeated season, the Irish will have to rely on strong leadership from their veteran players.

“We need to have the same attention and focus we had before,” McGraw said. “I rely on our veterans, our upperclassmen, to set the tone and to be the ones that are the most intense and ready. That will be the challenge for us.”

Despite the lopsided loss and poor record in the conference, Boston College’s roster still carries standout players. Eagles senior forward Katie Zenevitch is averaging 11.2 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game, while senior guard Kristen Doherty is averaging 13.2 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game.

“They have two really good players, [Zenevitch] and Doherty,” McGraw said. “Zenevitch is a really smart and crafty player.”

For the Eagles, the senior forward brings a versatile skill set to the table, as she has shot 53.6 percent from the field this season. When facing Notre Dame in January, Zenevitch scored 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

“It’s difficult to prepare for a player like that because she does a lot of things well; she doesn’t just do one thing well,” McGraw said. “She can face up; she can score on the block; she can do so many different things. It’s harder for us to guard her because she’s so versatile, but we have been working on how we’re going to defend her this time around. We’re just going to keep working on that.”

Notre Dame is currently the best 3-point shooting team in the NCAA, as the team has hit 43.6 percent of its attempts this season. But when the Irish faced Boston College in January, they scored 46 of their 95 points in the paint. Tonight, the Irish will look to bring a similar approach to their offensive attack as they attempt to set the mark for the best start to a season in program history.

“We’d sure like to try and do it the same way,” McGraw said. “We like to use our inside game a little bit more against the zone. We’ve been shooting the ball very well from the perimeter but still want to be able to attack inside.”

Notre Dame will face Boston College at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass., at 7 p.m. tonight, as the Irish seek their 24th straight win in their undefeated season.

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu

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