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ND Women’s Basketball

Allen explodes for 28 points to lead Irish to Final Four

| Monday, March 30, 2015

At 5-foot-7, Lindsay Allen sometimes has trouble standing out on a top-seeded Notre Dame team full of all-conference players and big personalities.

USE THISJodi Lo | The Observer

In Oklahoma City, though, the sophomore guard was the biggest force on the court for the Irish, scoring a career-high 28 points against Stanford in the Sweet 16 and 23 more against Baylor last night. Both were team-high totals.

Add that to her 11 assists and 10 rebounds over the weekend, and it would be easy to mistake Allen’s stat line with that of the more decorated member of Notre Dame’s backcourt, junior guard and national player of the year candidate Jewell Loyd.

It’s a comparison Loyd herself does not shy away from.

“Well, she’s like my twin, really, and she’s unstoppable,” Loyd said after Sunday’s win. “I think people have really underestimated her, and for us, she’s been awesome all year. It’s been awesome to see how talented she is.

“I look up to her on the court and off the court. She’s very humble. She’s the MVP.”

No player has been more reliable for Notre Dame over the last two years. She has started every single game and logged more than 2,100 minutes on the court. And starting this year, she has become a leader on and off the court, Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said.

“Last year, she was able to come in and simply run the team without having to be vocal,” McGraw said. “… This year, we asked her to do more. We asked her to score more. We asked her to be more involved in the offense, to be more vocal, to be the true leader of the team.

“And that was a challenge for her, because with a young team, there was an awful lot of talking needed, and she’s not a very vocal person. So I think to see her develop, she worked incredibly hard this summer.”

Allen significantly upped her average points per game between last season and this year, going from a 6.2 average in 2013-2014 to 10.4 this year.

In recognition of her hot-shooting weekend, Allen was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player. She said she could not remember having this much success in back-to-back games before. Her combined total for the weekend was 51 points — more than the entire Montana team scored against the Irish in the first round.

“This weekend was just a really great weekend,” Allen said. “Our posts set really good screens for us in both games, and the guards got really great free-throw line jumpers in both games, so this was a really good shooting weekend overall.”

Allen was quick to attribute her production to her teammates, three of whom also scored in the double-digits against the Lady Bears.

“We rebounded really well down the stretch, and we were just really excited to win, no matter who was going to be MVP or who scored the most points,” Allen said.

After the game, McGraw repeatedly called Allen the best point guard in the country. Between her and Loyd — whom McGraw has often praised as the country’s best player — they make up a backcourt that fuels the fourth-best offense in the NCAA.

In the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, however, the pair took things to a new level, providing Notre Dame with 54 percent of its offense on the weekend.

But while Loyd sometimes struggled to connect on her shots, shooting 30.8 percent from the floor, Allen was lights-out, connecting on 58 percent of her field goals, 50 percent of her 3-pointers and 90 percent of her free throws.

Riding Allen’s torrid scoring streak, the Irish head to Tampa, Florida, for a Final Four matchup against South Carolina next Sunday.

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About Greg Hadley

Greg Hadley is a senior from Rockville, Maryland, majoring in political science with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He served as The Observer's Editor-in-Chief for the 2015-2016 term and currently covers Notre Dame baseball and women's basketball.

Contact Greg