ND Women’s Basketball
Rapid Reaction: ND advances to second round with win over Montana
Samantha Zuba | Friday, March 20, 2015
No. 2 Notre Dame advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in resounding fashion Friday night, defeating Montana, 77-43, at Purcell Pavilion.
The No. 1-seeded Irish (32-2, 15-1 ACC) led for almost the entire game against the No. 16-seed Grizzlies (24-9, 14-4 Big Sky). Montana’s only lead was a 4-2 advantage in the game’s first minute.
Junior guard Jewell Loyd scored a game-high 18 points; freshman forward Kathryn Westbeld pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, and sophomore guard Lindsay Allen dished out a game-high seven assists.
Two free throws from Westbeld and a Loyd jumper with less than a minute remaining in the first half sealed a 43-24 lead for Notre Dame heading into the locker room. It was the largest advantage of the half for the Irish.
Notre Dame also held 15-point leads three times in the first half.
Notre Dame pulled away, 21-6, seven minutes into the period, but Montana clawed back with a 7-0 run to make the score 21-13 midway through the half.
A Westbeld layup gave the Irish a second 15-point lead, 33-18, with under five minutes to go in the half. Allen later drove and sank a layup to push Notre Dame to its third 15-point edge of the half, 37-22.
The Irish played quick and racked up six fast-break points in the first half while also tallying 22 points in the paint.
Loyd paced the Irish with 12 points and four assists in the first half. Westbeld led the way for Notre Dame on the boards with eight rebounds in the first half.
For Montana, senior forward Maggie Rickman’s six points were the most in the first half, and sophomore forward Alycia Sims had her team’s high in rebounds with four.
Notre Dame returns to the court Sunday for a second-round matchup against DePaul at 9 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion. DePaul beat Minnesota on Friday to advance.
The Irish and the Blue Demons have met once this season Dec. 10 in Chicago. Notre Dame escaped in its only overtime game of the year, 94-93, thanks in large part to a program-record-tying 41 points from Loyd.