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ND Women’s Basketball

Nearly bedeviled: Madison Cable leads Notre Dame to come-from-behind victory on the road

| Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No. 3 Notre Dame is 47-1 against ACC opponents since joining the conference a little more than two years ago, but for much of the second half of Monday’s game against Duke, a second loss looked like a very real possibility for the Irish.

­­That is, until graduate student guard Madison Cable nailed a 3-pointer from the wing in the fourth quarter to retake the lead for the Irish and then notched a steal and a layup two trips later to help secure the 68-61 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

The victory for Notre Dame (21-1, 9-0 ACC) thwarted an upset bid by the Blue Devils (16-7, 5-4), who are unranked in the AP poll in consecutive weeks, the first time they’ve been out of the top 25 since 2000.

 Graduate student guard Madison Cable shoots during a 79-66 victory over Tennessee on Jan. 18 at Purcell Pavilion.Grace Tourville | The Observer

Graduate student guard Madison Cable shoots during a 79-66 victory over Tennessee on Jan. 18 at Purcell Pavilion.

However, Duke boasts one of the best home-court advantages in the country and had it on display during the second half of Monday’s game.

The Irish jumped out to an early lead, leading by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, thanks in part to freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale’s 12 first-half points off 5-of-8 shooting.

But the Blue Devils caught some momentum shortly before halftime after Irish junior guard Lindsay Allen and Duke freshman guard Angela Salvadores were whistled for offsetting technical fouls on a jump ball play. Notre Dame closed the second quarter by missing seven of their nine field-goal attempts while the Blue Devils went on a 7-0 run to bring the game to 35-27.

A few minutes into the third quarter, Allen was pulled for a spot on the bench after picking up her third foul, which came on a layup that gave the Blue Devils a 39-37 lead.

As Allen sat, Notre Dame struggled to get anything going on offense, hitting just three of their 17 shots in the quarter, or contain Duke’s efforts.

“The third quarter was tough for us,” Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Duke made a run without Lindsay on the floor, and we couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively, and it was tough. It was bad at both ends. We didn’t guard that well, and we didn’t run anything on offense, so we’ve got some work to do when she goes out of the game.”

Freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale pursues a loose ball during Notre Dame’s 79-66 victory over Tennessee on Jan. 18 at Purcell Pavilion. Ogunbowale had 16 points in Monday’s win over Duke.Grace Tourville | The Observer

Freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale pursues a loose ball during Notre Dame’s 79-66 victory over Tennessee on Jan. 18 at Purcell Pavilion. Ogunbowale had 16 points in Monday’s win over Duke.

The Blue Devils only shot 38 percent in the third quarter, allowing the Irish to keep it close as they trailed 47-45 headed into the final frame, but Notre Dame wasn’t able to find one of its key players, either.

“I felt we did a poor job of executing and getting the ball in to [Brianna Turner],” McGraw said. “I think we could’ve exploited the high post a little bit more. Offensively, I thought we really didn’t play well, and credit their defense for some of it, but we just missed some shots that we’ve been making.”

With their starting point guard back on the court, Notre Dame picked up momentum in the fourth quarter and pulled away after Cable’s big 3 with a 13-0 run in the final minutes.

Cable scored 18 total points, including three buckets from behind the arc, to pace Notre Dame, and Ogunbowale was close behind her with 16.

Sophomore forward Brianna Turner collected her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds while holding Duke sophomore forward/guard Azurá Stevens to 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

“I think she was disappointed in her free throws [shooting 4-of-10], but again, I think we just didn’t get her the ball enough, but I thought the key to the game was her defense on Stevens,” McGraw said. “Stevens is their best player, and she shut her down, held her to four points in the second half.”

With its ninth conference win secured, Notre Dame looks to keep its perfect ACC record intact when it next takes the floor Thursday against North Carolina State at Purcell Pavilion.

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