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ND Women’s Basketball

Lindsay Allen, Brianna Turner shine in Senior Night win over Boston College

| Friday, February 24, 2017

Senior guard Lindsay Allen earned her Senior Night standing ovation Thursday, as the No. 5 Irish toppled Boston College, 82-45, in her 141st consecutive start.

Notre Dame (26-3, 14-1 ACC) appeared strong and in sync from the game’s opening minutes, even with the starting lineup featuring a new face: senior center Diamond Thompson, who started her first career game against the Eagles (9-19, 2-13).

Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said she was pleased with Thompson’s performance — the senior tallied six rebounds, two steals and a block in the game — and reflected on Thompson’s four years with the program after the game.

“Diamond played really well,” McGraw said. “It was great to see her out there. … Diamond’s got a great personality that brings sunshine into the room whenever she comes in. She does a lot of things that people don’t notice that really help our team chemistry.”

Irish senior guard Lindsay Allen drives at a defender during Notre Dame’s 82-45 win over Boston College on Thursday at Purcell Pavilion.Kathleen Donahue | The Observer

Irish senior guard Lindsay Allen drives at a defender during Notre Dame’s 82-45 win over Boston College on Thursday at Purcell Pavilion.

The highlight of the first quarter came when freshman forward Erin Boley and sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale hit back-to-back 3-pointers — each resulting from an Allen assist — to give the Irish a 12-point lead over the Eagles.

The Irish continued to charge ahead offensively in the second quarter, scoring 25 points and holding Boston College to 17 to secure a 51-31 lead at the half.

However, Notre Dame’s high level of play began to falter the moment it stepped back on the court after halftime, according to McGraw.

“We really struggled and turned the ball over a lot, a lot of times,” McGraw said. “ … So, a lot of disappointing things. You know, we need to get the ball to [junior forward Brianna Turner]. She was playing well — we couldn’t get the ball in. I don’t know how to fix that. I think we just need to make a shot. … We just didn’t shoot it well. That makes it look ugly. And we turned it over, which helps to make it look uglier.”

Despite Notre Dame’s struggles throughout the second half, it was able to hold the Eagles to just 14 points in the game’s final 20 minutes to solidify the 82-45 win. McGraw said defense, specifically from Turner, was her team’s saving grace, but she was frustrated with its inability to rebound and its lack of energy.

“[Turner] had one possession — I think she blocked three shots in one possession, while everybody stood around and watched her work,” McGraw said. “She guarded just about everybody on the floor, and the rest of the team was not really helping her. I thought if we could’ve had just one person being alert, we could’ve probably got a lot of those balls back. And we really struggled to rebound. We only outrebounded them by three. That’s disgraceful. Just everybody except for [freshman guard] Jackie [Young] did a poor job on the boards.”

Junior forward Brianna Turner spins around a defender on the baseline during Notre Dame’s 82-45 win over Boston College on Thursday at Purcell Pavilion.Kathleen Donahue | The Observer

Junior forward Brianna Turner spins around a defender on the baseline during Notre Dame’s 82-45 win over Boston College on Thursday at Purcell Pavilion.

Turner finished the game with seven blocks, six rebounds and 12 points, but it was Allen who stole the show on the night dedicated to celebrating her four years at Notre Dame. The guard paced the Irish with 18 points in 27 minutes on the floor. She was on double-double watch for much of the night, as she also finished the game with six rebounds and eight assists, six of which came in the first quarter.

Allen said the Eagles’ defense and focus on defending Turner allowed her to have a strong night.

“Off the ball screens, they were playing a soft hedge, and so I knew that I just had to attack the post and kind of just see what I had open,” Allen said. “The majority of the time, I kind of just had my drive or pull-up jumper, and so teams are always really concerned about Bri, and it’s well-deserved because she’s one of the best players in the country — the best post player in the country for sure — and so I think that when they’re concerned about her, it opens up the lane for all the guards on this team.”

Allen also discussed the meaning her Senior Night took on, as her time at Notre Dame has surpassed any expectations she had when she first came to campus.

“It was a very special moment,” Allen said. “Yesterday, I didn’t think I would get emotional, and then today I’m nervous because I thought I was going to get emotional, and then we got there and I was like, ‘Okay, never mind, I’ll be fine.’ But it was a special moment, to just be able to share it with my teammates and my family. My mom was a little bit late, so I was nervous about that as well. It ended up being well and just thanking Coach McGraw for letting me be here for four years and teaching me everything she knows about basketball.

“ … I had such an open mind coming in here that I didn’t really come in expecting anything. I just came in expecting to work hard and be challenged, and then, luckily, I started my first game and then started every game ever since, so it’s really been a dream come true.”

McGraw had similar sentiments to Allen’s in looking back at the senior’s Notre Dame career.

“[Senior Night] brings back a lot of memories,” McGraw said. “We were talking about recruiting Lindsay, and I remember the first time I saw her play and she’s been such a joy. She’s just so smart, so easy to coach, does so many things and always wants to know what else she can do to help. … So, it’s an emotional night because you’re always thinking back to what’s been and wondering where the years have gone. It goes by so quickly and I am just so thankful that [Allen and Thompson] were here to let me share the journey with them.”

The Irish will take the court again Sunday against Florida State as the two teams battle for the ACC regular season title. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion.

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About Elizabeth Greason

Elizabeth is a junior studying civil engineering from New York, NY (yes, the actual city). She is a proud resident of McGlinn Hall and is a die-hard Mets and Giants fan. She is the current Sports Editor of The Observer and she also has an obsession with golf that is bordering on unhealthy.

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