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ND Women’s Basketball: Cable leads balanced Irish attack over UCLA

Mary Green | Sunday, December 8, 2013

It was a tale of two halves for Notre Dame as the Irish scored from inside the paint and outside the arc in their 90-48 win over UCLA on Saturday in the Purcell Pavilion.
 “Every team that comes in here, it’s the Super Bowl to them,” head coach Muffet McGraw said. “They want a big win. They want to knock us off – we’re a ranked team. We’ve got a lot on it, so it’s important for us to take every game seriously.”
The game opened with back-and-forth play between the two teams, with the Bruins (3-5) responding to each Irish score and taking an 8-6 lead five minutes into the contest.
However, the Irish (8-0) went on a 29-6 run over the next 12 minutes to reclaim a lead they would never relinquish, using transitions and fast breaks to score easy layups for quick points.
“I like how competitive we are,” senior guard Kayla McBride said. “I think that with [sophomore guard] Jewell [Loyd] and [sophomore guard] Mike [Michaela Mabrey] and [junior guard] Maddie [Madison Cable], I think that they want to be on the court, and they want to be able to represent Notre Dame just like the seniors, like we have the past three years, and I think that competitive nature just fires everyone up.”
Senior forward Natalie Achonwa led the way for Notre Dame with 10 points and six rebounds at the break as the home team held a 44-20 advantage, with 26 of its points scored in the paint.
UCLA opened the second half trying to crowd the lane to deter Notre Dame from scoring down low, but the Irish looked to their bench for help scoring from the outside.
Junior guard Madison Cable hit three consecutive three-point shots en route to a career-high 21 points, firing up the home crowd and contributing to the 46 points off the bench for the Irish throughout the game.
“It doesn’t really surprise me much because we see her in practice. She doesn’t miss,” McBride said of Cable’s performance. “But just for Maddie to get that confidence, because we’re going to need her in big games, it’s just great for her to come out there and hit those shots.”
Cable shot 7-for-8 from the floor and 5-for-6 on three pointers, falling just shy of tying the Purcell Pavilion record for highest three-point percentage in a game.
Her 21 points also represent the first time a Notre Dame player has scored 20 or more points off the bench since junior forward Markisha Wright had 20 against St. Francis on Dec. 31, 2012.
“It was fun,” Cable said. “It felt good, I’ll just say that. … My teammates made good passes and found me when I was open, and we called some plays that I might be open, so it was just working.”
Loyd added 15 points for the Irish, and McBride had 12 points and six assists. Bruins sixth-year senior forward Atonye Nyingifa earned a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
McBride and Mabrey split duty at point guard after freshman guard Lindsay Allen picked up her third foul less than a minute into the second half and her fourth after returning to the game nine minutes later.
“I think it’s tough for a freshman heading into final exams,” McGraw said of Allen. “She’s got a lot on her plate as a pre-med major, and so I think she came out the last game not feeling she played as well as she could’ve, so I think she maybe was trying a little too hard to get things going today. But the foul trouble really, really hurt her game.”
The Irish did not skip a beat without their starting point guard, however, and McGraw emptied her bench as her team cruised to the victory.
“I think for us, it’s been a long week, mentally,” McGraw said. “We need to rest. We need a break, mentally and physically. So we’re going to take a few days off, come back Tuesday and get ready for Michigan.”
Notre Dame next hits the road to take on the Wolverines at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday.
Contact Mary Green at [email protected]