ND Women’s Basketball
Irish right the ship with win over Boston College
Elizabeth Greason | Friday, January 20, 2017
The No. 6 Irish bounced back from a loss to unranked Tennessee, taking down ACC foe Boston College on the road Thursday, 80-69.
Irish senior point guard Lindsay Allen talked about being anxious to redeem the tough loss and said the whole team was antsy to get back on the court after Monday’s upset loss to the Volunteers.
“I think we always look forward to playing, but I think especially after a tough loss like that, you want to get out, you want to get that frustration out of you,” Allen said. “I think we were really excited to play today and just kind of be able to play together as a team and be able to come off that loss a few days later.”
After trading shots for a few minutes to start the game, the Irish (17-3, 5-1 ACC), led by veterans in Allen and junior forward Brianna Turner, went on a 10-4 run, giving Notre Dame a 22-15 lead to end the first quarter.
While the Irish extended their lead to start the second quarter, the Eagles (8-11, 1-5) began to claw back, propelled by a handful of 3-pointers, two of which came from freshman guard Taylor Ortlepp. The Eagles were able to get within five of the Irish, until Allen launched a 3-pointer to swing the momentum in Notre Dame’s favor. Allen felt that her last-second bucket gave her teammates the jolt of the energy they needed to come out of the half ready to go.
“I think we just needed a sense of urgency in everything that we did,” Allen said. “I was telling [freshman guard] Jackie [Young] to get the ball quick so we could get a quick shot as close to the basket as possible and then just coming into the half and making sure that we still have that momentum coming out of halftime.”
Allen’s clutch buzzer-beater carried the Irish to an 11-0 run to start the second half. Turner picked up two blocks to prevent the Eagles from scoring their first points of the half. Eagles freshman forward Emma Guy finally ended the Eagles’ drought, but not before the Irish racked up a 19-point lead. Irish head coach Muffet McGraw noted that the team’s defense in the third quarter allowed it to be successful.
“I think, the third quarter, we started a pretty good defensive team,” McGraw said. “I thought it was pretty good. … We got good shots; we shared the ball.”
Sophomore guard Marina Mabrey was a picture of consistency in the third quarter. She turned up the heat offensively for the Irish, putting 15 points on the board in the quarter. Turner also added nine points to her total in the third. Allen felt that strong defense allowed the offense to succeed, especially in feeding the ball to Turner under the net.
“I think that [McGraw] subbed [junior guard] Mychal [Johnson] in to start the half and she gives us that defensive pressure, that defensive presence for us,” Allen said. “ … We’re all, you know, just scrambling, racing around, trying to get steals, just playing with a lot of energy, just kind of roaming around, trying to play as hard as we could. Our defense led to easy shots on offense. You know, we were looking inside for [Turner] and [Mabrey] was hitting shots in the third quarter. And so, I think, you know, when we play hard on defense, we get that energy from our defense, it really, really helps our offense.”
Notre Dame dominated the Eagles from the free-throw line, especially in the first half, as Boston College fouled the Irish 12 times to Notre Dame’s six. Notre Dame scored nine points from the line with Young leading the way, going 4-for-4. Capitalizing on Boston College’s 20 turnovers was another difference-maker for Notre Dame, as 23 of the Irish points resulted from Boston College turnovers.
The Irish led by as many as 24 during the third quarter, but the Eagles surged back in the fourth. Boston College outscored Notre Dame 17-6 in the fourth and the Eagles crawled within 11 points. McGraw was disappointed in her squad’s inability to dig deep and sustain the strong play from the third quarter.
“We’ve never played well here,” McGraw said. “ … Should’ve really been able to extend the lead, but we just weren’t able to put our foot on the pedal. You know, I think we have a couple people out there, [Allen] and [Turner], they’re out there doing what they can and I thought Marina played pretty well, especially in the second half. We’ve been playing a lot of young players and they just are taking a little long.”
The Irish will don their blue jerseys once again in the final game of their road series when they take on North Carolina on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for noon in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.