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ND Women’s Basketball

Notre Dame wins for the first time this season against ranked opponent

| Monday, November 25, 2019

Notre Dame picked up their first win against a ranked opponent this year when they came into Ann Arbor and knocked off a No. 21-ranked Michigan this weekend 76-72. Graduate student guard Destinee Walker, who transferred in from North Carolina, recorded a season-high 27 points and tied her career high of three pointers made, going 5-8 from beyond the arc, and also recorded four steals, an assist and two rebounds. The Irish also recorded their best night from the field in the victory going an even 50% shooting and 32% for three pointers, compared to Michigan’s 34% and 33%, respectively. 

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish freshman guard Anaya Peoples moves in for a rebound during Notre Dame’s 69-72 loss to Michigan State Nov. 14 at Purcell Pavilion.

The Irish were able to bounce back with a statement after recording home losses against Tennessee and Michigan State. They were able to notch a win over Toledo on Wednesday, but the win was not necessarily notable, as Toledo is not ranked and is 1-3 on the season, and the Irish only managed to beat the Rockets by three points, 54-51.

The Irish were finally able to come together as a squad and piece together a good win against a ranked opponent that performs extremely well in their own stadium. The Notre Dame win marked only the sixth win by an opposing squad inside the Crisler Center in the past 61 games, with the only two teams who have been able to record two wins in that span being the Irish and Michigan State.

Walker got out to a quick start on the night, hitting two early threes to tie the game up at 12-12 midway through the first quarter. However, Michigan was able to respond with a three of their own a few possessions later to put the Wolverines up 19-13. Notre Dame turned the ball over on their next possession, and Walker committed her second foul of the game and was subsequently subbed out. Notre Dame fell behind with Walker on the bench, and the Wolverines held the lead 25-19 when the first quarter concluded.

The Wolverines caught fire three minutes into the second quarter and found themselves leading 33-22. The Irish were able to come back in the second half of the second quarter with a 6-0 run and trailed by just a point going into the break 43-44.

Walker hit two three-pointers in the third quarter, but ultimately by the end of the quarter, the Irish still found themselves trailing by four points, as the Wolverines led 61-57.

Freshman guard Anaya Peoples was able to get things started for the Irish in the final quarter with a made free throw, and after the Wolverines coughed the ball up on the next possession off of a Destinee Walker steal, Peoples found the basket again off a jump shot to cut the lead to one point at 60-61. The Wolverines responded with a layup on their next possession, but freshman forward Sam Brunelle lit up the field in the final quarter and lead the Irish to a victory over the ranked Wolverines.

Nine of Brunelle’s 12 points came during the fourth quarter in crunch time. She also recorded a steal with just under two minutes remaining to establish a dominant momentum shift after the Irish had found themselves trailing for a large portion of the game.

Walker would get her 26th and 27th points of the evening when the clock showed just seven seconds remaining, and the clutch free throws pushed the Irish out of the Wolverines’ reach as they won the game 76-72.

In addition to Brunelle and Walker, two other Irish players were able to put up double digit nights. Sophomore guard Katlyn Gilbert recorded 12 points on the evening while also taking four steals, six rebounds and four assists. Graduate student guard Marta Sniezek led the team in steals with five. Peoples was the fourth player who scored double digits, putting up 13 on the evening while also recording two steals and pulling down five rebounds.

For their Thanksgiving break, the Irish will be spending three days in Cancun, Mexico, to compete in the Cancun Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. They will be competing in three games through three days for the tournament. Their first game will be played Thanksgiving Day against Florida Gulf Coast at 1:30 p.m. They will play South Dakota State the following day at 11 a.m., and their last game will be played against USF at 11 a.m. on Saturday to conclude the tournament.

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