ND Women’s Basketball
Notre Dame upsets 19th-ranked Florida State to conclude regular season
Observer Staff Report | Monday, March 2, 2020
The Notre Dame women’s basketball team (13-17, 8-10 ACC) ended their regular season with a signature win Sunday afternoon, defeating No. 19th ranked Florida State (22-7, 11-7 ACC) on the road. Freshman forward Sam Brunelle led the Irish, scoring 25 points and knocking down a career high seven three pointers. Junior center Mikayla Vaughn also made a big contribution with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Both teams struggled offensively out of the gate. Florida State led 5-4 five minutes into the game, but after a three from Brunelle and a layup from graduate student guard Destinee Walker, the Irish opened up a 12-6 lead. Florida State scored the last five points of the quarter, but Notre Dame led after one quarter, 14-13.
Both teams opened the second quarter shooting the ball well. A Brunelle three knotted the game at 19 a piece, but Florida State immediately went on a 10-0 run courtesy of three 3-point plays. The run was finally cut short when sophomore guard Katlyn Gilbert knocked down a jumper. Brunelle scored seven points in the final 90 seconds of the quarter to cut the Seminole lead to just two, but Florida State beat the buzzer with a half-court heave to take a five point lead into the break, 35-30.
The Seminoles scored the first six points of the second half to go up 11, before graduate student guard Marta Sniezek scored a bucket inside, and Vaughn earned a put back bucket off of her own shot on the next possession. A Florida State three pushed the lead back up to 10, but the Irish answered again with back to back buckets. After a timeout, Brunelle drilled her fifth three of the contest, and would hit her sixth just before the horn to cut the lead to two heading to the fourth.
After Florida State went up four to open the final stanza, yet another three from Brunelle and a layup from Sniezek put the Irish back in front. She scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter. Florida State scored on back to back possessions to retake the lead, but the Irish answered with buckets from Vaughn and Sniezek. Florida State retook the lead again, but Sniezek tied the game with a pair of free throws with just under five minutes to play. The teams traded baskets over the ensuing possessions, and Florida State tied it with a layup with just over a minute remaining.
Sniezek came through with a tough bucket inside to put the Irish up, 66-64. They defended well, forcing a turnover late, and Walker had a chance to end the game with two free throws. She split the pair, extending the lead to three points, and Florida State had a chance to tie. Gilbert fouled the shooter on the three point attempt with less than a second to go, giving the Seminoles three free throws. She missed the first, but made the second. She attempted to miss the third on purpose, to give Florida State a chance to win with a tip-in. The shot didn’t hit the rim, and Notre Dame was able to narrowly escape with the win.
Notre Dame will now head to the ACC tournament with a lot of momentum, having won their last three games. They take on Pittsburgh in the opening round of the tournament Wednesday afternoon.