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Irish dominate again, head to Goombay Classic

As the Notre Dame women’s basketball team prepares to head to the Bahamas for the Goombay classic, they’re riding high after a dominant 4-0 start. The fourth win came on Sunday afternoon, as the Irish won their third game by 34+ points, dispatching Ball State 95-60. Notre Dame’s closest game to date is a 90-79 victory over Cal, with their other wins coming by 34, 35 and 40 points. Additionally, none of Notre Dame’s opponents have a losing record, combining for a 10-2 record, excluding their games against the Irish. And, perhaps most frightening for upcoming opponents, head coach Niele Ivey said her team is just scratching the surface of their capabilities. 

Irish throttle Cardinals

Sunday’s performance was a dominant one. Notre Dame ran all over the Cardinals for 54 first-half points, opening up a 27-point advantage at the break. Six players scored in double digits, and the Irish more than doubled Ball State in rebounds (50-24), blocks (8-3) and assists (21-10). Sophomore guard Olivia Miles fell three rebounds shy of a triple-double, notching 13 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Graduate student guard Dara Mabrey led the scoring effort with 19 points on 5-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Graduate transfer Lauren Ebo added a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds), freshman guard KK Bransford poured on 16 points and sophomore guard Sonia Citron added 14 points to go with eight boards. Overall, the Irish shot 54.2% from the field. 

The first few minutes were a little rough defensively for the Irish, as Ball State opened up an 11-6 lead. However, triples from Mabrey and Miles eliminated the Cardinals’ advantage. With 3:41 left in the first quarter, Mabrey’s three-pointer, her third of the first quarter, vaulted the Irish to a 17-15 lead, an edge they would not relinquish. It kick-started a 13-3 scoring run to end the quarter, and Notre Dame went into cruise control. They outscored the Cardinals 27-9 in the second quarter to absolutely bury the visitors. The Irish opened the frame on an 11-2 tear, punctuated by two more Mabrey threes. They ended on a 13-1 run, allowing them to double up Ball State, 54-27 at halftime. 

Irish finish Cardinals, eye Bahamas trip

The second half was more of a formality, as the Irish put their finishing touches on a fourth straight game with 88+ points. The 95 points were a season-high, as the Irish have increased their offensive output in every game this season. They’ll look to continue that trend at the Goombay Classic in the Bahamas, where the Irish will play two games.

Notre Dame takes on a winless American University squad on Thanksgiving, and they’ll battle Arizona State in the second game, on either Friday or Saturday. American is sitting at 0-3 with losses by 51, 5 and 14 points. The Sun Devils are unbeaten, but they have not played a Power-5 team. Two of those wins include beating Northern Arizona by one point and New Mexico in overtime. Should the Irish emerge unscathed from the international trip, they’ll enter a massive two-game stretch at 6-0, ready to face a top-20 opponent in Maryland and a top-5 UConn squad on Dec. 1 and 4, respectively.

Contact Aidan Thomas at athoma28@nd.edu.

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