WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Propelled by Destinee Walker’s prolific second half, Notre Dame rallied for a wild 75-71 women’s college basketball road win over Wake Forest on Thursday night.
The Irish (9-14, 4-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) survived a frenzied fourth quarter — one featuring 13 lead changes and nine ties — to win a second consecutive game for the first time in nearly 11 weeks.
Walker poured in 22 of her game-high 24 points after the intermission and added a game-high four steals.
Notre Dame took the lead for good at 71-69 with 2:08 to go on a Katlyn Gilbert 12-footer.
Walker swished a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left for a 73-69 count.
After the Demon Deacons (12-11, 5-7) closed to 73-71, Walker hit 1-of-2 at the stripe at 11 ticks showing for a three-point Irish lead to make her 7-of-8 on the night.
Wake missed an inside shot after its final timeout and then fouled Mikki Vaughn, who made the second of two freebies at five seconds showing for the clincher.
Gilbert finished with 12 points, Vaughn 11 and Sam Brunelle 10 for Notre Dame, with Brunelle adding a team-high seven rebounds.
Point guard Marta Sniezek added a dazzling floor game with nine points, eight assists against one turnover and three more drawn charges, extending her Irish single-season record to 29.
All seven ND players who saw time, in fact, delivered critical performances.
Katie Cole scored a career-high six points off the bench for the Irish, while Danielle Cosgrove drained a top-of-the-key 3-pointer that gave ND a 61-60 lead at 5:57 remaining.
Alex Sharp led the Deacons with 19 points and all players with nine rebounds. Christina Morra added 15 points for the hosts, and Gina Conti and Ivana Raca 11 apiece.
Wake led through most of the first two quarters, including by as many as eight points late in the second period and 35-28 at halftime.
Walker hit a 12-footer, added a quick steal, then drove that takeaway in for another basket to give the Irish a 47-46 advantage late in the third quarter that was their first lead since early in the second quarter.
After that, the lead changes and ties became near-constant. For the evening, there were 19 of the former and 12 of the latter.
Notre Dame, which improved to 8-0 all-time against the Deacons, returns home to host Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Irish will be seeking a season-high third straight win.