ND women's basketball: Notre Dame falls in OT to Georgia
Playing in a tight game at the wire for the first time this season, Notre Dame extended the contest to overtime, but ultimately fell from that wire Friday night in the Daytona Beach Invitational as No. 21-ranked Georgia rallied for a 71-67 women’s college basketball victory.
The Bulldogs (5-0) scored the final eight points after the Irish (5-1) took a 67-63 lead at 1:48 remaining in the extra period.
► One game at a time:A journey through Notre Dame's 2021-22 women’s basketball season
► Next home game:Muffet McGraw to enter Notre Dame's Ring of Honor
Olivia Miles, in just her 12th collegiate game, poured in a career-high and game-high 24 points for ND, but was also charged with a career-high nine of her team’s season-high 25 turnovers.
Jenna Staiti, Georgia’s 6-4 grad student center, scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked six shots — including Dara Mabrey’s top-of-the-key, 3-point try for the win as regulation expired.
Maya Dodson tallied 13 points and blocked four shots for the Irish.
Maddy Westbeld also netted 13 points, but was slowed by picking up her fourth foul at 6:14 to go in the fourth quarter with ND up 58-53.
Sophomore Sarah Ashlee Barker scored 14 points for the Dogs, while senior Mikayla Coombs piled up eight steals, seven of them in the game’s first 11 minutes.
► Turnovers, a leading culprit in several of ND’s late-game collapses last season, proved too much to overcome again — although fewer of these seemed to involve the Irish on their heels or in their own backcourt than last winter.
“I thought some were aggressive,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said. “We were trying to attack, trying to go backdoor, had some charges, so I think we were aggressive, but it’s still really hard to win when you have 25.”
Georgia had 23 of its own, but was the more opportunistic team, converting ND’s turnovers into 16 points while the Irish converted the Dogs’ into just seven.
“Every possession mattered, so credit to Georgia,” Ivey said. “They played extremely physical and tough and made plays down the stretch.”
Over the final 28:15 of a scintillating back-and-forth game, beginning at the 3:15 mark of the second quarter, there were 11 lead changes and 11 ties.
► Miles again made an assortment of wonderful plays, often on drives, that again triggered wonder over just how good she’s going to get.
Her 24 points were accompanied by six rebounds, five assists and three steals. She closed 9-of-20 from the field and 6-of-8 at the line over 38 minutes.
“I thought she played well,” Ivey said of Miles, who had just three of her nine turnovers after halftime and entered the evening leading the nation in assists at 8.2. “She made buckets when we needed them and did a good job against their pressure. We knew coming in that they’d pressure us, and for one of her first times against that pressure, she did a really good job.”
Miles’ turnover with 43 seconds left in OT led to a basket by Staiti that pushed Georgia’s lead to 70-67 at 23 seconds remaining.
Westbeld then missed a decent-look 3-pointer from the left wing with 12 ticks to go before Staiti added a free throw at 10.9 for the final count.
► Dodson’s edgy play inside, and scrappy play all over, almost brought the Irish through on a night they hit just 38% of their field goals, including just 3-of-15 outside the arc.
“Oh my gosh, I thought she played tremendously well,” Ivey said. “She scored, was so good in ball screens and gave us so much energy with the way she was going hard after 50-50 balls.”
Dodson finished just 5-of-13 from the field to go with 3-of-4 at the line, but her four blocks matched a career high and she chipped in seven rebounds.
Anaya Peoples, showing her own feistiness, led all players with a season-high 11 rebounds.
That helped the Irish break even, 39-39, against a team that went into the game fourth in the nation in board margin at plus-19.5 per game.
While Peoples hasn’t scored so far this season at the rate some might have envisioned, the junior has been highly efficient while often deferring, making 10-of-17 shots and 6-of-6 free throws on the way to 5.1 points per game.
Mabrey and Sam Brunelle, averaging a combined 24.7 points going in, never got untracked, finishing with a combined six (three apiece) on a combined 2-of-9 from the field.
Senior Katlyn Gilbert did not make the trip to Florida, though Ivey said the backup guard is doing well in her recovery from the flu and is expected to be available next week.
Notre Dame and Georgia were meeting for the first time since the same season the Irish won their first national title.
That November 2000 matchup came in the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge in Madison, Wis., and produced a 75-73 Irish victory that was easily ND’s closest win on the way to taking its first 23 contests.
It also remains the only time the Irish have beaten the Bulldogs in four tries, all those encounters being close. Host Georgia prevailed 90-86 in OT in December 1991, then won 81-75 the following December at Purcell Pavilion.
The Irish complete their Daytona Beach trip and try to solve a ranked club again at 7 p.m. Saturday when they meet No. 16 Oregon State at the Ocean Center.
The Beavers were 3-0 heading into Friday night’s late game against Michigan.
Georgia 71, Notre Dame 67, OT
NOTRE DAME (5-1): Dodson 5-13 3-4 13, Westbeld 6-15 0-0 13, Mabrey 1-5 0-0 3, Miles 9-20 6-8 24, Peoples 3-5 0-0 6, Brunelle 1-4 0-0 3, Citron 2-8 1-1 5, Prohaska 0-0 0-0 0, Marshall 0-1 0-0 0, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 27-71 10-13 67
GEORGIA (5-0):Isaacs 0-1 2-2 2, Staiti 6-12 4-7 16, Barker 5-10 2-2 14, Coombs 1-4 0-0 2, Morrison 3-12 2-3 8, Bates 1-2 0-0 2, Nicholson 1-1 0-0 2, Chapman 5-9 0-0 10, Hollingshead 4-6 1-2 9, Richardson 1-4 1-4 4, Smith 1-1 0-0 2, Team 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 28-62 12-20 71
Notre Dame | 20 | 10 | 19 | 12 | 6 — 67
Georgia | 13 | 18 | 18 | 12 | 10 — 71
3-Point Goals_Notre Dame 3-15 (Westbeld 1-5, Mabrey 1-3, Miles 0-2, Brunelle 1-3, Citron 0-2), Georgia 3-12 (Staiti 0-1, Barker 2-4, Morrison 0-4, Richardson 1-3). Assists_Notre Dame 14 (Miles 5), Georgia 18 (Morrison 7). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Notre Dame 39 (Dodson 4-7), Georgia 39 (Team 3-6). Total Fouls_Notre Dame 17, Georgia 13. Technical Fouls_None. A_0.