Women's basketball: Notre Dame rally comes up short at Florida State
A ferocious fourth-quarter charge came up short as Florida State beat Notre Dame, 70-65, for the Seminoles’ first-ever women’s basketball win over the Irish on Sunday afternoon at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee.
No. 20-ranked ND trailed 56-38 with less than 8 minutes to go before drawing as close as two points twice over the final 1:42.
FSU (11-10, 5-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) entered the day 0-11 all-time against the Irish, but outscored the visitors 22-9 in the third quarter to take a 51-38 lead into the fourth.
ND (18-5, 9-3) was paced by freshman Olivia Miles with 17 points and four assists, although she missed a wide-open 3-pointer that would’ve knotted the game at 62 with 2 minutes to go.
Maya Dodson added 15 points and game highs of 10 rebounds and four steals for the Irish.
Freshman Sonia Citron scored 15, too, but missed an off-balance inside shot at 13 seconds left that would’ve tied the game at 66-66.
Senior center Valencia Myers led four Seminoles in double figures with 14 points to go with eight rebounds. She was 7-of-9 from the field.
Notre Dame fell two games behind Louisville (11-1) and North Carolina State (11-1) in the ACC standings and a half-game behind Georgia Tech (9-2).
► Despite the loss, Irish coach Niele Ivey was encouraged by the comeback.
“That’s (about) the first time we’ve been that down, had that much adversity, so proud of the effort in fighting,” Ivey said.
The 18-point deficit was easily ND’s largest against anybody this season other than in its loss at Connecticut.
“The fourth quarter, it was a completely different team,” Ivey declared of her club’s rally, “(but) we have to play strong for four quarters, and we didn’t do that today.”
The fourth-period effort was fueled in part by successful backcourt pressure, but that’s a strategy the Irish perhaps can’t use all the way, particularly while down to seven scholarship players.
Abby Prohaska, injured Tuesday against North Carolina State, sat out a second straight game.
Ivey said Prohaska does not have another concussion — she suffered one in December against DePaul, costing the senior guard a month of game activity — but that she did sustain a significant injury to her eye socket.
“Hopefully, she’ll be able to help us out next week,” Ivey said.
► The third quarter, often ND’s best over the course of a game, was a disaster.
“We looked very tired and just couldn’t execute offensively,” Ivey said. “It was hard to try to find our composure, find our energy and to find ourselves offensively.”
Additionally, “we weren’t getting the stops defensively,” said Ivey, who mixed looks at that end.
The Irish were playing their seventh game in 15 days.
“I’m not sure if it was the fatigue, the schedule,” Ivey said, “but (Florida State) played really well and we didn’t play our game for four quarters.”
► The disparity between home and away widened even further for Notre Dame.
The Irish are 11-0 at Purcell Pavilion, but dropped to 7-5 elsewhere.
“When you’re playing at somebody else’s house, they’re comfortable,” Ivey said. “They know their rims, so you have to play your game, you have to raise your level of competition when you go into other people’s house. You have to execute and you have to do it defensively, and we just didn’t do that for 40 minutes.”
Home-away disparities aren’t limited to ND.
They’re most places, including in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles improved to 9-3 this season to go with 2-7 elsewhere.
Dodson continued her prolific play across the last seven weeks.
In 11 games over that time, she’s averaging 16.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and shooting 54.2% from the field.
She has significantly upticked her steals over her last four outings as well, grabbing 14.
Dara Mabrey against Florida State — and decidedly so.
The Irish guard went 0-of-8 from the field and finished scoreless in 29 minutes with one assist.
A year earlier, she went 0-of-5 from the field and closed scoreless in 23 minutes with one assist.
The game was Ivey’s first against Sue Semrau, the dean of ACC head coaches.
Semrau took a leave of absence last season, coinciding with Ivey’s rookie year, to care for her mom, now in remission from cancer.
A four-time ACC Coach of the Year, Semrau owns a 486-267 record over 24 seasons at FSU with five Sweet 16 appearances.
The Irish host Miami (12-9, 5-6) at 6 p.m. Thursday.
That’ll be followed by next Sunday’s visit to No. 4 Louisville, the first of two late-season matchups with the Cardinals (21-2, 11-1).
NOTRE DAME (18-5): Dodson 5-9 5-7 15, Westbeld 5-9 0-0 12, Citron 5-11 4-4 15, Mabrey 0-8 0-0 0, Miles 6-13 3-5 17, Brunelle 2-7 0-0 4, Peoples 1-1 0-0 2, Totals 24-58 12-16 65
FLORIDA ST. (11-10): Howard 2-6 1-2 7, Myers 7-9 0-0 14, Gordon 3-7 5-6 11, Jones 4-11 2-3 10, Puisis 1-2 2-2 5, Timpson 1-1 0-0 2, Baldwin 1-2 0-0 2, Bejedi 4-5 1-3 12, Jackson 3-8 1-2 7, Weber 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 26-51 12-18 70
Notre Dame | 19 | 10 | 9 | 27 — 65
Florida St. | 13 | 17 | 22 | 18 — 70
3-Point Goals_Notre Dame 5-18 (Westbeld 2-2, Citron 1-3, Mabrey 0-5, Miles 2-4, Brunelle 0-4), Florida St. 6-13 (Howard 2-6, Gordon 0-1, Puisis 1-2, Bejedi 3-3, Jackson 0-1). Assists_Notre Dame 15 (Miles 4), Florida St. 15 (Jackson 4). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Notre Dame 30 (Dodson 10), Florida St. 32 (Myers 8). Total Fouls_Notre Dame 17, Florida St. 14. Technical Fouls_None. A_2,678.