Notre Dame women’s basketball: Loyd fuels Irish rout

CURT RALLO
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- In the first seven minutes, Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw saw rainbow 3-pointers swish through the net, twisting lay-ups in traffic on drives to the lane and rugged rebound battles that resulted in a put-back for points.

And that was just Jewell Loyd.

Loyd, a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard, scored 10 points in a 21-point Irish run early in Wednesday’s exhibition game against California (Pa.), setting a powerful tone in a game dominated by Notre Dame, 118-49.

McGraw also saw what she was really looking for — a bruising effort inside by 6-foot-3 freshman Taya Reimer, and a masterful performance at point guard by 5-foot-7 freshman Lindsay Allen.

Loyd and Reimer scored 27 points each, and Allen had 13 points, nine assists and just one turnover. Notre Dame played without senior starters Natalie Achonwa (torn meniscus), Kayla McBride (sprained ankle) and Ariel Braker (sore knees). The Irish open the season on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. (ET) at Purcell Pavilion against UNC Wilmington.

“Offensively, I thought Jewell played really well,” McGraw said. “I thought she had a good effort to rebound more. She attacked the basket more. Taya, I thought, shot the ball extremely well. We got her in really good positions, but that’s a fantastic line for a freshman in her first game, and I was really pleased with Lindsay Allen. I thought she ran the team well. She took good shots, she took care of the ball, only one turnover. I was really pleased.”

California of Pennsylvania could have used a few more states to help with just Reimer alone. An Indianapolis native who starred at Hamilton Southeastern High School, Reimer ruled the lane for 27 points and six rebounds. She powered past California defenders or used an explosive first step to gain position and connect on 11 of 11 field-goal attempts. Reimer added 5-of-5 free-throw shooting to polish off a perfect shooting night.

“I was just really trying to be in the right place at the right time,” Reimer said. “Jewell and Lindsay both did a great job of looking in the post and looking for me, and I tried to do the same for them. I tried to be as physical as I could down low and be in the right spots.

“It’s great. It’s nice to have a game like that. It’s really exciting to play your first collegiate game, but I know I have a lot to work on, and we have a lot to work on as a team. It’s good to play this game so we can see what we need to work on. It was a great experience, but we have a lot to work on, and now we have to move past it.”

Loyd finished with 9-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, and hit 6-of-8 free throws. She also had four assists and four rebounds.

“I’m just trying to take what the defense gives me,” Loyd said. “Coach wants me to get inside and be mean, to attack the basket. I let the game come to me.”

Allen contributed 13 points, and had a dazzling offensive line with nine assists and only one turnover. She also had four rebounds.

Loyd said that Allen was exceptional in her Irish debut.

“Her vision on the court is unbelievable,” Loyd said. “She looks out, she has great handles and she’s always thinking a pass ahead. That’s something we’re always looking for in our offense.”

Michaela Mabrey scored 15 points and had six assists and five rebounds. Markisha Wright turned in a double-double effort, 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame owned a whopping 70-20 lead at halftime. The Irish hit the 50-point mark with 6:53 left in the first half.

Although the Irish owned a 64-16 margin in points in the paint, shot 61.8 percent compared to California shooting 30.3 percent, and forced 25 turnovers, McGraw wasn’t happen with the defensive effort.

“I was disappointed with our defense,” McGraw said. “I was disappointed with the intensity of our defense, I was disappointed with our transition defense, I was disappointed with our competitiveness defensively. I really was very disappointed with everyone on defense.”

NOTRE DAME 118, CALIFORNIA (PA.) 49

At Purcell Pavilion

CALIFORNIA (49): Elena Antonenko 7, Emma Mahady 11, Ryah Gadson 4, Kate Seebohm 5, Irinai Kukolj 3, Nia-Tayler Clark 0, Chelsea McKnight 0, Kaitlynn Fratz 8, Miki Glenn 6, Precious Martin 2, Perfect Martin 0, CeCe Dixon 0, Shanice Clark 3. TOTALS: 20 5-9 49

NOTRE DAME (118): Taya Reimer 27, Lindsay Allen 13, Madison Cable 6, Michaela Mabrey 15, Jewell Loyd 27, Whitney Holloway 1, Kristina Nelson 6, Hannah Huffman 4, Markisha Wright 16, Diamond Thompson 3. TOTALS: 42 29-39 118

Halftime score: Notre Dame 70, California 20. 3-point goals: California 4-19 (Antonenko 0-2, Mahady 1-2, Gadson 0-4, Seebohm 1-4, Kukolj 0-2, Fratz 2-5), Notre Dame 5-8 (Allen 1-1, Mabrey 1-4, Loyd 3-3). Total fouls (fouled out): California 26 (none), Notre Dame 13 (none).

Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd take the ball downcourt during the women's exhibition basketball game Wednesday night against California (Pa.) at the Purcell Pavilion.