Notre Dame women’s basketball: Irish race past Valparaiso

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND - It took 2 minutes and 10 seconds for Notre Dame to score its first point of Satur-day’s women’s basketball contest against Valparaiso. It only took 1:27 from that point for the Irish to build a 9-0 lead.

Notre Dame’s explosive-ness leveled Valparaiso, as the No. 6-ranked Fighting Irish blasted to a 96-46 victory.

Notre Dame (3-0) gets a week off before a Nov. 23 trip to Philadelphia to play Penn at the fabled Palestra. The Irish now own a 25-0 mark in the series against Valparaiso. The Crusaders (0-3) host IU-PUI on Thursday.

Sophomore guard Jewell Loyd scored 22 points in 21 minutes of play for Notre Dame. She also had seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Irish freshman post Taya Reimer scored 13 points, had six assists and swatted away four Valpo shots.

Notre Dame point guard Lindsay Allen, also a fresh-man, scored 15 points.

Irish seniors Kayla McBride and Ariel Braker scored eight points each. McBride had six rebounds and Braker had eight.

Notre Dame built a 46-24 at halftime, and then opened up the second half with a 12-0 run for a 58-24 lead.

Saturday’s game honored 2013 Notre Dame graduate and former South Bend Washington High School star Skylar Diggins, a four-time Irish All-American. Diggins was inducted into Notre Dame’s Ring of Honor just before tip-off.

“No more emotional pre-games,” McGraw said after the game. “We got off to such a slow start. I thought the emotion of the day maybe was what the problem was. It took two and a half minutes for us to get our first basket. Then I thought that we really started playing well. I thought that Lindsay (Allen) was do-ing a great job pushing the ball. She and Jewell (Loyd) were the sparks offensively, especially early in the first half, when we needed to get it going. I was really pleased with both of them.”

Loyd, a 5-foot-10 guard, connected on 9-of-14 shots and 4-of-4 free throws. She had five offensive rebounds in her total of seven.

“I think the biggest change is how active she is on the glass,” McGraw said of how Loyd has developed from her freshman season. “I think she’s really doing a great job of rebounding, both ends, of-fensively and defensively. She’s not settling for shots. She’s attacking the basket. She’s in there all the time, re-bounding. Even if she’s not getting it, she’s tipping it and trying to keep it alive. She’s a lot more aggressive looking to score, and we really need her to do that. She really mixes it up well. She drives it, she shoots the 3. She’s really, really hard to guard, because you just don’t know what she’s going to do.”

Valpo coach Tracey Dorow said that her club didn’t have an answer for Loyd, and that there proba-bly aren’t many teams that will have an answer for Loyd.

“I think (Loyd) will present a lot of match-up problems for everybody,” Dorow said. “She’s just so quick, and she’s explosive, she rebounds the ball hard. She can play any-where she wants to play. She’s a great player. There’s no doubt about it. She’s go-ing to have a very nice year. I think she hurt us everywhere. Obviously, she defends well, too. And she seemed to get to the boards.”

Loyd credited Allen with running the life-in-the-fast-lane Irish attack.

“With our transition, just running out, Lindsay is look-ing up, that makes it easy,” Loyd said. “I’m just trying to stay with it, and I got a lot of second-chance points. I’m just trying to be in the right spot at the right time.”

Notre Dame burned Valpo for a 16-0 edge in fastbreak points.

“I thought that’s the best our transition game has looked,” McGraw said. “We really were running the floor well. I thought we rebounded the ball well, got the ball and threw it ahead. Some good things were happening for us. I was really pleased with our transition game. That was an emphasis coming out of the half. We really wanted to get on the scoreboard early. De-fensively, we came up with some steals that helped get that going. That was a big key for us.”

Liz Horton led Valpo with 11 points.

VALPARAISO (0-3): Sharon Karungi 2-5 3-4 7, Abby Dean 2-9 0-0 5, Lexi Miller 1-4 0-0 2, Charae Richardson 1-6 6-6 8, Jessi Wiedemann 3-10 0-0 9, Elizabeth Hamlet 0-3 0-1 0, Faith Miller 1-4 2-2 4, Liz Horton 3-4 4-4 11, Jazmin Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-45 15-17 46.

NOTRE DAME (3-0): Taya Reimer 5-9 3-6 13, Ariel Braker 3-5 1-3 7, Lindsay Allen 7-10 0-0 15, Kayla McBride 3-6 2-2 8, Jewell Loyd 9-14 4-4 22, Whitney Hol-loway 0-2 0-0 0, Kristina Nelson 3-4 0-1 6, Madison Cable 3-5 0-0 8, Michaela Mabrey 5-14 0-0 11, Hannah Huffman 2-4 0-0 4, Markisha Wright 0-1 0-0 0, Dia-mond Thompson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 41-76 10-16 96.

Halftime — Notre Dame 46-24. 3-Point Goals — Valparaiso 5-17 (Wiedemann 3-6, Horton 1-1, Dean 1-4, F. Miller 0-1, L. Miller 0-1, Hamlet 0-2, Richardson 0-2), Notre Dame 4-12 (Cable 2-3, Allen 1-1, Mabrey 1-5, Holloway 0-1, Loyd 0-2). Fouled Out — Karungi. Rebounds — Valparaiso 22 (Karungi 7), Notre Dame 49 (Braker 8). Assists — Valparaiso 8 (Dean, L. Miller, Richardson 2), Notre Dame 22 (Reimer 6). Total Fouls — Val-paraiso 13, Notre Dame 16. A — 8,508.

Notre Dame's Kayla McBride, right, looks for a shot with pressure from Valparaiso's Jessi Wiedemann, left, and Charae Richardson during Saturday's game at Purcell Pavilion.