Frosh come up big in Notre Dame women's basketball romp over Boston College
SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame's 104-58 women's basketball victory over Boston College Sunday at the sold-out Purcell Pavilion was a celebration of youth.
Even with senior Madison Cable and juniors Jewell Loyd and Michaela Mabrey showing the way and sophomore Taya Reimer, in street clothes, no longer missing in action and back with her teammates, the 15th victory in 17 outings and third in four Atlantic Coast Conference contests for the No. 4 Irish was all about their freshmen trio of Brianna Turner, Kathryn Westbeld and Mychal Johnson.
“It's just a freshman thing,” cracked the 6-foot-3 Turner while eliciting laughter from head coach Muffet McGraw and the 6-foot-2 Westbeld, who were seated on the post-game interview rostrum.
Turner scored 21 points and Westbeld had a career-high 15 points, followed by diving-diva Cable with 14, Johnson with 13 and both Mabrey and Loyd with 11 each. Add in eight and seven points, respectively, from senior Markisha Wright and junior Hannah Huffman off the bench and it was easily Notre Dame's best scoring balance of the season – six in double figures and two knocking on the door.
There was something encouraging most everywhere McGraw looked but especially the performances of her three freshmen were the most eye-pleasing of all. In addition to her 21 points, Turner grabbed six rebounds, including four on the offensive end, had two blocks, two steals, two assists and no turnovers in 23 minutes. In 17 minutes, Westbeld also added four boards and two assists. In 24 minutes, Johnson had 13 points with the help of three 3-pointers, had three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
“It's been a long time since we've really relied on freshmen,” McGraw said. “We've had really good freshmen coming in, but there's always been the burden on the upperclassmen. I think we're asking these two (Turner and Westbeld) to do a lot.”
Westbeld acknowledged as much. “It's hard coming in as a freshman with the expectations that coach McGraw has for us,” she said. “My teammates are helping me every day. It's just a team effort that has helped me come along.”
The upperclassmen certainly will take 49 points from the freshmen and they weren't so bad themselves. In 21 minutes, Loyd had four assists, three rebounds and three steals in addition to her 11 points, which put her past 1,500 career points in 90 games, the second fastest in Notre Dame women's basketball history to current associate head coach Beth Morgan Cunningham, who did it in 80. It was Loyd's 60th straight double-digit scoring effort. Mabrey had three 3-pointers which certainly can help her shooting confidence.
Cable was everywhere. She was inserted in the starting lineup in Reimer's absence the last two games and Sunday produced 14 points, four rebounds, three steals, one assist and too-many-to-count floor burns with her hustling efforts.
“Yeah, I pretty much ache everywhere,” Cable said with a chuckle. “It was good to see Taya again, just as it was good the way we played in the first half coming off the Miami game. It was good to get back on track.”
Notre Dame shot 64.5 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes and nine of the 10 players McGraw sent into the game scored points as the Irish took a 58-24 halftime lead. Perhaps the prettiest scoring play came at the 14:06 mark when Westbeld directed a pass to her with a soft touch to the high-flying Turner for an easy layup and a 19-13 lead. That began a 17-0 run over the next 5½ minutes that put Notre Dame in command.
“The first half was phenomenal,” McGraw said.
The Irish had 15 assists on their 20 baskets, forced 16 Boston College turnovers with the help of 10 steals, had just six turnovers themselves and went 13:08 with just one foul – that being an offensive one – before finishing with just six. Notre Dame outrebounded Boston College 20-7, including 9-3 on the offensive boards.
The second half was pretty much more of the same and it was just a matter of when for the Irish – when they would reach 88 points to ensure the 9,149 fans a fast-food sandwich coupon. Cable did that with a jumper, on an assist from Huffman, with 9:00 to play. They would reach the century mark for the fourth time this season when Johnson nailed a 3-pointer off a Whitney Holloway feed with 2:17 remaining.
For the game, Notre Dame shot 57.8 percent while holding Boston College to 33.3 percent and had edges in rebounds (42-31), assists (27-13) and steals (15-6) while also outscoring the Eagles inside, 52-12, off turnovers 41-10, on second chances 22-8, on the fast break 10-0 and on the bench 45-13. All good numbers to take with them into practice with Reimer in preparation for Thursday night's key ACC battle at No. 8 North Carolina.
The Irish also beat the Eagles to the post-game interview. Usually, the home team goes last but Boston College head coach Erik Johnson and team captain Nichole Boudreau, a junior guard, did some post-game lecturing.
“They came back with a vengeance,” Johnson said after his team fell to 8-8 overall and 0-3 in the ACC. "They cut hard. They made it very difficult for us to run our offense. They rebounded extremely well, they ran the floor and, you know, we got exposed on some things. It was a great learning experience for our young team. Notre Dame plays hard consistently. There's a reason that they have the record they do.”
Sophomore wing Emilee Dailey had 12 points, freshman guard Ashley Kelsick had 11 and Boudreau had 10 points for the Eagles.
“We were really just shattered after that last game,” McGraw said. “There were so many things that we didn't do well, so it was really great to come out and be firing on all cylinders."
• NOTRE DAME 104, BOSTON COLLEGE 58
At Purcell Pavilion, South Bend
BOSTON COLLEGE (58): Karima Gabriel 1-4 1-2 3, Ashley Kelsick 3-14 3-4 11, Nicole Boudreau 4-8 0-0 10, Emilee Daley 4-6 0-0 12, Kelly Hughes 3-7 0-0 9, Alexa Coulombe 1-1 0-0 2, Lauren Engeln 0-2 2-3 2, Martina Mosetti 2-6 0-0 6, Katie Quandt 1-5 0-0 2, Kat Cooper 0-4 1-4 1, TOTALS 19-57 7-13 58.
NOTRE DAME (104): Brianna Turner 8-11 5-8 21, Lindsay Allen 1-5 0-0 2, Madison Cable 4-4 4-4 14, Michaela Mabrey 3-6 2-2 11, Jewell Loyd 5-9 1-3 11, Kathryn Westbeld 5-7 5-5 15, Mychal Johnson 4-9 2-2 13, Hannah Huffman 3-5 1-1 7, Markisha Wright 4-7 0-0 8, Whitney Holloway 0-1 2-2 2, Diamond Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 37-64 22-27 104.
Halftime: Notre Dame 58, Boston College 24.
Shooting: Boston College 19 of 57 for 33.3 percent; Notre Dame 37 of 64 for 57.8 percent. 3-point shooting: Boston College 13 of 22 (Daley 4-5, Hughes 3-5, Mosetti 2-2, Boudreau 2-3, Kelsick 2-5, Cooper 0-2) for 59.1 percent; Notre Dame 8 of 14 (Johnson 3-5, Mabrey 3-6, Cable 2-2, Allen 0-1) for 57.1 percent. Rebounds: Boston College 31 (Gabriel 12, Quandt 4, Kelsick 4); Notre Dame 42 (Wright 6, Turner 6, Westbeld 4, Allen 4, Cable 4). Assists: Boston College 13 (Boudreau 3, Hughes 3, Engeln 3, Kelsick 2); Notre Dame 27 (Allen 5, Loyd 4, Mabrey 3, Johnson 3, Huffman 3). Blocked shots: Boston College 5 (Coulombe 2, Quandt 2); Notre Dame 3 (Turner 2, Wright 1). Steals: Boston College 6 (Kelsick 2); Notre Dame 15 (Cable 3, Loyd 3, Turner 2, Mabrey 2, Johnson 2, Huffman 2). Turnovers: Boston College 26 (Hughes 7, Kelsick 5, Boudreau 3); Notre Dame 13 (Cable 3, Mabrey 2, Loyd 2, Huffman 2, Westbeld 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Boston College 20 (none); Notre Dame 15 (none).
Officials: Lawson Newton, Bob Enterline, Dawn Marsh. Records: Boston College 8-8, 0-3 ACC; Notre Dame 15-2, 3-1 ACC. A—9,149.