Notre Dame finishes job at NC State to win outright ACC title

Aaron Beard
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Fourth-ranked Notre Dame didn't do a particularly good job protecting the basketball, nor getting freshman big Brianna Turner going.

Yet the Fighting Irish were still good enough to close out a second dominating regular-season run through the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Jewell Loyd scored 16 points to help Notre Dame beat North Carolina State 67-60 on Sunday, winning a 14th straight game and clinching a second straight outright ACC title.

"I couldn't be happier with where we are right now," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said.

Madison Cable added 12 points for the Fighting Irish (28-2, 15-1 ACC), who already had clinched the No. 1 seed for the league tournament in Greensboro. Turner, who came in averaging 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds, finished with eight points on 4-for-4 shooting.

Notre Dame shot 54 percent but committed 21 turnovers and didn't take firm control of this one until midway through the second half.

The Fighting Irish improved to 34-1 against ACC opponents in its two years in the league. They completed a 19-0 sweep to the league's regular-season and tournament titles last season, with the only league loss coming at Miami in early January.

"It's pretty awesome, but we've still got a lot of work to do and still have a long way to reach our goals," Loyd said of the 34-1 record. "We'll celebrate it for now but we've still got work to do."

Notre Dame took control with a 13-2 spurt to blow the game open — keyed by three straight 3-pointers from Cable — and take a 15-point lead with about 10½ minutes left.

Len'Nique Brown-Hoskin had 16 points to lead the undermanned Wolfpack (16-13, 7-9). N.C. State has been down to just seven scholarship players and nine total for the past month due to injuries, but hustled and scrapped to hang around.

N.C. State shot 38 percent and, unlike its upset of Duke two games earlier, couldn't knock down enough 3-pointers to stay with the Irish. The Wolfpack missed 16 of 20 on Sunday.

"I'm proud of the kids," second-year N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. "Still a tough year. I'm not a very good loser, sometimes very immature about it. It's not easy to take, but at the same time, I can't fault the kids."

Taya Reimer added 10 points for the Irish. Notre Dame went 6-for-16 from 3-point range and took a 36-27 rebounding edge. It was the fourth time this season it has had at least 20 turnovers.

N.C. State's Dominique Wilson scored 15 points and N.C. State had nine steals. 

Emotional return

N.C State had an emotional moment late when senior Krystal Barrett — who was lost for the season to a December knee injury — took the court late on Senior Day.

With the outcome already decided and ND backing off on defense, she buried a 3-pointer while hopping on one leg with 10.5 seconds left, setting off a celebration for the home bench that included hugs from teammates as well as applause from McGraw.

"I really can't express how I feel right now about it," Barrett said.

NOTRE DAME 67, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 60

At Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh, N.C.

NOTRE DAME (67): Brianna Turner 4-4 0-0 8, Taya Reimer 4-11 2-2 10, Lindsay Allen 4-8 0-0 8, Michaela Mabrey 2-8 0-0 4, Jewell Loyd 6-11 2-4 16, Madison Cable 4-5 0-0 12, Kathryn Westbeld 3-3 1-1 7, Markisha Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Huffman 0-0 2-2 2, Mychal Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Whitney Holloway 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 27-50 7-9 67.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE (60): Len’Nique Brown-Hoskin 7-17 2-2 16, Miah Spencer 6-16 0-0 12, Dominique Wilson 6-13 1-2 15, Jennifer Mathurin 1-4 0-0 3, Carlee Schuhmacher 0-5 0-0 0, Ashley Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Chelsea Nelson 0-2 3-4 3, Akela Maize 2-2 4-6 8, Krystal Barrett 1-1 0-0 3, Kaley Moser 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 23-60 10-14 60.

Halftime: Notre Dame 37, North Carolina State 31.

Shooting: Notre Dame 27 of 50 for 54.0 percent; North Carolina State 23 of 60 for 38.3 percent. 3-point shooting: Notre Dame 6 of 16 (Cable 4-5, Loyd 2-4, Allen 0-1, Mabrey 0-6) for 37.5 percent; North Carolina State 4 of 20 (Wilson 2-4, Barrett 1-1, Mathurin 1-4, Schuhmacher 0-1, Spencer 0-4, Brown-Hoskin 0-6) for 20 percent. Free-throwing shooting: Notre Dame 7 of 9 for 77.8 percent; North Carolina State 10 of 14 for 71.4 percent. Rebounds: Notre Dame 36 (Turner 5, Reimer 5, Allen 5, Loyd 5, Mabrey 4, Westbeld 4); North Carolina State 27 (Maize 5, Wilson 5, Mathurin 4). Assists: Notre Dame 16 (Allen 6, Reimer 2, Westbeld 2, Cable 2); North Carolina State 6 (Mathurin 2). Turnovers: Notre Dame 21 (Allen 5, Loyd 4, Mabrey 4); North Carolina State 13 (Mathurin 3, Brown-Hoskin 2, Spencer 2, Wilson 2, Maize 2). Blocked shots: Notre Dame 3 (Huffman 2, Mabrey 1); North Carolina State 1 (Schuhmacher 1). Steals: Notre Dame 9 (Turner 2, Westbeld 2); North Carolina State 9 (Spencer 4, Wilson 2, Williams 2). Total fouls (fouled out): Notre Dame 16 (none); North Carolina State 13 (none).Officials: Joe Cunningham, Tom Danaher, Karen Preato. Records: Notre Dame 28-2 overall, 15-1 Atlantic Coast Conference; North Carolina State 16-13 overall, 7-9 Atlantic Coast Conference. 

A—2,649.

Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen (15) drives to the basket between North Carolina State's Len'Nique Brown-Hoskin (2) and Miah Spencer (3) and teammate Kathryn Westbeld (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 1, 2015, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)