Late rally gives Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw 800th win

Nate Barnes
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — No. 3 Notre Dame clamped down in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh to give coach Muffett McGraw her 800th victory.

The Panthers, shooting only 1-for-6 from the field and committing five turnovers down the stretch, scored just two points in the final 7:45 after they took a 53-51 lead on Yacine Diop's layup, and fell to the Irish, 65-55.

Brianna Turner scored 20 points to lead Notre Dame (13-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).

"Down the stretch we wanted to go to the veterans," McGraw said. "We got Brianna and Madison (Cable) to the free throw line, which was about the only way we could score (23-of-29 from the line)."

McGraw became the 10th coach to reach 800 victories and the sixth-fastest to accomplish the feat. She joined Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, Tennessee's Pat Summitt, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Dean Smith as the only coaches in men's or women's Division I history to have 800 wins, seven Final Four trips and five championship-game appearances.

"At least we'll be remembered for something,'' Pittsburgh coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. "She got her 800th win against us. She's been so successful. Her teams have always done so well, and it's a compliment of her. She has impacted the women's game at the highest level."

McGraw has 712 victories in 29 seasons at Notre Dame after winning 88 times in five seasons at Lehigh. She led Notre Dame to the 2001 title and has made 22 NCAA Tournament appearances with the Irish.

Turner had eight points in Notre Dame's game-ending 14-2 run.

"We had a huge advantage," McGraw said. "We just couldn't seem to find her in the first half. We needed to execute a little bit better."

Cable, who had 16 points, is a graduate of nearby Mount Lebanon High School.

"I saw a lot of familiar faces in the stands, so it was exciting to come home," Cable said. "For coach to get her 800th win in my city of Pittsburgh was exciting as well."

Diop scored 16 points for Pitt (8-6, 0-1). Kalista Walters added 14, and Brenna Wise had 13.

"They capitalized on our mistakes," McConnell-Serio said. "When we turned the ball over, they capitalized, created scoring opportunities and we put them on the free throw line."

Notre Dame led 33-31 at halftime on Arike Ogunbowale's last-second layup. The first-half featured five ties and 11 lead changes. Walters made back-to-back baskets to key a quick 6-0 spurt and help Pitt grab a lead out of halftime. Lindsay Allen tied it at 49 with a layup to end the third quarter.

Notre Dame took the lead back 3 minutes into the fourth quarter when Turner tipped in a lob from Hannah Huffman and completed a three-point play with the free throw. Turner's alley-oop score sparked a 9-0 run to give the Fighting Irish a 62-53 lead.

The Irish beat Pitt for the seventh consecutive year and are 24-3 all-time against the Panthers. Notre Dame has won each of the past seven matchups, and by an average of 29.2 points.

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Notre Dame plays at Virginia on Thursday night while Pittsburgh is at Miami on Thursday night.

NOTRE DAME (13-1): Turner 7-11 6-8 20, Westbeld 1-4 2-2 4, Allen 2-6 4-5 8, Cable 3-9 9-10 16, Mi. Mabrey 1-2 0-0 3, Ogunbowale 4-11 1-3 9, Ma. Mabrey 2-10 1-1 5, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 0-1 0-0 0, Huffman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-54 23-29 65.

PITTSBURGH (8-6): Diop 7-14 2-2 16, Walters 7-12 0-3 14, Wise 4-10 4-4 13, Carey 2-4 0-0 4, Bugg 3-9 2-2 8, Lamb 0-0 0-0 0, Bradley 0-2 0-0 0, Walsh 0-0 0-0 0, Potvin 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 8-11 55.

Notre Dame 20 13 16 16—65

Pittsburgh 19 12 18 6—55

3-Point Goals--Notre Dame 2-8 (Mi. Mabrey 1-1, Cable 1-4, Westbeld 0-1, Ma. Mabrey 0-1, Allen 0-1), Pittsburgh 1-6 (Wise 1-2, Potvin 0-1, Diop 0-1, Bugg 0-2). Fouled Out--Carey. Rebounds--Notre Dame 38 (Ogunbowale 9), Pittsburgh 32 (Carey 9). Assists--Notre Dame 11 (Huffman 4), Pittsburgh 17 (Bugg 10). Total Fouls--Notre Dame 16, Pittsburgh 23. A--3,610.

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw signals to her team as they play Sunday against Pitt in what turned out to be her 800th career victory (AP Photo/KEITH SRAKOCIC)