Notre Dame defense falters in loss to BC

Anthony Anderson
Tribune Correspondent

SOUTH BEND — Only a Sunday shocker will save Notre Dame from the longest home losing streak in its women’s basketball history now.

Stoked up Boston College outscored the Irish 11-4 over the final five minutes of the first half, then 26-14 during the third quarter to seize control of a 75-65 victory Thursday night at Purcell Pavilion.

Notre Dame (6-10, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) dropped its fourth consecutive home game, matching 2002-03 for its longest Purcell dry spell, and next welcomes No. 9 North Carolina State to town Sunday.

The Wolfpack were upset, 66-60, at rival North Carolina on Thursday, but still stand 14-1 overall, 3-1 in league play.

The Eagles (9-6, 2-2) not only halted a string of 14 losses overall to the Irish, winning for the first time since a 2006 NCAA Tournament first-round matchup, but defeated ND for the first time ever at Purcell, spanning 15 chances.

Notre Dame fell for the sixth time in its last eight games and dropped to 48-2 all-time in ACC home contests, the only other loss coming 11 days earlier against Clemson.

The Eagles took a 37-34 lead into the intermission thanks to that 11-4 run ending the first half.

They stretched the spread to 63-48 entering the final quarter with their 26-12 third-period dominance.

The Irish got no closer than nine points the rest of the way, doing so at the 5:52 and 3:44 marks.

BC ate up ND’s blend of defenses from both outside — draining 7-of-14 on 3-pointers over the first three quarters — and in the paint, collecting 34 points there.

Some of that was fueled by the Eagles outscrapping the Irish to the tune of 17 offensive rebounds during the initial three periods, which helped produce a 24-6 advantage in second-chance points entering the closing quarter.

Sophomore forward Taylor Soule scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the winners. Sophomore guard Cameron Swartz added 14 points, and senior forward Emma Guy finished with 11 points and 12 boards.

Destinee Walker led all scorers with 21 points for the Irish, going 7-of-15 from the field and 6-of-6 at the line.

Sam Brunelle added 15 points and eight rebounds. Katlyn Gilbert scored 11 points, but was just 4-of-15 from the field. Anaya Peoples netted 10 points.

Mikki Vaughn paced ND rebounders with nine, to go with six points, and teammate Marta Sniezek paced all players in assists with eight. She took just one shot, though, missing it.

Sniezek also coaxed her 19th opposition charging foul of the season, tying Koko Nelson’s unofficial program standard of two seasons ago.

The first half was peppered with eight ties and four lead changes, with each team’s largest advantage being five points. BC took the lead for good at 33-32.

The surging Eagles won for the fourth time in their last five games, the lone loss being 72-54 to the Wolfpack.

Notre Dame slipped to 2-6 on the season at Purcell.

The Irish have never finished with a losing home record under 33rd-year head coach Muffet McGraw, the closest such being 7-7 in 1991-92.

Their lone losing home record over their 10 seasons prior to McGraw’s arrival came in 1980-81, their first year as an NCAA Division program, when they went 6-7.

Notre Dame’s Katlyn Gilbert (10) shoots over Boston College’s Cameron Swartz (1) during Thursday’s game in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s Mikayla Vaughn (30) blocks a shot by Boston College’s Makayla Dickens (10) during Thursday’s game at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s Marta Sniezek (13) gets called for a charge as she hits Boston College’s Cameron Swartz (1) during Thursday night’s game at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.