WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Third time's a charm! Olivia Miles sets Notre Dame women triple-double mark vs. Merrimack

Anthony Anderson
Associated Press
Dec 10, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Olivia Miles (5) passes the ball in the second half against the Merrimack Warriors at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Olivia Miles became the first Notre Dame player with three career triple-doubles as the No. 5 Fighting Irish overwhelmed Merrimack 108-44 on Saturday.

Miles, who last March became the first freshman, male or female, to record a triple-double in an NCAA Tournament game, finished at 13 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists in 28 minutes against the Warriors. The rebounding and assists matched career bests.

“I come in every game saying I’m going to do X, Y and Z for the program,” Miles said. “When I start off well, when I control what I can control, I think it really helps our team. When I’m not playing great, it’s not like we don’t play great, but I’m trying to set the tone for my team. I feel like it’s my responsibility.”

Miles passed Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jackie Young, who each notched a pair of triple-doubles during their careers.

Lauren Ebo scored 17 points and went 9 of 9 at the line to pace seven players in double figures for Notre Dame (8-1). Dara Mabrey added 14 points, Sonia Citron 13, Nat Marshall 13 and Maddy Westbeld 12.

“Pretty much all across the board, it was phenomenal,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said of her team’s performance.

Jayme DeCesare led Merrimack (1-8) with 15 points, going 5 of 9 on 3-pointers. Marissa Hamilton added 12.

Notre Dame outrebounded the Warriors 57-24, outscored them 58-12 in the paint and outscored them 47-7 off the bench.

“Obviously, their size is a monster to deal with, and they come at you in waves,” Merrimack coach Kelly Morrone said. “I thought there were times we were able to (limit) some things, but they kept coming.”

Notes:Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw honored with Pat Summitt Award

Big picture

Notre Dame: The Irish were glad to get back on the court after Thursday’s game at Lafayette was postponed due to health protocols within the Leopards’ program. Notre Dame hadn’t played since Sunday’s 74-60 win over then-No. 3 Connecticut, and now has eight days until its next game.

Merrimack: The school joined Division I and the Northeast Conference in 2019-20 to begin a four-year probationary period. The Warriors are 15-35 in the last two-plus seasons, after going 20-9 overall, 13-5 in the NEC, in its DI debut season.

Dec 10, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Maddy Westbeld (21) grabs a rebound in the first half against the Merrimack Warriors at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Free and easy

The Irish made 34 of 38 free throws for 89.5%, all season bests.

“Free throws are a big emphasis for us,” Miles said. “We’re drivers, so we draw a lot of fouls.”

Injury front

Merrimack played a third straight time without injured senior guard Kaylee Thomas. She's the No. 3 scorer on the season at 7.2 points per game.

Up next

Notre Dame: The stakes increase for the Irish when they open their Atlantic Coast Conference season at No. 7 Virginia Tech on Sunday, Dec. 18.

Merrimack: The Warriors face an in-state opponent for the fifth time in their first 10 games when they host NAIA member Fisher College of Boston next Saturday.

No. 5 Notre Dame 108, Merrimack College 44

MERRIMACK COLLEGE: (1-8): Hamilton 5-19 0-0 12, Staton 2-8 1-1 5, Bray 2-8 1-2 5, DeCesare 5-10 0-0 15, Manion 0-2 0-0 0, Fursman 2-4 0-1 4, Wise-Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Christian 0-5 1-2 1, Melaschenko 1-5 0-0 2, Okoh 0-0 0-0 0, Powell 0-2 0-0 0, Totals 17-63 3-6 44

NOTRE DAME (8-1): Watson 3-4 3-4 9, Westbeld 5-6 2-2 12, Citron 6-10 1-1 13, Mabrey 5-12 0-0 14, Miles 3-4 7-8 13, Ebo 4-5 9-9 17, Bransford 3-10 4-5 10, Brown 1-3 2-2 4, Cernugel 1-1 0-0 2, Cha 0-0 1-2 1, Marshall 4-8 5-5 13, Totals 35-63 34-38 108

Merrimack College812121244
Notre Dame27282627108

3-Point Goals—Merrimack College 7-23 (Hamilton 2-7, Staton 0-1, Bray 0-2, DeCesare 5-9, Fursman 0-2, Christian 0-2), Notre Dame 4-11 (Westbeld 0-1, Citron 0-2, Mabrey 4-7, Miles 0-1). Assists—Merrimack College 8 (Manion 3), Notre Dame 24 (Miles 14). Fouled Out—Merrimack College Melaschenko. Rebounds—Merrimack College 24 (DeCesare 4, Staton 4), Notre Dame 56 (Miles 13). Total Fouls—Merrimack College 25, Notre Dame 7. Technical Fouls—None. A—4,670.