WCBK

No. 2 Notre Dame 75, South Florida 66

Share This Story

   
 

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)

Natalie Achonwa's stellar performance means Notre Dame will keep playing.

Achonwa had 20 points and 20 rebounds to lead the second-ranked Irish to a 75-66 win over South Florida on Sunday in the Big East women's tournament quarterfinals.

''Achonwa's numbers were record setting at Notre Dame - 20-20 is a phenomenal accomplishment,'' coach Muffet McGraw said.

It was the first 20-20 in Big East tournament play since Rebecca Lobo did it in 1993.

But McGraw called Ariel Braker, who finished with eight points and 12 rebounds, the player of the game.

''She made so many big plays when she needed them,'' McGraw said. ''Totally above and beyond her call. She's one of our best defenders and rebounders; she helped us on offense tonight.''

At this time of year, McGraw said, it's really just about surviving and advancing, not style. Top-seeded Notre Dame earned its school record 24th straight victory.

Skylar Diggins, the Big East player of the year, added 15 points for the Irish, who will face No. 13 Louisville in the semifinals Monday night. She had a rough day, going 5 for 21 from the field.

She wasn't concerned.

''Every game is an elimination game, so as long as we're winning, it's OK,'' Diggins said.

Notre Dame and South Florida met in early January, and the Irish came away with a 75-71 overtime victory. Sunday's game was more of the same.

Notre Dame (29-1) trailed 51-47 midway through the second half before scoring eight straight points, including four by Achonwa.

The Smith sisters - Andrell and Andrea - did all they could to keep the Bulls (21-10) in the game, but they couldn't regain the lead.

Andrell finished with 27 points while Andrea had 18.

''I was happy that Andrell had such a good game,'' South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said. ''She had been struggling a little bit offensively. To ask her to guard an All-American for 40 minutes and play as well offensively - that was a great performance.''

Andrea Smith hit the first of two free throws with 5:08 left to pull within 61-57. But Notre Dame scored the next six points - including four by Kayla McBride, who had a quiet game otherwise - to put the game away.

With the Irish's win, every top seed in the history of the Big East tournament has reached the semifinals. Notre Dame had to work hard to keep that streak alive.

Achonwa came up with almost every big play to help the Irish, whether grabbing an offensive rebound or making a key defensive play.

''The second half I worked before I got the ball,'' Achonwa said. ''A lot was catch and shoot - the guards did a great job of finding me.''

With the Bulls trailing 39-31 early in the second half, the Smith sisters rallied the team. They scored 15 of the next 17 points for the Bulls to give South Florida a 48-45 lead with 12:50 left after Andrea Smith hit a 3-pointer. Inga Orehkova's 3-pointer made it 51-47.

''I think anytime you make shots you can beat anybody,'' McGraw said. ''They made 10 3's. I think they are a great team. Great team speed. They push the ball well. They know their role and they can shoot.''

---

Follow Doug on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


FOX SPORTS Videos

Why is LeSean McCoy practicing blindfolded? Posted: Aug 12, 2014
Donovan McNabb and Mike Garafolo talk Eagles RB 'Shady' McCoy.

Could Richie Incognito get another NFL job? Posted: Aug 12, 2014
Donovan McNabb and Mike Garafolo talk Richie Incognito.

Byron Scott: No Laker Can Beat Me In Horse - @TheBuzzeronFOX Posted: Aug 12, 2014
The Lakers new coach is still pretty confident in his shot. Kobe Bryant might ha...

WCBK Headlines

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Zephyr Florida Gators White DH Fitted Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/21914/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_21000/DS_21914_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Zephyr Florida Gators White DH Fitted Hat
    Zephyr Florida Gators Royal Blue DH Fitted Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/50646/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_50000/DS_50646_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Zephyr Florida Gators Royal Blue DH Fitted Hat
    Ohio State Buckeyes Scrub Top - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/60808/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_60000/FF_60808_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Scrub Top - Gray
    Nike Texas Longhorns #7 Burnt Orange Replica Football Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Texas_Longhorns/browse/featuredproduct/62039/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_62000/FF_62039_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 Nike Texas Longhorns #7 Burnt Orange Replica Football Jersey
    Ohio State Buckeyes Scarlet Scrub Top --- http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/67086/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_67000/FF_67086_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Scarlet Scrub Top ---
    Michigan Wolverines Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_Wolverines/browse/featuredproduct/70367/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70367_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Michigan Wolverines Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Florida State Seminoles Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_State_Seminoles/browse/featuredproduct/70625/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70625_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Florida State Seminoles Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Texas Longhorns Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Texas_Longhorns/browse/featuredproduct/70626/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70626_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Texas Longhorns Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Kentucky Wildcats Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Kentucky_Wildcats/browse/featuredproduct/70627/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70627_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Kentucky Wildcats Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt
    Ohio State Buckeyes Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/70628/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_70000/DS_70628_xl.jpg&w=100 12.95 Ohio State Buckeyes Ash Vertical Arch Logo T-shirt