No. 5 Notre Dame 100, Alabama A&M 39
LAS VEGAS (AP)
Notre Dame returned from a 10-day layoff and picked up right where it left off.
Kayla McBride scored 16 points to lead four teammates in double figures as the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish cruised to a 100-39 victory over Alabama A&M in the first round of the World Vision Classic on Wednesday.
Notre Dame, off for exams since a 109-70 victory against Utah State on Dec. 8, reached triple digits in consecutive games for the first time in school history.
''I was really pleased with the way we shot the ball,'' Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. ''We had 10 days off between games, and we didn't get to shoot on the court here before the game. I thought we'd be rusty, but I thought we looked pretty good. We only made 10 turnovers.
"You look at the layoff, and you think you're not going to look sharp, but 26 assists and 10 turnovers, those were the most pleasing statistics.''
Skylar Diggins and Whitney Holloway had 15 points each for the Fighting Irish (7-1). Madison Cable added 13 points and Ariel Braker had 12.
''It's funny, because when you're not allowed to practice, you are allowed to shoot,'' McGraw said. ''Kayla McBride has done a lot of shooting over the past couple of weeks, and she really has looked good shooting the ball. Madison Cable, the same thing. She has gotten a lot of shots in.''
Jasmine Sanders scored 10 points for Alabama A&M (1-6).
''Their pressure got to us,'' Alabama A&M coach Altherias Warmley said. ''I thought that Notre Dame played a great 40-minute game. There were parts of the first half where we did well at making our reads and executing and doing some of the things that we wanted to, but at the end, we were worn down. They picked up the pressure in the second half.''
Notre Dame never trailed and was up 45-24 at halftime. McBride led the Fighting Irish with 14 points in the opening half while Natalie Achonwa had seven rebounds and four assists.
''My teammates have faith in me and they find me in open spots,'' McBride said. ''The 15-foot pull-up is my favorite shot. They know where to find me. They were making great assists, and I was able to make shots.''
In the second half, Holloway led all scorers with 13 points and scored the final basket of the game that gave the Irish their record. Her 15 points were a career best.
Kaila Turner (seven assists and seven steals) and Cable were also big in the backcourt for the Irish, who had 19 steals and committed just 10 turnovers while the Lady Bulldogs had four steals and 29 turnovers. Notre Dame also finished with a 37-9 edge in points off turnovers.
''I thought Whitney Holloway and Kaila Turner really played well,'' McGraw said. ''They found people open, they took the shots when they had them. I was pleased with their overall game.''
Cable, who scored nine points on three 3s near the midway point of the second half, returned to the lineup this season after missing the 2011-12 campaign due to a foot injury. Cable and Holloway led a Fighting Irish bench that had a 44-16 scoring advantage over the Lady Bulldogs.
''I had some great passes from Whitney and K.T. (Turner), so they did the hard part,'' Cable said. ''I just had open shots. They just found me.''
Markisha Wright was another Irish bench player with a career best, as she grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds, including 11 in the second half.