SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Brianna Turner raced toward the basket, leapt in the air, caught the lob pass from Lindsay Allen and quickly tossed it in the basket.
Next trip down the floor, Turner took another high pass from Jewell Loyd for the alley-oop layup as the Irish jumped to a quick 7-0 lead against Boston College. Turner scored two more baskets on lob passes from teammates in the opening six minutes and she finished with 21 points during a 104-58 rout of the Eagles on Sunday.
”They just throw the ball to the backboard and I just tipped it in,” Turner said.
Boston College guard Nicole Boudreau said she finds it hard to believe Turner is only 6-foot-3.
”I felt like she was 6-7 with just how long she is,” said Boudreau, who finished with 10 points. ”We couldn’t find an answer for that in the first half.”
Boston College coach Erik Johnson said it’s a style of play unfamiliar to women’s basketball.
”It’s different throwing to someone who can catch the ball up there,” Johnson said. ”You watch the NBA guys get used to just throwing some of those drive-and-dish passes, whereas in the women’s game we’re still accustomed to throwing bounce passes.”
It wasn’t just Turner, though. Kathryn Westbeld, another freshman, matched her season-high with 15 points and four other Irish finished in double figures as the Irish outscored Boston College 52-12 in the pain and outshot the Eagles 58 percent to 33 percent.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said it was the best the Irish have played this season, especially in the first half.
”I was really pleased with the rebounding, the defense and the offense. You can see glimmers. There’s been moments. But that’s the first time we’ve had a whole half of it. That was really good to see,” she said.
Notre Dame (15-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) hadn’t been dominant in recent games, needing to rally from nine points down to beat Florida State 74-68, trailed late in the first half against Syracuse and trailed by as many as 22 before losing to Miami 78-63.
”I thought it was really important to get our confidence back,” McGraw said. ”We were really just shattered after that last game. There were so many things that didn’t go well. It was really great to be firing on all cylinders.”
Johnson said he told the Eagles (8-8, 0-3) they need to try to emulate the Irish.
”Their lapses are small and their stretches of excellence are long,” he said.
Emilee Daley led Boston College with 12 points and Ashley Kelsick added 11. Kelly Hughes, Boston College’s leading scorer at 15.7 points a game, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points.
Madison Cable added 14 points for the Irish, Mychal Johnson had 13 and Michaela Mabrey and Loyd had 11 each.
Boston College: The Eagles last beat Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2006. Overall, Boston College is 5-16 against the Irish. The Eagles had lost the previous four games against Notre Dame by an average of 35.3 points.
Notre Dame: Diamond Thompson was in uniform for the first time since injuring her calf at DePaul on Dec. 10. She got in the game with four minutes left. … Notre Dame won its 12th straight after a double-digit loss. … The 104 points is the most the Irish have scored against the Eagles.
Forward Taya Reimer, who started Notre Dame’s first 15 games, was at the game Sunday after missing the game at Miami for personal reasons. She wasn’t in uniform, though, after not practicing in recent days. Fans cheered her appearance, with one woman shouting: ”Glad to see ya, Taya!”
McGraw said she expects Reimer to be at practice Monday. McGraw said she allowed Reimer to take time off to think about some things. McGraw said Reimer never expressed an interest to her in transferring.
”She was concerned. She wants to play well. She’s a really good player, she has a lot of talent. We had a really good conversation about how we’re going to get there.”
Boston College: Plays at Virginia on Thursday.
Notre Dame: Plays at No. 8 North Carolina on Thursday.