No. 18 Notre Dame 92, Wake Forest 69
Natalie Novosel scored a career-high 23 points and No. 18 Notre Dame handed Wake Forest its first loss of the season, 92-69 on Saturday in the WBCA Classic.
Novosel scored 15 of her points in the first half, when she was 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. Four other players scored in double figures for the Irish (4-2), including Erica Solomon with 14 points, Devereaux Peters with 12, and Natalie Achonwa and Skylar Diggins with 11 each.
''We need to do better than that when we get into Big East play,'' Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. ''My mother just told me that I should be happy with this win, but I'm not.''
Lindsy Wright led Wake Forest (4-1) with 14 points while Secily Ray added 13.
After breaking out to a 45-28 halftime edge, the Irish quickly established a 26-point lead in the second half and coasted from there. Their largest lead was 77-45 midway through the half.
''We just did not react very well to the moment,'' Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen said. ''Here we are playing in front of 8,294 people and we didn't keep our composure very well.
''I'm not a silver-lining kind of guy, especially when we lose by this much. We never had control of the tempo and Notre Dame forced us to foul. That allowed Notre Dame to set up the 3/4-court trap which depresses our tempo.''
Irish senior point guard Brittany Mallory returned to the lineup after missing two games due to an injury sustained against UCLA and added three points.
Novosel was one of the bright spots for Notre Dame, leading the team in scoring for the second time this season. She had 21 points against Kentucky.
''I'm still mad about that one free throw,'' said Novosel, who was 11 of 12 from the foul line along with 5 of 9 from the field. ''I had the mindset at the beginning of the year to come in and be one of our top scorers. I think I am just trying to fit into it.''