Jewell leads No. 4 Notre Dame women past Michigan

This was the type of game Jewell Loyd was looking for after an

extended break for No. 4 Notre Dame.

Loyd scored 20 points, Natalie Achonwa had 18 points and nine

rebounds and the Fighting Irish cruised to an 86-64 victory over

Michigan on Saturday night.

”I wanted to come out here and be aggressive,” Loyd said. ”I

haven’t been shooting the ball well at all recently, so it was good

for me to come out here and get a good feel.”

Loyd was 10 for 14 from the field and also had four rebounds and

three assists in a team-high 34 minutes. Michaela Mabrey added 14

points in the Irish’s first game since a 90-48 victory over UCLA on

Dec. 7.

Notre Dame (9-0) put this one away early, carrying a 47-23 lead

into the break. The Irish shot 59 percent from the floor and forced

19 turnovers, including 13 in the decisive first half.

”We really got the transition game going,” coach Muffet McGraw

said. ”I was happy with the offense and the defense, really. I

thought we played really well.”

Reserve guard Shannon Smith scored 23 points for Michigan (7-4),

which had won six of seven. Cyesha Goree had 15 points and seven

rebounds, and Siera Thompson finished with 10 points.

”For us, one of the takeaways is we played well in the second

half,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. ”So I was very

encouraged by that. We talked a lot about it at halftime, fighting

back and all those things we did a lot better job in the second

half. I think we were surprised in the first half, but we responded

and I was happy about that.”

Notre Dame grabbed control by scoring 23 of the final 32 points

in the first half. The Irish made 22 of their first 32 shots,

compared to an 8-for-25 start for the Wolverines before the

break.

Smith, who has been nursing a back injury, was 7 for 12 from the

field and 8 for 9 at the free-throw line.

”We let Smith get loose a little bit more than I wanted to and

tried to trap her off the ball screen but were ineffective,”

McGraw said. ”I thought she scored more 1-on-1s. But I think we

did a lot of good things.”

Notre Dame had 48 points in the paint on 24-of-34 shooting.