Lindsay Allen leads No. 5 Notre Dame past Boston College

Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen, right, goes up for a layup over Boston College's Taylor Ortlepp during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame guard Lindsay Allen waved to the stands, thanking the crowd for its standing ovation as coach Muffet McGraw joined the chorus of applause in honoring her senior leader.

More than four minutes remained against Boston College on Thursday night, but Allen’s work was complete, earning her an early exit from the Fighting Irish’s 82-45 victory on what the school declared as Senior Night at Purcell Pavilion.

Allen had 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists in her 141st consecutive start, setting the tone early as Notre Dame (26-3, 14-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) made quick work of the Eagles (9-19, 2-13).

”It brings back a lot of memories,” McGraw said about watching Allen on Senior Night. ”We were talking about recruiting Lindsay, and I remember the first time I saw her play, and she’s been such a joy. She’s so smart, so easy to coach, does so many things and always wants to know what else she can do to help.”

Allen connected on 6 of 8 shots on a night she was honored along with center Diamond Thompson, who added six rebounds, two steals and one block.

Notre Dame forced 22 turnovers and scored 17 points off those takeaways. The Fighting Irish outscored the Eagles in the paint by a 44-14 margin, and they tallied 10 blocked shots to Boston College’s one.

Notre Dame held Boston College to just 14 points in the second half, making up for a shaky offensive start to the third quarter in which the Fighting Irish scored just two points across the first five minutes of the period.

”It was ugly,” McGraw said about the second half. ”We just didn’t shoot it well; that makes it look ugly. And we turned it over, which helps to make it look uglier.”

Notre Dame shot 45.5 percent for the game but just 35.7 percent in the second half. Boston College shot 25.4 percent for the game.

Mariella Fasoula scored 14 points to lead the way for the Eagles.

Erin Boley added 14 points, Brianna Turner had 12, and Arike Ogunbowale had 11 points and six rebounds for Notre Dame. Boley was 4 of 8 from 3-point range.

Notre Dame chose to honor its seniors ahead of Sunday’s home finale against No. 8 Florida State with the intention of getting the emotions out of the way early.

”I had such an open mind coming in here that I didn’t really come in expecting anything,” Allen said of her college career. ”I just came in expecting to work hard and be challenged, and luckily I started my first game and started every game ever since, so it’s really been a dream come true.”

SHE SAID IT

Notre Dame entered Thursday second in the ACC in rebounding margin, at plus-7.4 The fact the Fighting Irish won the rebounding battle against the Eagles by just a 47-44 margin did not sit well with McGraw, who said everyone but Jackie Young (eight rebounds) did a poor job on the glass.

”That’s disgraceful,” McGraw said of the margin.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Notre Dame moved up from No. 7 to No. 5 in the AP Top 25 this week, and the Fighting Irish could have another opportunity to improve that ranking Sunday, when they host No. 8 Florida State.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame: Coming off consecutive close road wins at Clemson (84-80) and at then-No. 21 Syracuse (85-80), the Fighting Irish were able to take care of the Eagles rather easily, building a double-digit lead late in the first quarter.

Boston College: The Eagles dropped their third straight game, with all three contests coming against ranked opponents. Thursday’s game ended a stretch of six ranked opponents in seven games for the Eagles, whose only win during that time came at unranked North Carolina on Feb. 9.

UP NEXT

Boston College returns home Sunday for its home finale against Virginia Tech.

Notre Dame hosts No. 8 Florida State on Sunday in both teams’ regular-season finale, with the Irish needing a win to avoid a tie for the ACC title.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org