McBride, No. 2 Notre Dame women beat Oregon St
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw didn’t think her unbeaten team
had been tested until facing Oregon State on Sunday.
Kayla McBride scored 20 points, Natalie Achonwa added 16 points
and eight rebounds, and the second-ranked Irish remained perfect
with a 70-58 victory over the Beavers.
”It’s a huge win for us,” McGraw said. ”It’s great to be
behind and have a close game at the end and see how we
Notre Dame (11-0) scored the final five points of the first half
to pull to 33-31 at halftime for its first deficit at the break
this season. The Irish then got the first six points of the second
half to take the lead for good.
McBride said the road game before a hostile crowd of more than
4,000 felt like an NCAA tournament matchup.
”I know we have a target on our back and everybody is going to
bring us their best game,” she said.
Oregon State certainly did that.
”They played so hard, and I respect that a lot,” McBride
Jamie Weisner scored 18 points to lead the Beavers (8-4), and
Ruth Hamblin added 12 points, eight rebounds and a school
record-tying nine blocks.
”We had a lot of turnovers down the stretch. We totally could
have won that game,” Weisner said.
Beavers coach Scott Rueck felt his team got some needed
confidence despite the loss.
”This team competed for 40 minutes, just laser focus,” Rueck
said. ”We know we can play with anybody.”
Oregon State didn’t trail until Ali Gibson’s 3-pointer with
13:06 left in the first half.
Hamblin’s put-back had stretched the Beavers’ lead to 33-26 with
55 seconds left in the opening half. The Irish then used its 11-0
spurt to take the lead for good.
Notre Dame began the day leading the nation in field-goal
shooting (52.2 percent) and 3-point shooting (44.9 percent), but
the Irish shot 36 percent overall in the first half and 1 from 6 on
”Definitely credit their defense,” McGraw said. ”We got good
looks, but we really missed the shots that normally we’ll
With 1:25 left, however, Ariel Braker got a steal off an
inbounds play for Oregon State, and McBride made a jumper to push
the lead to 66-58. Braker blocked Weisner on the Beavers’ next
McGraw said defense was critical to the comeback.
”When we contained the ball and didn’t give them driving lanes,
we were able to really shut them down,” she said. ”They couldn’t
kick it out to wide open shooters.”
Sophomore Jewell Loyd, last year’s national freshman of the
year, had 10 points for the Irish – 8.5 below her team-leading
average coming in.
The Irish, who have reached the Final Four each of the last
three years and title games in 2011 and 2012, are off to their best
start since 2009-10, when they began 15-0.
Notre Dame’s next game is Jan. 2 against South Dakota State.
Weisner, a sophomore guard, entered the contest as the Beavers
top scorer at 14.9 points per game. OSU has a young team, with four
Sunday’s game was the start of a tough stretch for the Beavers,
who open Pac-12 play next week with games against No. 23 California
and No. 4 Stanford.