No. 7 Notre Dame women beat No. 12 North Carolina, 89-79
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Brianna Turner kept hitting baskets, snatching down just about every loose rebound and swatting away shots. By the end of the night, the freshman’s dominating performance had helped No. 7 Notre Dame earn another road win against a ranked opponent.
Turner had 29 points, a season-high 18 rebounds and seven blocked shots to help the Fighting Irish beat No. 12 North Carolina 89-79 on Thursday night. It gave Notre Dame its fifth win in six tries against a Top 25 opponent this season.
That includes a 4-0 mark on the road, the latest coming after Notre Dame (16-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot 63 percent after halftime and turned away a late push by the Tar Heels (15-3, 2-2).
Much of that started with Turner, who got the best of talented UNC post player Stephanie Mavunga.
”I just really tried to stay on the glass,” Turner said. ”(Mavunga) is a really good rebounder so I really just tried to box out and go for the boards.”
Turner was second nationally in shooting percentage at 66.4 percent after Tuesday’s games, then topped that by making 10 of 13 shots against the Tar Heels. In 36 minutes, she matched her season high in points and blocked shots.
The only hiccup? A 9-for-16 effort from the foul line.
”Had she not missed all those free throws,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw quipped, ”she would’ve really had a good game.”
Sophomore Lindsay Allen added a career-best 24 points, helping Notre Dame overcome a quiet game from leading scorer Jewell Loyd. She came in averaging 21.5 points but finished with just eight on 4-for-11 shooting.
Notre Dame rallied from 11 down in the first half then blew nearly all of a 14-point lead in the second when the Tar Heels pulled within 78-77 on Mavunga’s 3-pointer with 4:29 left.
But Allen immediately scored in the paint to start a clinching 9-0 run, which included a critical 3-pointer from Michaela Mabrey with 2:41 left.
”They beat us with old-timey basketball – high-low feed and the pick-and-roll,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. ”And they were successful with it.”
Allisha Gray scored 20 points for North Carolina, which shot 37 percent.
Notre Dame: Allen finished 9-for-12 from the field to go with a career-best nine assists. … Sophomore forward Taya Reimer returned after missing two games due to personal reasons. She had four points and seven rebounds off the bench. … Notre Dame had a 46-38 rebounding advantage.
UNC: The Tar Heels had a 16-8 edge on the glass by the 7 1/2-minute mark, only to see the Irish dominate from there. … Mavunga finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, though she shot just 5-for-15. … The Tar Heels hit nine 3s. … Gray was sidelined for much of the first half with an injury to her right calf.
Irked by the officiating during the second half, Hatchell nearly drew a technical foul during a screaming tirade during a timeout with about 8 1/2 minutes left. The Hall of Fame coach had to be pulled back toward the huddle by her staff, then ripped off her jacket and threw it down on the bench.
If it was a motivational ploy, it worked. Down nine at the time, her team responded with its run to get back in the game.
LOYD’S QUIET NIGHT
Loyd had scored in double figures for 60 straight games before Thursday. McGraw said Loyd was sick and spent much of the afternoon in bed and had ”quite a bit of cold medicine in her right now.”
”But I thought she still gave a great effort,” McGraw said.
Notre Dame hosts No. 6 Tennessee on Monday.
UNC travels to Clemson on Sunday.
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