CONWAY, S.C. (AP) Muffet McGraw doesn’t want to think about life next year without guard Lindsay Allen.
Notre Dame’s star senior had 12 points and 10 assists, breaking the conference’s all-time assists record, in the third-ranked Irish’s 76-59 win over Virginia on Friday in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
”She has incredible vision. She’s an amazing teammate. She guards people. She directs people. She does everything you could ask for in a point guard,” McGraw said. ”I think she is the consummate point guard, just a great team player. She’s accounted for, I don’t know how many points it is, about 2,500 overall, with all the assists she’s had in her career. Just amazing.”
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Next up for the Irish is No. 14 Louisville in the semifinals on Saturday.
”They’ve got so many good players, it’s hard to know where to start,” McGraw said. ”Asia Durr is just having a terrific year. I think (Myisha) Hines-Allen is a player that’s really difficult to guard, she’s a tough match-up because she can face up, put it on the floor. … They’re just a great team. They’ve had some injuries this year, but they look like they’re playing great basketball right now.”
Arike Ogunbowale scored 19 points and Brianna Turner added 16 to lead the Irish.
With the game tied at 30 late in the second quarter, the Irish scored 16 of the next 20 points spanning the half to take a 12-point lead. Ogunbowale scored the final five points of the burst, with her 3-pointer making it 46-34 with 6:40 left in the third quarter.
The eighth-seeded Cavaliers (19-12) couldn’t get closer than six the rest of the game.
”This whole year we’ve had at times some missteps in that third quarter where we get a little bit of a lull,” Virginia coach Joanne Boyle said.
Breyana Mason scored 13 points to lead Virginia.
Notre Dame got up early, taking a 23-14 lead before the Cavaliers stormed back to tie the game at 23. Ogunbowale then scored five straight points during a 7-0 spurt to give the Irish the advantage again. Virginia rallied again to tie the game at 30 on Mason’s three-point play.
The Irish went into the half up 36-32.
Allen scored the final two points of the half, racing the length of the court and beating the halftime buzzer.
Allen passed Virginia’s Sharnee Zoll, who had 785 assists from 2004-08. Allen’s record-breaking assist came in the third quarter on a pass to Ogunbowale that gave the Irish a 43-34 advantage. She also broke a tie with Mary Gavin for the Notre Dame mark for assists. Gavin’s mark of 778 assists stood since 1988. Allen now has 788 in her career.
”I think it means a lot, but it especially speaks to the kind of players coach McGraw recruits,” Allen said of setting the record. ”She recruits shooters, people who are smart, people who know their shot and what they are good at, so I think we have a very smart team.”
Virginia: The Cavaliers beat Wake Forest 61-44 to advance to the quarterfinals. … The No. 8 seed is the best for the Cavaliers since they were a No. 6 in 2013.
Notre Dame: The Irish are looking to match Duke as the only team to win four consecutive ACC regular-season and tournament crowns. The Blue Devils won four in a row from 2001-04.
Virginia: Waits for postseason tournament berth.
Notre Dame: Will face Louisville in the ACC semifinals Saturday.
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