UCLA bench scoreless in 90-48 loss to No. 4 Irish

It’s been a tough start to the season for UCLA playing without

three projected starters because of injuries, forcing some players

to play different positions.

Throw in two mechanical problems with airplanes that forced them

to practice at 9 p.m. Friday and then a noon Eastern time start,

and the Bruins had obstacles to overcome before even taking the

court against fourth-ranked Notre Dame. UCLA had no answers for the

Irish, losing 90-48 in a game where they were dominated in almost

all areas.

”I thought we had dead legs at the beginning of the game, quite

frankly,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. ”You can’t control the

circumstances, so you have a mental choice for how you can respond

to it. I thought we came out a step slow. They took advantage of

that.”

The Bruins (3-5) traded baskets with the Irish (8-0) for the

first five minutes before the Irish went on a 14-2 run to take

control.

”We struggled trying to stop the lob and stop the speed at

which the ball was going up the floor,” said Atonye Nyingifa, who

led the Bruins with 19 points. ”I think they went on a run and our

team should have responded a lot better by stopping that. But we

just let them continue on pushing it.”

Madison Cable hit four straight 3-pointers in the second half,

making 5-of-6 for the game, and finished with a career-high 21

points and the Irish reserves outscored UCLA’s bench 46-0 en route

to a 90-48 victory on Saturday.

”What a great day for Madison Cable. That was so fun to

watch,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. ”What a fantastic

offensive showing.”

The Irish dominated in almost every category, outrebounding the

Bruins (3-5) 48-35, outscoring them 46-24 in the paint and had a

12-2 advantage in fastbreak points.

Cable said her confidence grew with each shot.

”It felt good, I’ll just say that. My teammates made good

passes and found me when I was open,” she said. ”It was just

working.”

Cable missed tying the Purcell Pavilion record for 3-pointers in

a game when she missed her final shot with 25 seconds left.

Kayla McBride, who added 12 points and six assists, said she was

excited to see Cable play so well.

”It doesn’t really surprise me, because when you see her in

practice she doesn’t miss. But just for Maddie to get that

confidence, because we’re going to need her in big games, it was

great for her to go out there and hit those shots,” she said.

Jewell Loyd added 15 points for the Irish and Natalie Achonwa

had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Close said she believes the Irish might be better without Skylar

Diggins, who led the Irish to the NCAA championship game twice

because they are no longer looking for her to make the big

play.

”It’s `What am I going to do and how do I contribute to that

next play?’ You’ve got five of those decision-makers in the mix on

a consistent basis, you have the potential to grow into a stronger

team. That’s what I’ve been impressed with,” she said.