Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

Irish pass big home test

No. 7 Notre Dame dominated No. 12 Louisville in almost every category during Monday night’s 85-66 blowout that included a 31-point second quarter.

Notre Dame started slowly on Monday night, again.

Then the Irish subbed in Kathryn Westbeld, whose first bucket gave Notre Dame its first lead against Louisville on Monday night inside the Purcell Pavilion. That triggered another trend, this one Westbeld’s appearance igniting an Irish run that secured the game before halftime as Notre Dame cruised to a 85-66 blowout.

Notre Dame (22-3, 10-1) remains tied with Florida State atop the ACC and at least two games ahead of the chasing pack. The Cardinals fell to 20-6 overall and 7-4 in ACC play.

Arike Ogunbowale paced Notre Dame with 22 points, followed by Jackie Young (16), Lindsay Allen (season-high 15), Westbeld (14) and Brianna Turner (10). Allen's eight assists moved her into second all-time, passing Skylar Diggins in career assists. Louisville’s

Asia Durr (31 points) and Marlya Moore (18) accounted for 49 of the Cardinal’s 66 total points. They were the team’s only double-digit scorers. 

With just three turnovers for the entire game, the Irish held a huge 25-5 advantage in points off turnovers. Notre Dame’s bench also came up big, outscoring the Cardinals there, 30-9. And, particularly in the second period, the Irish dominated down low, scoring 48 points in the paint to Louisville’s 22.

Spurred by Westbeld’s first bucket in the first quarter, the Irish ended the period with a 10-2 run and pulled ahead 19-14. Then it was all Notre Dame in the second period as Turner found her rhythm. The Irish ran out to a 50-28 halftime lead without committing a single turnover.

Despite being without pre-season ACC Player of the Year Myisha Hines-Allen, Louisville came out swinging in the second half. The Irish built their lead to as much as 22 points but the Cardinals kept cutting into that thanks to Durr. Her 31 points were the most by a single player against Notre Dame in more than two years.

But it wasn’t enough as the Irish made big plays down the stretch.

“Louisville is a high-scoring team with great offensive weapons, so we worked on containing the ball in practice the last couple of days,” noted Irish associate head coach Niele Ivey. “(Head) coach (Muffet) McGraw does a really good job of making in-game adjustments too, and we were really ready. We got great energy from everyone that stepped on the floor, and the first half was one of our best first halves of the year.”

Notre Dame next faces Georgia Tech at home on Feb. 12

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