Muffet McGraw hoped a double bye in the ACC tournament would let Notre Dame approach full strength in this bracket and the next one.
On Friday afternoon in the ACC quarterfinals the Irish dressed a full roster during its 76-59 blowout of Virginia, even if McGraw didn’t employ it in full. After an uneven start, No. 3 Notre Dame (28-3, 15-1) dominated Virginia (19-12, 7-9) as the Irish offense clicked at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C.
With her first assist Lindsay Allen became Notre Dame's all-time assist leader, breaking the 30-year-old mark of Mary Gavin (778). Allen’s eighth assist broke the ACC record (785). The senior finished with 10 assists and 12 points for the second true double-double of her career.
Arike Ogunbowale paced the Irish with 19 points, including five three-pointers, while Brianna Turner had 16 and Marina Mabrey added 13.
For the Cavaliers, Breyana Mason scored 13 points, while Lauren Moses and Jocelyn Willoughby each chipped in 10.
Notre Dame missed its first three shots of the game and Virginia took the quick lead. But less than two minutes later Allen found Ogunbowale for the first of her five treys. The Cavaliers would pull ahead momentarily at 11-10, but by the end of the first period Notre Dame was in control, 19-14.
Although hoping to rest Kathryn Westbeld for the entire game after suffering an ankle injury in January that hasn't completely healed, McGraw went to the junior late in the period and was immediately rewarded for the substitution. Westbeld hit two of Notre Dame's next three buckets and grabbed two rebounds to push the Irish ahead for good.
Notre Dame led 36-32 advantage at intermission.
Just minutes into the third period, Allen found Mabrey for another Notre Dame three-pointer, this one to give Allen the ACC record. With 6.2 seconds left in the third, Allen took an inbounds pass and went the length of the court past a confused defense for an easy layup and a 57-47 lead heading into the final period. Virginia trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
"It means a lot to me to (break the records) during my senior year," Allen said. "And to do it playing for coach McGraw at Notre Dame … it's beyond my imagination.
"I was a little disappointed that neither (of my record-breaking assists) where to Bri, but I have the best teammates in the world."
Top-seeded Notre Dame will face fifth-seeded Louisville in the first semifinal at noon on Mar. 4.