Mar 25, 2013, 1:10 AM EST
There was a point in the first half of Notre Dame’s First Round NCAA game on Sunday when I started to get nervous. This was a 1 seed/16 seed matchup after all, and in the history of both the women’s and men’s tournament, only the 1998 Harvard Women’s squad has ever beaten a 1 seed.
Yet here were the Ohio Valley Conference champions, paced by the 23 first half points of the diminutive Heather Butler…and they weren’t going away. Even after falling to an early ten point deficit, they battled back and narrowed the gap to 38-31 with only a few minutes to play in the half.
And then the Irish went off, quickly scoring the next 11 to go into the half up 49-31. They didn’t look back.
The final score was a dominant 97-64 with four Irish in double figures in scoring led by Freshman Jewell Loyd’s career best 27 points. They made some solid defensive adjustments as well, holding Butler to only 14 second half points, and were outstanding on the glass out-rebounding the Skyhawks 49-14.
At the end of the day, the Irish’s biggest advantage was size, which i think is evident in the rebounding figures. Yes: Butler had what Coach Muffet McGraw characterized as “the best individual game anybody had against us all year long,” but it wasn’t enough. Not when the Irish defense so thoroughly neutralized the other four players on the court. Only one other Skyhawk managed double digits in scoring (Jasmine Newsome with 15).
It’s interesting to consider what it says about the Irish’s potential that they have the talent to allow a 37 point performance by one player and still win by 33. We’ll find out how they build on this solid first game on Tuesday night when the Irish, the only 1 seed not hosting a first round game, play the 9 seed Iowa Hawkeyes on their home court.
Post Game Press Conference
About In The Paint
Women’s Basketball on YouTube
Notre Dame Women's Basketball Defeat French All-Stars in Madrid
Length: 1:54 | August 12, 2013
Kayla McBride Talks About The 75-57 Win - Women's Basketball
Length: 1:14 | August 12, 2013
Notre Dame Women's Basketball Defeat French All-Stars in Barcelona
Length: 1:28 | August 12, 2013
Skylar Diggins Look Back - Notre Dame Women's Basketball
Length: 4:20 | May 2, 2013
- Represented the @ACCwbb in the #B1GACC Challenge against Penn State! Leaving this Valley.. Happy!… instagram.com/p/hhY8-6vFJv/ 1 hour ago
- Under a minute left, it's 77-65! #ACCB1GChallenge 1 hour ago
- KMac with her second foul at 3:57... It's the final media timeout of the game. Irish leading 68-57! #ACCB1GChallenge 1 hour ago
- 62-48 - We're all in! #IrishBasketball 2 hours ago
- RT @bmallory22: Back to back 3ssss !!! There we go mikeyyy @mmabrey23 🍀👌 2 hours ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
Meet The Freshmen, Demetrius Jackson - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:08 | August 1, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, V.J. Beachem - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:13 | July 30, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, Steve Vasturia - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:06 | July 25, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, Austin Torres - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:13 | July 23, 2013
- Home! #gladtobehere 5 hours ago
- Our journey home via bus after fog kept the team in Iowa last night & prevented a flight today as well. http://t.co/mvHPDciSy4 9 hours ago
- Garrick Sherman notched a career-high 29 points in Tuesday's #B1GACC Challenge game vs. #23 Iowa. #New… instagram.com/p/hgcRmAQiW1/ 11 hours ago
- RT @NDJackNolan: I don't think I have ever been as encouraged by a team's effort in a road loss as I am by ND's effort here in Iowa tonight… 23 hours ago
- RT @AlDogg44: Great effort on the road in a hostile environment. This @NDmbb team is going to be fun to watch this year. 23 hours ago