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Irish Fall Short, But Find A Star in Loyd (and Lil Wayne)

Dec 5, 2012, 10:07 PM EDT

Lil Wayne watched the second half courtside at Purcell Pavilion.

Notre Dame’s quest for redemption in the rematch of last season’s national championship game came up short, 73-61 on Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion.

The night had its share of expected moments.

Baylor won the rebounding battle.

Brittney Griner notched a double-double (24 points, 14 rebounds).

But there were also a few surprises.

Before tipoff, rumors swirled that Lil Wayne might be in town for the big game, when men’s basketball freshman Zach Auguste tweeted:

There were no celebrity sightings in the first half, but during the break, “Weezy” and two friends took a spot courtside, as students and fans attempted to get pictures of the famous rapper.

During Notre Dame’s 2011 Final Four run, Lil Wayne tweeted about Skylar Diggins, and he has previously expressed that he’s a fan of the Fighting Irish. Heck, he even wore a Notre Dame jersey for one of his concerts.

With Wayne watching, the underdog Irish opened the second half on a 7-0 run, and were right with the Bears for most of the rest of the evening. The score was tied at 52 with 7:40 to play, before Baylor used a 10-0 run to dash Notre Dame’s hopes of an upset.

On the biggest stage of her young career, freshman Jewell Loyd scored 24 points, including 12 from three-point range, and added seven rebounds. The Lincolnwood, Ill. native appears destined to follow in Diggins’ footsteps as a star guard for the Irish.

It’s always tough to lose, especially against a big opponent like Baylor, but this has to be a confidence booster for Notre Dame. The Irish contained Griner for most of the first half. What really hurt Notre Dame this evening was an off-night from the field. The team shot just 35.7% and only four players scored. Had they shot even slightly better, this game would have easily come down to which team had the ball last.

It’s only Dec. 5. There’s an awful lot of basketball left to be played.

The shots will start to fall, the Irish will find their rhythm and don’t be at all shocked if these teams meet again on an even bigger stage in March.

About In The Paint

Welcome to In The Paint, the official blog providing in-depth and exclusive access to the Notre Dame basketball programs. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the Purcell Pavilion, we are committed to bringing you coverage of the Fighting Irish unlike any you can find elsewhere.

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