Mar 25, 2013, 1:10 AM EDT
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
- RT @UAbasketball: "This group just never quits." - @MuffetMcGraw @ndwbb in the National Semifinal for the 5th straight year. http://t.co/h… 39 minutes ago
- Headed to our 5th STRAIGHT Final Four! Thank you to everyone for the support, see you in Tampa! 🍀🏀🙌🏆 http://t.co/2DRf6Xs3Eb 1 hour ago
- OKC Regional MVP, @LA_Cruisen, and All-Regional Team, @jloyd32! #elite http://t.co/YlbDSYCo5Q 1 hour ago
- Tampa bound!!! #NDWBB http://t.co/0VJo90djix 1 hour ago
- Strong jig game http://t.co/lWlojw9uZJ 1 hour ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- Props to opponents UK, MSU & Duke on making Final 4 (3-2 record vs them). Thanks for all the great games this year! http://t.co/AL1oAAIdes 5 hours ago
- RT @MIND2424: It was truly an honor! Gonna miss these 2! Forever IRISH! 🍀 http://t.co/HYguLkaAFi 7 hours ago
- RT @Matt_Ryan32: We'll be back, trust me. #WeAreND 🍀@NDmbb 7 hours ago
- RT @DavidtheAdmiral: Incredible run by @NDmbb Congrats on a great year. Left it all out there. Bright future for Irish hoops. #GoIrish 7 hours ago
- RT @laettnerbball: @NDMikeBrey @NDmbb unbelievable season coach brey and team! I love ur team and the way u played! #keepurheadsup #mycoach… 7 hours ago
- Baseball. No. 12 Cavaliers Complete Sweep Of Irish Sunday Afternoon
- M. Tennis. No. 37 Notre Dame Overcomes Deficit To Clip No. 32 Florida State, 4-3
- W. Basketball. Elite Eight Preview: (1) #2 Notre Dame vs. (2) #5/6 Baylor
- Softball. #RV Irish Run Victory Streak To Nine With Sunday Wins Over #24 Virginia Tech
- W. Tennis. No. 36 Irish Sweep Marquette, 7-0