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
- Love seeing our ladies supporting their fellow student-athletes. It's going to be a great year! #NDFamily twitter.com/FightingIrish/… 9 hours ago
- 🍦🍀 http://t.co/gBUsw3rsds 2 days ago
- What a fun day for @MuffetMcGraw and @NDMikeBrey serving ice cream to our students on campus! 🍨🍦🍀💚 http://t.co/DGW5ct0YYU 2 days ago
- RT @NDmbb: 🍦HERE'S THE SCOOP At how many schools do Head Basketball coaches & Science Dean serve Ice Cream to Students? http://t.co/AEF2bu… 2 days ago
- RT @NDsidMasters: .@ndwbb keeping the local banner industry in business with more additions to the rafters at Purcell Pavilion http://t.co/… 2 days ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
- Our guys are back. It's time to get to work. #NotDoneYet twitter.com/ndslo/status/6… 20 hours ago
- It's National Bow Tie Day! We know that our newest 1st Round NBA Draft Pick, Jerian Grant, knows how to rock one. http://t.co/IdJD9bb0b3 1 day ago
- 🍦HERE'S THE SCOOP At how many schools do Head Basketball coaches & Science Dean serve Ice Cream to Students? http://t.co/AEF2buLtVJ 2 days ago
- We sent the "secret bag" to @PhilJackson11 at his @nyknicks address, did he keep it for himself? #NDinNBA twitter.com/jeriangrant/st… 3 days ago
- Remember that time we put the Swiss Guard through a clinic when we traveled abroad last year? How can we not! http://t.co/bGY4rKXXQz 3 days ago