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Irish In High Gear Early In 2013-14

Nov 10, 2013, 1:01 PM EDT

Jewell Loyd (photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Rachel Murphy, the official 2013-14 women’s basketball beat writer for the In The Paint blog, is currently a sophomore at St. Mary’s College. Over the course of the year Rachel will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and stories from inside the team circle. You can follow Rachel (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.

In their home opener at Purcell Pavilion on Saturday, Notre Dame women’s basketball proved they are a force to be reckoned with this season as they took down UNC-Wilmington 99-50 in front of over 8,000 fans.

The Irish dominated on both sides of the ball, proving the loss of Skylar Diggins and absence of senior forward Natalie Anchowa (meniscus tear) weren’t going to affect them in the least. Any doubts about the teams talent disappeared as the Irish quickly began to dominate.

The Irish came out strong and controlled the game from beginning to end. Always impressive senior guard Kayla McBride put up 17 points in her 21 minutes of play, leaving the game early due to the Irish dominance.

“We did shoot the ball well,” head coach Muffet McGraw said of the teams’ 63 percent shooting. “I thought offensively we executed really well.”

Sophomores Jewell Loyd and Michaela Mabrey led the offense with 19 points each. This was a career high for Mabrey, who came off the bench and played a strong, vocal game.

“She’s running the team as much a she can when she doesn’t have the ball,” said McGraw. “I’m happy with her game.”

As always, Loyd brought her A-game, forcing her way to the net, and tallied 11 rebounds. The guard played aggressively on defense, demonstrating her ability to be a threat on both sides of the ball.

“She’s really challenging people,” said McGraw. “She did a good job without fouling…I thought she played a really complete game today.”

Also impressive were the Irish freshman. Guard Lindsay Allen, who started the game with a three pointer, looked poised and in control as she raked up 11 points.

“She shot the ball well and did a nice job defensively,” said McGraw of Allen’s performance.

Also doing well defensively was freshman forward Taya Reimer. Reimer, whose exhibition game performance was nothing short of dominant, proved once again to be a big factor in the Irish victory. Reimer played aggressively, tripping up the Seahawk’s offense and leading the team with 12 rebounds.

Forward Kristina Nelson made an impact as well. The freshman came out shaky, but by the end found her rhythm, contributing nine points and four rebounds in just 14 minutes.

Team veterans lead the Irish in their season opener, as freshmen seemed to have found and settled into their roles. All in all, the Irish started strong as they look to take on No. 20 Michigan State Monday night at Purcell Pavilion.

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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