Dec 3, 2013, 8:48 AM EDT
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. Murphy filled in for a vacationing Mike Franz on the men’s basketball beat on Sunday.
The Irish came out on top this Sunday at Purcell Pavilion with a dominant performance in which all five starters reached double-digit points.
Cornell came out strong, looking athletic and ready to compete, keeping up with the Irish well at first. After starting the game 2 for 10, the Irish found their stride, and the starting five got into their rhythm, finishing the game with the highest point total of the season. It was the first time the Irish broke 100 points since last season’s five overtime upset of Louisville.
Senior guard Jerian Grant led the Irish with 20 points, reaching the 1,000 career point mark, becoming the school’s 55th player to do so.
Grant was followed closely by senior Eric Atkins with 19 points (who joined the 1,000-point club vs. Indiana State) and junior Pat Connaughton with 18 points.
Connaughton’s performance jumpstarted the Irish, something he and Irish head coach Mike Brey had discussed.
“It was something this past week that coach has been harping on me for,” Connaughton said.
It seems that that talk paid off as Connaughton finished the first half with 12 points, and came back in the second to lead the Irish with 10 rebounds. He proved once again to be a consistent player the team can count on to make plays. Connaughton’s double-double performance was Notre Dame’s first such double-double effort of the season.
Freshman guard Demetrius Jackson put up 11 points in his first career start for the Irish, going 3-4 from the three-point line.
“It was definitely very cool to hear my name finally,” said Jackson of his first start. “It’s one of my goals I’ve been working towards.”
The freshman built upon his last performance against Santa Clara, showing once again that he would be a force for the Irish this season, something his coach has also noticed.
“Jackson has so much energy and juice for us,” said Brey, “He’s good defensively for us, and he’s starting to get in there and make plays.”
As a whole, the Irish shot over 54%, and in the end came out on top. The dominant performance showcased the potential of this season’s team, who hit the road to take on Iowa tonight in their first showing in the B1G/ACC Challenge.
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