Irish women down Virginia Tech

By Notre Dame Sports Information

BLACKSBURG, VA. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team (8-5, 6-3) achieved that elusive third straight win, starting its roadtrip with a 60-65 victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies (7-6, 2-6). The Irish continue to ride their momentum, winning five of their past six, as they kicked off a daunting five-game road swing.

Destinee Walker scored 13 points in the second quarter before finishing with a team-high 16 points. Walker finished 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Dara Mabrey followed right behind with 14 points, which included four clutch free throws in the final minute.

Maddy Westbeld achieved her first career double-double on Thursday, posting 13 points and a career high 12 rebounds. Lastly, Anaya Peoples was crucial down the stretch, scoring eight of her 11 points in the final quarter.

“This was a tough road win,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Head Coach Niele Ivey stated. “I’m very excited that this group found a way to win. We had a little bit of foul trouble in the first half, and I felt like we settled in, had a great lead, and found a way to win.”

HOW IT HAPPENED

The score was just 9-9 at the 3:01 mark in the first when Virginia Tech ended the opening stanza with a 7-0 run to garner a 16-9 lead. Mabrey and Westbeld scored all nine of the team’s points.

The Irish regrouped and immediately answered back with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter, all powered from Peoples, Brunelle and Westbeld. When the score was later tied at 18-all, Walker caught on absolute fire. She went on to make 13 of the team’s next 15 points, which included three treys. More impressive is the fact that she didn’t miss a shot during that stretch.

All-in-all, Notre Dame outscored Virginia Tech 27-9 in the second quarter to build a 36-25 lead at the half. The Irish, powered by Walker, shot 11-of-19 from the field, compared to the Hokies’ 2-for-12.

The Irish did not let off the gas in the second half, firing off a 10-0 run to start, which was capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Mabrey and Walker. It marked their largest lead of the game up 21 points.

The Hokies did battle back, but the Irish ultimately edged them 17-16 in the quarter to garner a 53-41 advantage.  By the end of the period, Westbeld had achieved her double-double, sitting with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Peoples then provided a spark in the fourth quarter when a Virginia Tech three cut the Notre Dame lead to single digits. The sophomore scored seven straight points, and even took a charge in the middle of the offensive flurry.

However, the Hokies continued to chip and chip away, making it a one-possession game (61-58) with 19.5 seconds left. Next, the Notre Dame defense stood tall as Vaughn picked up a critical steal, then Mabrey iced the game with four consecutive free throws for the 65-60 victory.

NOTES

  • Notre Dame leads the overall series 13-2, with a 5-1 mark inside Cassell Coliseum.
  • The Irish have won a season best three in a row. They have also won five of their past six.
  • Tonight marked the fourth straight game Notre Dame has built a double-digit lead.
  • Mabrey earned her seventh game in double figures this season with 14 points.
  • Walker tallied her seventh game with double-digit points with 16 tonight. The graduate student made four three-pointers in the game.
  • Walker went off in the second quarter, recording a stretch in which she scored 13 of the team’s next 15 points. Walker didn’t miss a single shot during said stretch and only missed two shots in the whole quarter.
  • Westbeld earned her first career double-double with 13 points and a career best 12 rebounds.
  • Therefore, Westbeld earned her 11th game in double figures. In fact, she’s only finished in single digits twice this season.
  • In two games against Virginia Tech this season, Westbeld combined for 36 points.
  • The No. 1 three-point shooting team in the ACC shot 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.
  • Peoples recorded her seventh double-digit scoring game of the season with 11 tonight.

As the schedule stands, the Irish are in the heart of a unique five-game road swing, in which they would not return to Purcell Pavilion until a Feb. 18 contest against Syracuse. Up next, Notre Dame will stay out on the road and immediately fly to North Carolina for a Sunday Noon tipoff. Hear that game on Live 99-9.