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Irish Insights

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Notre Dame women beat UCLA

SOUTH BEND – UCLA didn’t find it much easier going against fourth-ranked Notre Dame’s backups than its starters.

Madison Cable hit four straight 3-pointers in the second half, making 5-of-6 for the game, and finished with a career-high 21 points and the Irish reserves outscored UCLA’s bench 46-0 en route to a 90-48 victory on Saturday.

“What a great day for Madison Cable. That was so fun to watch,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “What a fantastic offensive showing.”

The Irish (8-0) dominated in almost every category, outrebounding the Bruins (3-5) 48-35, outscoring them 46-24 in the paint and had a 12-2 advantage in fastbreak points.

McGraw said she expects Notre Dame’s backups to have good production.

“We have high expectations for them. We really think they can score. When we’re playing them late in the game, it’s like a starter for some teams. We definitely have great depth we’re taking advantage of.”

Cable said her confidence grew with each shot.

“It felt good, I’ll just say that. My teammates made good passes and found me when I was open,” she said. “It was just working.”

Cable missed tying the Purcell Pavilion record for 3-pointers in a game when she missed her final shot with 25 seconds left.

Kayla McBride, who added 12 points and six assists, said she was excited to see Cable play so well.

“It doesn’t really surprise me, because when you see her in practice she doesn’t miss. But just for Maddie to get that confidence, because we’re going to need her in big games, it was great for her to go out there and hit those shots,” she said.

Jewell Loyd added 15 points for the Irish and Natalie Achonwa had 12 points and nine rebounds. McGraw said she was pleased the Irish showed no signs of a letdown following a 77-67 victory over 10th-ranked Penn State on Wednesday. She said the Irish veteran players know how important that is.

“They understand the grind of the season. How you have to get ready for every game. Because every team that comes in here, it’s the Super Bowl for them. They want to knock us off.”

UCLA coach Cori Close said she believes the Irish might be better without Skylar Diggins, who led the Irish to the NCAA championship game twice because they are no longer looking for her to make the big play.

“It’s `What am I going to do and how do I contribute to that next play?’ You’ve got five of those decision-makers in the mix on a consistent basis, you have the potential to grow into a stronger team. That’s what I’ve been impressed with,” she said.

UCLA stayed close for the first five minutes, opening an 8-6 lead when Nyingifa hit a baseline jumper. But a 3-pointer by Loyd that bounced off the rim three times before falling in sparked a 14-2 run that included three fastbreak layups.

The Irish shot 67 percent from the floor in the second half and shot 56 percent for the game. The Irish were 10-of-17 from 3-point range.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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