SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Boston College had trouble slowing Kayla McBride and second-ranked Notre Dame for even brief periods, much less stopping the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame scored the first seven points of the game, stretched the lead to double figures in less than 10 minutes and by halftime its lead was bigger than the Eagles’ most lopsided loss of the season. The Irish continued to pull away in the second half with its bench posting 55 points in a 95-53 victory Thursday night.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was pleased with the way the Irish reserves responded after being held to four points against Clemson.
“They are probably our best asset right now because I think we have the best depth of any team in the country,” McGraw said. “We’ve just got some really good players coming off the bench.”
McBride led the Irish (14-0, 2-0 ACC) with 20 points and eight rebounds, Michaela Mabrey had 18, Taya Reimer 15 and Jewell Loyd had 14 to pace the starters. Mabrey, who came in 0-for-12 shooting in the previous two games, shot 6 of 9 as the Irish made 62 percent for the game.
Boston College coach Erik Johnson said his team wasn’t prepared for the way the Irish attacked his team’s zone defense.
“We got exposed with a lot of things. I thought from a coaching point I got exposed by coach McGraw and her staff. They did a better job of attacking our zone, which had been really, really effective for the last bunch of games, against a lot of really good teams,” he said. “They attacked us in ways we had not seen yet that we should have been prepared for a little bit more. They attacked us in ways we weren’t prepared for.”
The Irish dominated on the inside in the first half, outscoring the Eagles 30-8 in the paint, then made 6 of 8 3s in the second half.
“We like to attack inside first and we were able to get some really easy shots inside,” McGraw said. “I think a lot of people see zone and immediately think they have to shoot 3s. We like to go inside first, then kick it out for 3s.”
McBride led the Irish attack on the BC zone.
“I was just trying to find the gaps in the zone to begin with and we were trying to go inside first, then bring it outside,” she said.
The Fighting Irish improved to 14-0 for just the third time in program history and won their 37th straight regular-season game and 20th straight at home. The loss ended a seven-game winning streak for the Eagles (10-6, 1-1), giving them their biggest loss this season.
Kristen Doherty led BC with 13 points, Katie Znevitch had 11 points and seven rebounds and Lauren Engeln had 10.
The Irish pulled away for most of the game as the Eagles weren’t able to put up much of a challenge.
Johnson called it humbling to see the Irish pick apart his squad.
“Notre Dame is the best passing team we have seen by far,” he said.
McBride agrees with McGraw that the depth of the Irish is key to their success.
“We are going to be able to tire teams out offensively and in transition,” she said. “I think we have to bring that focus every game.”