Notre Dame (8-5) went on the road and earned a much-needed away from home win, beating Virginia Tech (7-6) by a 65-60 score, giving the Fighting Irish their third straight victory and fifth win in six games.
Niele Ivey's club is still evolving, and winning at home is something Notre Dame is getting more and more used to. The Irish have won four straight home contests and are 6-2 on their own court this season, but winning on the road has proven more challenging, as Notre Dame came into this matchup just 1-3 away from their home court.
In the early going it looked like Notre Dame's road woes would continue, as it scored just nine points in the first quarter while knocking down just 4-19 shots from the field. Notre Dame also turned the ball over six times and committed six fouls in the first ten minutes as Virginia Tech took a 16-9 lead after one period.
Notre Dame came out on fire in the second quarter and completely overwhelmed the Hokies. When it was all said and done the Irish built a double-digit halftime lead that Virginia Tech could never recover from, although it came close.
Anaya Peoples, Maddy Westbeld and Sam Brunelle kicked things off, with Brunelle knocking down a shot to put the Irish up 18-16 after a quick 9-0 that took less than two minutes.
Virginia Tech answered to tied it up, and that is when Destinee Walker went off, outscoring Virginia Tech 13-7 over the next eight minutes. Yes, you read that correctly, and Walker's 13 second quarter points actually bested the Hokies nine second quarter points.
Notre Dame continued its torrid place in the third quarter, scoring the first 10 points of the second half to expand its lead to 43-25.
As hot as Notre Dame was in the second and third quarter, it was equally cold in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame made just 3-15 shots and committed five turnovers in the fourth, and the Hokies made it as close as 60-58. The Irish defense closed it out and didn't allow another basket, as Anaya Peoples and Dara Mabrey put the game away from the free throw line.
Prior to Mabrey knocking down four three throws in the final eight seconds, Peoples was the entire Notre Dame offense in the fourth quarter, as she scored eight of the team's 12 points.
Walker led the offense with 16 points, but outside of the second quarter she didn't shoot it well, and neither did her teammates. Notre Dame made just 33.8% of their field goal attempts and just 38.9% of their attempts from behind the arc. What bailed the offense out was its 14-19 performance from the free throw line.
Defensively, Notre Dame forced 18 turnovers and limited Virginia Tech to just 30.8% from the field.
Mabrey scored 14 points and led the offense with four assists. Peoples finished with 11 points and Westbeld had a double-double, scoring 13 points while grabbing a team-leading 12 rebounds.
Notre Dame's next game is Jan. 24 when it travels to North Carolina (7-5)
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