Notre Dame Battles But Falls Late To Michigan

Notre Dame goes cold late, losing to #24 Michigan by a 76-66 score
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Notre Dame (1-2) missed out on an opportunity for a ranked win, as the Fighting Irish fell at home to #24 Michigan (3-0). A close game for over three quarters, the Wolverines won 76-66 after outscoring the Irish 22-15 in the final quarter.

Notre Dame controlled the action for much of the first quarter, forcing five Michigan turnovers en route to a 15-12 first quarter lead. The Irish held their own in the paint, out-rebounding Michigan 13-10 and limiting the Wolverines to just two points in the post.

That changed in the second quarter, as Michigan attacked the rim and dominated in the paint, scoring 12 points in the paint at the Wolverines went on a 13-2 run to take their first lead of the game.

Notre Dame answered initially, but turnovers and missed shots allowed the Wolverines to extend their lead to 33-25. The defense got rolling as the Irish started chipping away at the Michigan lead. A pair of steals from Anaya Peoples resulted in transition baskets from Destinee Walker.

Freshman forward Maddy Westbeld stole a pass in the paint, beat Michigan down the floor and hit a layup as she was fouled. The made free throw with less than a minute left made it a 36-34 in favor of the Wolverines as the teams headed into halftime.

The Irish scored 12 points off turnovers in the first half, compared to just two for Michigan, which allowed Notre Dame to claw back into the game.

Notre Dame and Michigan traded baskets throughout quarter three. The Irish cut the lead to one on multiple occasions, but in each instances the Wolverines responded with a basket.

Peoples again cut the lead to one with a strong drive to the basket early in the fourth quarter, but Michigan responded with a 7-0 run that forced an Ivey timeout and gave the Wolverines a 63-55 lead.

Notre Dame never recovered from that run. The defense that sparked the early lead just couldn’t make enough stops late in the game. A competitive game for over three quarters became a convincing Michigan win.

Michigan star forward Naz Hillmon led the Wolverines with 20 points and 11 rebounds thanks in large part to going 12-13 from the free throw line. Michigan's offense was balanced, and three other Wolverines scored in double figures.

Westbeld led the Irish with 18 points and seven rebounds while battling foul trouble for much of the game. Notre Dame welcomed back Sam Brunelle, who scored six points before fouling out.

Peoples scored 12 points and guard Dara Mabrey chipped in 12 in a losing effort.

The Irish fall to 1-2 on the season while Michigan moves to 3-0. Notre Dame next plays on Dec. 6 in a home contest against IUPUI.

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