Loyd leads No. 2 Irish to 92-72 win over Maryland
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) Jewell Loyd couldn't be stopped on the fast break.
Loyd had two fast-break baskets as she scored eight points during a 10-0 run early to get No. 2 Notre Dame going Wednesday night against No. 15 Maryland. She then finished off the Terps in the second half as she banked in an acrobatic bank shot as she was fouled at the end of the fast break and hit the free throw for a three-point play to extend the lead to 40 points en route to a 92-72 Notre Dame victory.
''It's just being focused,'' Loyd said. ''I watch a lot of Kobe Bryant, so that's something he would do. We play a lot of horse, our guards play a lot of horse, and we do a lot of trick shots like that. So I didn't really throw it at the basket. I was focused and looked at the backboard and stayed with it.''
Loyd had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists as Notre Dame quickly jumped to a 24-point lead in a rematch of an NCAA tournament semifinal from last season.
''Just another game for Jewell. She was phenomenal,'' Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. ''She can make the game so exciting. It's really fun to watch.''
Maryland coach Brenda Frese was disappointed in her team's start.
''Did not shoot the ball well,'' she said. ''Obviously, against a great team like Notre Dame you have that kind of start, it's going to be hard to come back from.''
The Irish dominated even though freshman Brianna Turner, their second-leading scorer at 15.3 points, left less than four minutes into the game with an apparent shoulder injury. McGraw said Turner will undergo an MRI on Thursday.
Just like in the semifinal game, which the Fighting Irish won by 26 points, Notre Dame (8-0) took control early and the Terrapins (6-2) never seriously threatened as they lost in their first appearance as a Big Ten member in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
But McGraw said she reminded the Irish how last January they had squandered a 22-point lead against Maryland and fell behind before finally winning 87-83.
''That's what we were talking about at halftime,'' McGraw said.
Maryland made just 29 percent of its shots in the first half, including missing 12 straight at one point. Frese credited Notre Dame's zone defense.
''They come at you really aggressively,'' she said. ''I think we had to be more aggressive in the zone.''
Lexie Brown and Laurin Mincy had 20 points each for Maryland and Kristen Confroy added 14.
Taya Reimer added a career-high 21 points for the Irish. Michaela Mabrey had 11 and Lindsay Allen, who is from Mitchellville, Maryland, about 10 miles from the Maryland campus, had 10 points and six rebounds.
Notre Dame played its first off-site home game in the 38-year history of having a women's team because the men's team was hosting No. 19 Michigan State.
With the win, Notre Dame now leads the all-time series with five victories in nine games. ... Maryland was 7-0 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge as an ACC member. ... Notre Dame extended its home winning streak to 34 games because even though the game against Maryland was 90 miles from campus it counted as a home game.
Mincy finished a point shy of becoming the 29th player in Maryland history to reach 1,000 career points.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Many of the 9,194 fans in the crowd at the Allen War Memorial Coliseum wore the familiar green T-shirts fans wear at Purcell Pavilion. McGraw said she'd like to see Fort Wayne host an NCAA tournament regional.
''This would be a terrific neutral site for us to come to,'' she said.
Notre Dame: Plays No. 3 Connecticut at home on Saturday in a rematch of last year's championship game, which the Huskies won 79-58.
Maryland: Plays Towson at home on Sunday.