However, the 27th-year head coach was full of praise for her former player.
"She's the best young coach in the country right now and when a couple people retire, I think she's going to be the one that people look to," McGraw said.
Penn State leading scorer Maggie Lucas, who came in averaging 22.2 points per game, was held to just seven points on 1-for-8 shooting.
On this night, Notre Dame's rebounding prowess, in a game in which neither team shot the ball particularly well, was the difference. The Fighting Irish outrebounded the Lady Lions 44-36, including 19 at the offensive end.
"It killed us. It absolutely killed us," Washington said. "If we could cut that in half we would probably have had a chance. That is one of the things they do well. This isn't an aberration."
Achonwa said that's an always an emphasis for Notre Dame, which also got 10 rebounds from Taya Reimer.
"I think one of our major keys to every game is rebounding," Achonwa said. "We did grab a couple of offensive rebounds, but I think it was also because we were missing a lot so we kind of put ourselves in position to rebound."