Achonwa leads No. 4 Irish women past No. 10 PSU

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm •  Published: December 4, 2013
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — After building a double-digit lead in the first half, Notre Dame didn't let Penn State get close in the final 20 minutes.

Natalie Achonwa had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish in a 77-67 victory over the No. 10 Lady Lions on Wednesday night in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game.

Jewell Loyd scored 17 points, Kayla McBride had 13 and Taya Reimer 12 for Notre Dame (7-0), which led by 14 points at halftime. Penn State got no closer than nine in the second half.

"I thought Natalie Achonwa had a great second half and I thought Jewell and K Mac's (McBride's) defense on Maggie Lucas was the key to the game," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.

Ariel Edwards scored 18 points for the Lady Lions (5-2). Dara Taylor added 14 points and Talia East 12.

It was the first time McGraw coached against Penn State's Coquese Washington, who played point guard for Notre Dame in the early 1990s and then was a Fighting Irish assistant coach.

"Leading into this game, I was really emotional about it," Washington said. "Then this afternoon getting dressed for the game, I decided to take the advice I give our players all the time — embrace and enjoy these moments."

McGraw's emotions were just the opposite.

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