BOSTON (AP) — Facing the second-ranked team in the country a little over a month after losing by 42 points, Boston College just wanted to play better. Eagles coach Erik Johnson certainly felt they did.
Kayla McBride scored 19 points, Jewell Loyd 18 and second-ranked Notre Dame coasted to an 82-61 win over Boston College on Thursday night, giving the Fighting Irish their best start in school history.
"I thought our team went toe-to-toe with a great team tonight," Johnson said. "They were clearly better than we are in a lot of areas. But I saw no fear and we went up against one of the great teams in the country."
Notre Dame won the first meeting at home, 95-53, on Jan 9, shooting 61.7 percent (37 of 60) and hitting 8 of 12 from 3-point range.
On Thursday, the Eagles held the top 3-point shooting team in the country (43.6 percent) to 2 for 8.
"I thought we defended them well," Johnson said.
Notre Dame (24-0 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) remains one of just two unbeaten teams in the country along with top-ranked Connecticut. The start surpasses the season-opening 23 straight wins by the 2000-01 team that went on to win the school's first national championship.
Kat Cooper led Boston College (12-13, 3-9) with 13 points, and Katie Zenevitch had 12 with eight rebounds. The Eagles have lost seven of eight.
Johnson would like to model his program after the way the Fighting Irish play.
"I actually asked the same question of our team," Johnson said of what makes them so good. "Notre Dame is a great vision of where we're going. They share the ball. They're passing, they're cutting."
BC's leading scorer Kristen Doherty was out for precautionary reasons with concussion symptoms.
Notre Dame is ranked second — behind UConn — in the Top 25 for the eighth consecutive week.
The Fighting Irish led 41-26 at halftime and used a 12-0 run early in the second half to move ahead by 28 points.
Similar to the first time the teams met this season, Notre Dame opened a double-digit lead in the opening minutes of the game, 21-10, but BC whittled it back into single digits a few times over the next 3 1-2 minutes before the Fighting Irish went on a game-breaking 14-0 run late in the half. Michaela Mabrey had a pair of 3s and McBride scored four points in the spree.
Notre Dame's tight man-to-man defense gave BC fits on a number of occasions in the opening half, forcing the Eagles deep into the shot clock. The Irish overplayed the 3-point shooters, leading to some late contested long-range shots.
In front of a usually small crowd that was likely reduced by a midday snowstorm that blanketed the area, some of the loudest noise could be heard from BC's bench when it needed to count down the shot clock during offensive possessions.
The Fighting Irish, who entered leading the nation in field goal and three-point percentage, missed their initial three shots from the floor before nailing their next four en route to a 15-6 edge in the opening 5 1-2 minutes.
Notre Dame pushed its advantage to 20 points for the first time (49-29) on Loyd's jumper from the right wing 3:14 into the second half, coming early a 12-0 spree. McBride capped the run with a conventional 3-point play when she was fouled on a fastbreak and converted the free throw.
Coming off a school-record fourth 100-point game in a win against Syracuse on Sunday, Notre Dame rested most of its starters for the final minutes.