VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Villanova was playing at home Tuesday night, though it might not have felt like it with all of the green-clad T-shirts that filled the Pavilion.
A lot of the fans were there to cheer on Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, who was going for her 700th career victory.
They didn't go home disappointed, although the host Wildcats put a scare into the second-ranked Irish.
Villanova was within a basket with less than five minutes to play before falling 59-52. It was the Wildcats' first loss at home this season.
"I thought we played very well in spurts, and we made mistakes in spurts, the difference against a high-quality team like that is if you make mistakes, they took advantage of every mistake we made," Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. "I thought we played decent on offense. We generated three-point shots on offense and overall it was a good game and we'll just try to get better and show up for the next one."
McGraw became the 13th coach in Division I history to reach the 700-victory plateau with No. 2 Notre Dame's 59-52 victory over Villanova on Tuesday night. Her career record is now 700-257 in 31 years coaching (612-216 in 26 years at Notre Dame).
McGraw played for Bishop Shanahan in nearby West Chester and collegiately for St. Joseph's. Her first head coaching job was at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor, literally down the street from Villanova.
"You know, I feel so blessed, I'm so incredibly lucky to be coaching at Notre Dame and to be surrounded by such class people, all of the players that have come through the last 25 years, the administration, all of the assistant coaches, everyone at Notre Dame has treated me so well," McGraw said. "It did mean more winning at Villanova. My whole family was here and we had about 100 people here, and it was so excited to see so much green. There was a lot of green out there. It did kind of feel like a home game."
This wasn't an easy victory for the Irish (21-1, 9-0 Big East).
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