Natalie Achonwa scored 19 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Irish. Kayla McBride added 16 points and Skylar Diggins had 14, shooting 4 for 17 from the field.
The Irish never trailed, though the game was momentarily tied 19-19 with 5:17 left in the half on Rachel Roberts' 3-pointer. Notre Dame regained control of the game by closing the half on a 10-2 run to enter halftime leading 29-21. Villanova did get within 48-46, on a Devon Kane's 3-pointer with 4:45 left in the game, but the Irish scored 11 of the final 17 points to seal the win.
Emily Leer scored 15 points and Roberts added 14 for the Wildcats (16-6, 5-4).
Diggins started very slow. She missed her first seven shots before scoring on a layup with a minute left in the half. She did give Notre Dame a big boost defensively when Villanova closed to within two on Kane's 3-pointer.
"We got two possessions of good defense, and I think that gives your team a lot of confidence," Diggins said. "We wanted to push the pace because we knew they wanted to slow it down. We got out a caught a couple of sets and got some baskets off of that. They're a tough team to play against, and they want to play offense during the whole shot clock. They all can shoot the ball, so you have to be honest on the 3-point shot. It's a pain to guard, so I'm glad it's my senior year. We're glad we got the win for coach on the road and 700. It's special for her, and for us and for the program."
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