No. 2 Notre Dame women beat FSU 83-57 in ACCs

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm •  Published: March 7, 2014
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Notre Dame made its Atlantic Coast Conference tournament debut look a lot like nearly every other game it played in the league this season.

Jewell Loyd scored 17 points to lead the No. 2 Fighting Irish past Florida State 83-57 in the quarterfinals Friday, keeping them unbeaten with yet another lopsided win in their new league.

Notre Dame (30-0) ran off 21 straight points in the first half, led by 22 at halftime and never let the Seminoles flirt with any sort of a comeback.

The closest thing to a hiccup? Missing their first six shots and falling behind 6-0 shortly before that 21-0 burst.

"I thought we looked a little rusty at the beginning of the game," coach Muffet McGraw said. "But I thought we pulled ourselves together pretty quickly, had a nice run at the end of the half."

It marked the 13th time in 17 games that the Irish have beaten an ACC opponent by at least 20 points this season, according to STATS LLC. The Irish beat league opponents by an average of 23 points in the regular season.

Next up is No. 14 North Carolina State, which lost by 24 points at home to the Fighting Irish less than a week ago and could be without top player Markeisha Gatling due to a knee injury suffered in Friday's quarterfinal win over Syracuse.

The Fighting Irish are the first team since North Carolina in 2007-08 to go unbeaten in the ACC regular season. Notre Dame was so dominant that it also became the first team to win the league race by at least four games since Duke did it in 2001-02.

Senior Natalie Achonwa said her team doesn't feel pressure to keep the unbeaten streak going.

"I think we took that accomplishment of being undefeated in the regular season and we put it on the backburner, celebrated for a little bit," she said. "But we have further goals to accomplish so that's what we're looking at, and we're looking forward."

Kayla McBride added 13 for the top-seeded Fighting Irish, who shot 65 percent before halftime and finished at 60 percent. Notre Dame also had 24 assists on 32 baskets while getting the chance to rest its starters, none of whom played more than 30 minutes.

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