PITTSBURGH (AP) — Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw wanted a better defensive performance, and the Fighting Irish delivered — for a half, at least.
Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd scored 20 points apiece, and the second-ranked Irish clamped down on Pittsburgh in a 109-66 victory on Thursday night.
Notre Dame shot 61 percent (40 for 66) from the field and held Pitt to 37.1 percent shooting. The Panthers had only nine field goals on 28.1 percent shooting in the first half.
"I thought the first half was very good," McGraw said. "I thought late in the game we weren't as interested defensively as we could have been."
The Irish (16-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) were coming off a 79-72 victory at Virginia on Sunday that included 47.1 percent shooting for the Cavaliers in the first half.
"We felt we gave up too many points," McGraw said. "Monday, we had a completely defensive practice, no offense whatsoever."
It was a vastly different performance against the Panthers.
The Irish grabbed control with a tiebreaking 12-0 run early in the first half and led 54-25 at the break. The advantage ballooned to as many as 45 points in the second half.