Oct. 30, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - With three seniors out with injuries, the University of Notre Dame women's basketball team put its young talent on display Wednesday night in a convincing 118-49 exhibition win over the Division II California (Pa.) Vulcans in front of 7,743 fans at Purcell Pavilion.
Despite senior leaders Ariel Braker, Kayla McBride and Natalie Achonwa not dressing for the exhibition, the Irish had limited issues with the Vulcans after the game's opening minutes as they poured on the points in the first half on their way to a 70-20 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Irish stretched their lead to 77 before settling in for the 69-point victory.
The win improves the Fighting Irish exhibition record to 34-1 in games since 1993-94 and was also the highest scoring exhibition game in Notre Dame women's basketball history. The previous high was a 111-82 win over the Visby Ladies of Sweden Club in 1998.
Notre Dame had offensive production from everyone in uniform as all 10 players that dressed out got on the scoreboard. The Irish shot an impressive 61.8% from the field, including 72.2% in the first half.
The Irish also hit the glass hard to win the rebounding battle, 56-25, and shot 39 free throws (making 29) to just nine for the Vulcans.
Reimer got off to a perfect start on offense, as the Fishers, Ind., native went 11-for-11 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in just 20 minutes of on-court play.
"I was just really trying to be in the right place at the right time," said Reimer. "Jewell (Loyd) and Lindsay [Allen] both did a great job of looking in the post and looking for me, and I tried to do the same for them. But I was just trying to be as physical as I could down low and just be in the right spot to get those shots."
Allen, meanwhile, dished out nine assists and had just one turnover in 28 minutes.
"I definitely didn't want the one turnover, but nine assists and one turnover is fine," said Allen. "With the offense that we have and this transition game that we have, it makes it a lot easier to just kick the ball up."
Reigning National Freshman of the Year Jewell Loyd picked up where she left off last season, matching Reimer's 27 points in just 19 minutes of action.
"I'm just trying to take what the defense gives me," said Loyd. "I know Coach wants me to get inside and be mean and try to attack the basket and just let the game come to me. I just took what the defense gave me tonight."
Starting two freshmen (Reimer and Allen), two sophomores (Michaela Mabrey and Jewell Loyd) and junior Madison Cable, head coach Muffet McGraw was pleased with Loyd, Reimer and Allen on offense, but found plenty of areas where the Irish could improve before they open the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 against the UNC Wilmington Seahawks.
"I was very disappointed in our defense," said McGraw. "I was disappointed with the intensity of our defense. I was disappointed with our transition defense. I was very disappointed with everyone on defense. Offensively, I thought Jewell [Loyd] played really well. She attacked the basket more. Taya [Reimer], I thought shot the ball extremely well. We got her in really good positions. That's a fantastic line for a freshman in her first game. And I was really pleased with Lindsay Allen. She ran the team well. She took good shots, took care of the ball and only had one turnover. We had 16 as a group. So I was really pleased."
Junior Emma Mahady (11 points) and senior Elena Antonenko (7 points) led in scoring for California (Pa.), who is receiving votes in Division II after finishing 22-9 overall and 15-7 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) under third year head coach and former Penn State standout Jess Strom.