Nov. 1, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Representing the excellence of the program's recent past and the promise of its near future, the guard duo of two-time All-American Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) and McDonald's All-American Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) combined for 33 points and 10 assists Thursday night as the No. 7/6 Notre Dame women's basketball team raced past Edinboro University, 88-28, in exhibition action at Purcell Pavilion.
Loyd, a freshman, notched 20 points, three assists and three rebounds in her Fighting Irish debut, while Diggins, a senior and preseason All-America selection, added 13 points, five rebounds and a team-high seven assists for Notre Dame in 17 minutes of action.
Although Notre Dame committed an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers in the game, the stifling Fighting Irish defense more than made up for the miscues, forcing 33 Edinboro turnovers that led to 36 points for the home team. Notre Dame limited the Fighting Scots to a paltry 25 percent (11-44) shooting effort on the night, while the Fighting Irish offense shot 50 percent (28-56) from the floor, including a 57.7 percent (15-26) mark in the second half.
The Fighting Irish asserted their will around the basket throughout the contest and held advantages of 44-22 in rebounding and 36-8 in points in the paint. The Notre Dame bench, led by 11 points from sophomore guard Whitney Holloway (Plainfield, Ill./Montini Catholic), outscored the Edinboro reserves, 29-8, for the game.
The exhibition tilt got off to a familiar start, as Diggins posted the first six points of the contest, then registered assists on two of the next three Fighting Irish baskets to help Notre Dame open the game on a 12-2 run. After Edinboro moved to within seven points (14-7) on a three-pointer by Kiara Brown, Notre Dame responded with a 10-0 run to extend its advantage to 24-7 with 9:49 to play in the first half.
A three-pointer by freshman guard Michaela Mabrey (Belmar, N.J./Manasquan) pushed the Notre Dame lead to 29-9, and eight consecutive points from Loyd - including a 6-for-6 run from the free-throw line -- gave the Fighting Irish a 39-13 edge with less than three minutes to go in the half. Notre Dame finished the stanza on a 13-0 run and led at the break, 43-13.
Junior guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) and sophomore forward Markisha Wright (Des Moines, Iowa/East) combined to score 12 of Notre Dame's first 16 points of the second half as the Fighting Irish pulled in front by 36 (59-23). McBride posted 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in a productive 25 minutes on the floor, while Wright contributed nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.
From there, Notre Dame rattled off 19 consecutive points, including six points from Holloway and five from Diggins, to move ahead by 53 (76-23) with 8:20 left in the game.
All in all, the Fighting Irish outscored the Fighting Scots, 31-5, over the game's last 15 minutes, as the final score of 88-28 proved to be the biggest lead of the contest for Notre Dame.
The win improves the Fighting Irish to 33-1 in exhibition games since 1993-94, including an active 28-game winning streak.
Brown led Edinboro with 10 points and two assists, while Darche Jackson added six points and five rebounds for the Fighting Scots.
Notre Dame tips off the 2012-13 regular season at 4 p.m. (ET) Nov. 9 when it takes on No. 19/21 Ohio State in the Carrier Classic, to be held outdoors on the deck of the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C. NBC Sports Network will televise the game to a national cable audience. The Fighting Irish then will return to Purcell Pavilion for their regular-season home opener at 2 p.m. (ET) on Nov. 18 against Massachusetts, in a homecoming game for former South Bend Washington High School standout (and Diggins' prep teammate) Jasmine Watson.
Single-game tickets are on sale for all home games during the 2012-13 Notre Dame women's basketball season, starting at $8 for adults and $5 for youths (21 and younger) and seniors (55 and older), with slightly higher prices for adult tickets ($12) for the Dec. 5 Baylor and March 4 Connecticut games. For details or to make a purchase, call (574) 631-7356, visit the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday), or go on-line 24 hours a day to the official Fighting Irish athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women's basketball Twitter pages (@ndwbbsid or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame is 33-1 in its last 34 exhibition games, including 28 in a row, dating back to the 1993-94 season ... the past 12 Fighting Irish preseason victories have come against NCAA Division II or Canadian opponents, with Thursday's win marking the second against a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (Notre Dame defeated Gannon, 96-30 in the 2008-09 opener) ... the Fighting Irish have held five of their last six exhibition opponents to fewer than 40 points, setting a new preseason record on Thursday by holding Edinboro to 28 points (the previous school record for fewest points allowed in an exhibition was 30 points, set in the 2008-09 win over Gannon, and matched in a 102-30 win over Michigan Tech to open the 2010-11 campaign) ... Notre Dame has won its last seven exhibition games by an average of 53.6 points per game, while scoring 93.1 ppg., in those same seven contests ... in their last five preseason games, the Fighting Irish have forced their opponents into 36.8 turnovers per night (never fewer than 33 in a single outing) ... had this been a regular-season game, Holloway's 11 points would have been a career high, topping her current official mark of six points against Hartford on Nov. 17, 2011, at Purcell Pavilion ... all three Notre Dame freshmen (Loyd, Mabrey and Hannah Huffman (Diablo, Calif./Carondelet)) made their unofficial college debuts on Thursday, as did sophomore guard Madison Cable (Mt. Lebanon, Pa./Mt. Lebanon), who missed all of last season with stress fractures in both feet ... Thursday's crowd of 8,226 set a new Notre Dame women's basketball exhibition game record, topping the previous mark of 7,735 set in last year's win over Windsor (Ontario).