Notre Dame knocked Boston College out of its game plan with a pressing defense, forcing the Eagles into 33 turnovers.
The 23rd-ranked Fighting Irish (4-1) got 41 points off the turnovers en route to an 88-58 victory Saturday. The Irish opened a 10-point lead in less than 5 minutes and the Eagles never got any closer.
"Our goal is to force a lot of turnovers," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "But to have 21 steals, that's really the amazing stat. I thought we set the tone early with our defense."
Five Irish players scored in double figures, led by Lindsay Schrader with 16 points, Charel Allen with 15 and Ashley Barlow and Brittany Mallory with 13 each. Becca Bruszewski added 10 points.
Boston College coach Cathy Inglese said the bigger problem was the poor guard play by her inexperienced backcourt than the Irish defense, saying they tried to dribble out of trouble rather than pass.
"I think for some reason our guards were tentative with the ball," she said. "There were holes there and they would try to get through them, then all of a sudden they would collapse and we'd turn the ball over."
Stefanie Murphy led the Eagles (2-2) with 18 points and Carolyn Swords added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Allen scored six points to help Notre Dame take a 14-4 lead as Boston College struggled against full-court pressure, turning the ball over four times in the first 5 minutes. The Irish went ahead 38-20 when Mallory hit a 3-pointer with 4:13 left in the second half and led 46-30 at the half.
"It was great to see that we could really go deep into our bench tonight and have a lot of success," McGraw said.
The Eagles scored two quick baskets by Murphy and Mickel Picco to start the second half and cut Notre Dame's lead to 46-34. But the Irish defense quickly forced four turnovers, sparking a 9-0 run to regain control.
McGraw said she was pleased the Irish responded without needing a timeout.
"I thought that was an important part of the game because they were making their run. We handled it, then we made our own. That was pretty much the game," she said.