NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team began Atlantic Coast Conference play on Sunday, but couldn’t open up with a victory, falling 71-55 to Clemson. The Fighting Irish (5-8, 0-1) were ultimately doomed by a 7-of-31 shooting performance in the first half and couldn’t overcome the deficit, despite outscoring the Tiger (5-8, 1-1) 24-16 in the fourth quarter.
Katlyn Gilbert provided a superb stat line, registering 16 points, six boards and a career high nine assists. Anaya Peoples supplied 14 points and seven boards, while Destinee Walker rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points and five boards.
“Our lack of awareness hurt us again,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw said. “(Kobi) Thornton had a really good second half – tough matchup for us. We couldn’t make a shot and we hung our heads. Instead of saying we could get a rebound or defend or get an assist, we just hung our heads and that’s unacceptable.”
How It Happened
It was a low scoring first quarter as the Tigers edged the Irish, 12-11. Notre Dame started the game 3-of-4 from the field, but ended the period 4-of-17. Peoples was active on the boards, collecting six rebounds over the opening 10 minutes.
Clemson scored the first six points of the second quarter, jumping out to an 18-11 lead, which forced a Notre Dame timeout at the 8:29 mark. The Tigers then used the momentum to garner a 35-17 advantage at the half, limiting the Irish to 3-of-14 shooting for the period.
Clemson’s Kendall Spray haunted the Irish from the beyond the arc this afternoon, tying the Purcell Pavilion record for made three-pointers with eight. Spray was 5-of-7 from three at the half and finished 8-of-14, tallying a season high 24 points. Behind Spray and Kobi Thornton’s 23-point effort, Clemson built a 28-point lead, up 53-25, with 3:34 left in the third.
However, the Irish continued to fight back, ending the third on a 6-2 scoring spree. Notre Dame then scored the first eight points of the fourth and outscored Clemson 15-4 over a 4.5 minute stretch to cut the deficit to just 13 points (59-46) with 5:33 remaining. Yet, Clemson was able to stymie the momentum, stalling the comeback there to hold on for the 71-55 win.
Irish drop their first contest to Clemson in the all-time series, as they now lead the Tigers, 6-1.
Notre Dame’s streak of 58 consecutive conference games won at home came to an end today. The streak dates back to Notre Dame’s Big East days in 2012.
Mikki Vaughn played in her first game since hurting her knee in the season opener. Vaughn provided eight points, four steals and two boards.
Peoples notched double-digit points for the 10th time this season, tallying 14.
Gilbert has totaled double-digit points in all 13 games this season. The sophomore scored a team high 16 points.
Gilbert dished out a career high 9 assists.
Walker rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 today, her 10th on the season as well.
The Irish hit the road in the new year for a January 2 showdown at Pittsburgh. Tip is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ACCNX.