Durham, N.C. - It came down to the final seconds inside Cameron Indoor for the Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (6-12, 1-5) who led for 39 minutes in the contest at Duke (9-8, 3-3). However, three turnovers in the final minute of the game haunted the Fighting Irish, falling 50-47 to the Blue Devils.
Mikki Vaughn and Sam Brunelle combined for 34 points and 19 boards. Vaughn secured a career best 18 points to go with her career-high tying 11 boards for her second double-double. Brunelle poured in 16 points behind a career high four made three-pointers.
“I thought we lost that game entirely on our own – the turnovers were just so costly down the stretch. We couldn’t even get shots,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw stated. “Really disappointing we couldn’t get into our plays. We got to work harder and be smarter in pressure situations.”
How It Happened
After a Duke opening basket, Notre Dame came firing out of the gate, recording a 14-2 run, which included two three-pointers from Brunelle. Up 14-4 coming out of a Duke timeout at 5:45, the Irish defense locked in to maintain said lead, holding the Blue Devils to 2-of-13 shooting in the quarter and scoreless over the final 6:37.
The opposition’s four points marked the fewest Notre Dame has given up since allowing four in the second quarter against Pitt on Jan. 4, 2019.
Vaughn spearheaded the Irish offense in the second, tallying eight points to bring her half total to 14 on 6-of-9 shooting with seven boards. The Irish converted seven field goals in the quarter from four different players (including a Danielle Cosgrove trey), claiming a 29-20 lead at the half.
Duke’s 20 points marked Notre Dame’s best defensive first half on the year and the Blue Devil’s second worst of the season. Furthermore, the Irish defense allowed both zero points off turnovers and second chance points for the half.
Brunelle’s third trey of the game kicked off the second half, handing the Irish a 32-20 advantage. However, over a 2:31 span midway through the quarter, Duke fired off a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 34-31. However, Brunelle, Walker and Vaughn got the Irish back on track, contributing baskets to push the lead to 40-33 heading into the fourth.
A Walker layup kicked off the final period giving the Irish a nine-point lead, yet Duke’s Haley Gorecki got hot and fired off a solo 8-0 run, cutting it to 42-41 with 6:58 remaining. At 6:34, Brunelle halted the run with her career-best fourth three of the night.
Up 46-45 with less than 40 seconds remaining, Duke forced back-to-back turnovers in which they converted into three points. Now trailing 48-46 with 23 seconds left, the Irish succumbed to yet another turnover, as the Blue Devils rallied for the 50-47 victory.
Today marked the 19th ever meeting between Duke and Notre Dame.
With the loss, the Irish now lead 17-2, ending a 15-game win streak.
The Irish defense limited Duke to four points in the first quarter, marking their best defensive quarter on the year and it’s best since Pitt on Jan. 4, 2019 (allowed four in the second quarter).
The Irish defense also secured it’s best defensive first half on the year by limiting Duke to 20 points. It marked Duke’s second fewest first half points on the season.
Vaughn tallied 14 points in the first half to finish with a career high 18 points.
Vaughn tied her career high in rebounds with 11, marking her second double-double on the year.
In the first half, the Irish defense allowed zero points off turnovers and zero second chance points.
Brunelle logged her 13th game in double figures with 16 points.
Brunelle connected on a career high four three-pointers, going 4-for-11 on the night.
The Irish return home for a Sunday date with Miami. Tip on Jan. 19 is slated for 1 p.m. ET inside Purcell Pavilion. The game will broadcast live on the ACC Network.