Irish send seniors out on high note with 83-65 win over North Carolina

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame women’s basketball rookies Sam Brunelle and Katlyn Gilbert continued to strengthen their respective cases for ACC Rookie of the Year on Thursday night, combining for 47 points in the 83-65 win over North Carolina.

The Fighting Irish (12-17, 7-10) recorded their most efficient showing on the year, notching a season best 26 assists on 33 made field goals against the Tar Heels (16-12, 7-10). In addition, the Irish shot over 50 percent in all four quarters, finishing 52.4 percent for the game.

“I am so thankful we could end (our home campaign) with two wins at home,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family head coach Muffet McGraw said. “We really struggled at home this year and we wanted to give them this small gift as a thank you for all they’ve done for us. We really appreciate their loyalty and support. They inspired us tonight.”

Katlyn Gilbert came one point shy of her career high with 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting to go with her season-high tying eight rebounds. Brunelle followed right behind with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting, plus nine boards. Brunelle and Gilbert continue to lead all freshmen in the ACC in scoring, ranking first and second, respectively.

Furthermore, Marta Sniezek had a Senior Day to remember, dishing out a career high 14 assists (with just two turnovers), which tied for third on the Notre Dame all-time single-game list. Mary Gavin still holds the top mark with 17, set back in 1987.

How It Happened

Notre Dame converted six of its first eight shots to jump out to a 15-8 lead before Walker’s third three-pointer of the quarter gave the Irish a 21-16 advantage after one. Brunelle also powered the offense with seven points.

Speaking of whom, Brunelle scored the first five Irish points in the second quarter, followed by four straight from Gilbert. Next, Danielle Cosgrove stole the show by firing off a career best three treys in under a three-minute span, powering the Irish to a 43-32 halftime lead.

Brunelle (14 points) and Walker (11 points) were already in double figures at the half, while Cosgrove and Gilbert lingered at nine and eight points, respectively. Overall, Notre Dame notched 14 assists on 17 made fields and were an impressive 7-of-9 from beyond the arc.

The Irish maintained the hot hand in the third, primarily thanks to Gilbert, outscoring the Tar Heels 14-3 over the first five minutes. Gilbert poured in 11 of the team’s 23 points in the period, while Brunelle supplied seven. All-in-all, Notre Dame collected 20+ points for the third straight quarter.

With the game in hand in the fourth quarter, it was the walk-ons time to shine with 1:30 remaining. With the clock winding down, both Kathleen Keyes and Catherine Murdock recorded baskets, sending fans to their feet and delivering the 83-65 final.

Notes

Today marked the 11th meeting between Notre Dame and UNC. The Irish lead the all-time series 9-2 with a 4-0 mark at home.

Katie Cole made her first career start in honor of Senior Day.

Irish dished out a season high 26 assists on 33 made field goals. It also marked their most efficient outing on the year with 20+ assists.

Brunelle recorded her fifth game with 20+ points and second in the past three games. The freshman tallied 23 points.

Gilbert tallied her 24th game in double figures and third with 20+ points after pouring in 24 tonight. Gilbert shone bright in the third where she fired off 11 of her points.

Gilbert tied her career high in rebounds with eight.

Walker logged her eighth straight game in double figures and 24th of the season after recording 14 points. Walker went 3-of-4 from three in the first quarter.

Cosgrove went off late in the second quarter, recording three treys from 4:38-1:44. Cosgrove thus finished with nine points.

Sniezek collected a charge in the fourth quarter and now boasts 32 on the year.

Sniezek dished out a career high 14 assists, which tied for third on the all-time single-game list. Mary Gavin still holds the top mark with 17, set back in 1987.

Sniezek notched her third double-digit assist game on the year, which is the most of any ACC player.

The Irish shot over 50 percent in all four quarters.

Up Next

The Irish finish regular season play on Sunday, March 1, with a trip to Tallahassee to challenge No. 19 Florida State. The game will broadcast live on the ACC Network at 2 p.m. ET.