CANCUN, Mexico The Notre Dame women’s basketball squad (4-3) tried to overcome a turnover heavy game (25 total), but the late rally against Florida Gulf Coast (6-1) came up just short, falling 69-60, in game one of the Cancun Challenge.
Anaya Peoples led the Irish in scoring, tying her season high of 19 points, while nearly achieving her first double-double with a season best nine rebounds. Fellow freshman Sam Brunelle recorded her second double-double in three games with 11 points and 12 boards. Lastly, Katlyn Gilbert rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
How It Happened
Brunelle scored the first seven points, pushing the Irish to an early 7-2 advantage. However, after a Sniezek layup at 5:43, which put the Irish up 9-2, Notre Dame didn’t score for the remainder of the quarter. As a result, Florida Gulf Coast produced a 12-0 run, which later extended into a 16-0 run, spilling into the second quarter.
Peoples then ended what was a seven-minute drought at the 8:22 mark. Cosgrove and Brunelle then followed, resulting in a 7-0 Irish run to pull within two at 18-16 at 6:54. Yet, the Eagles recaptured the momentum with back-to-back treys on consecutive possessions to go up 26-19, and eventually 30-21 at the half.
Brunelle nearly had a double-double at the midway point with 11 points and nine boards. Turnovers continued to haunt Notre Dame, committing nine in the second quarter for a total of 14 at the half.
The Irish utilized three-point plays to slowly chip away in the third. Gilbert and Sniezek each hit treys, while Peoples scored on two and-ones in the quarter, all resulting in the Irish pulling within four at 41-37 at the 5:01 mark. Yet, Florida Gulf Coast connected on two three’s of their own in the final 1:37 of the quarter to go up 55-45 heading into the fourth.
Facing their largest deficit of the game, 63-47, with 6:42 remaining, the Irish continued to fight back, firing off a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to six with 2:35 left. Yet, it was FGCU’s Davlon Wingate who converted back-to-back layups to stymie the rally and finish off the 69-60 victory.
Peoples was a major reason for the late rally, scoring nine points in the third and six in the fourth.
Today marked the first ever meeting between Notre Dame and Florida Gulf Coast.
Today also marked just the third ever Thanksgiving Day game in program history.
The Irish suffer their first Thanksgiving week tournament/showcase loss spanning over the last decade (since 2009-10 season), moving their record to 13-1 in that span.
Notre Dame and FGCU are two of just four programs in Division I to win 25 or more games in each season since 2010-11, with the other two being UConn and Baylor. Notre Dame’s current streak sits at 10.
Brunelle added on to her program record this afternoon with her seventh straight double-digit scoring effort, supplying 11 points.
Brunelle is the first Irish player in program history to start her career with seven double-digit scoring games, with the previous record being four.
Brunelle also recorded her second double-double in a three-game span, reeling in 12 rebounds.
Gilbert kept her career high double-digit streak rolling with 14 points versus FGCU, making it seven games in a row.
Peoples tied her season high of 19 points and achieved a new season best with nine boards.
It’ll be a quick turnaround, for the Irish return to action in less than 24 hours, challenging South Dakota State on Friday at 11 a.m. ET.