SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)Olivia Miles had 17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals to help No. 9 Notre Dame rout Northern Illinois 88-48 on Monday night.
”Her pace was amazing, electric in transition,” Irish coach Niele Ivey said. ”She had the crowd going with her passes and finishes.”
Dara Mabrey added 16 points while Maddy Westbeld had 13 points and a game-high four blocks.
”Maddy is in incredible shape,” Ivey said. ”She’s extremely confident and playing some of her best basketball right now. She does everything well. She’s really focused and locked in on defense.”
Janae Poisson led NIU in scoring with 14 points.
Irish transfer post players Kylee Watson (Oregon) and Lauren Ebo (Texas) made their Notre Dame debuts. Watson started and scored nine points, while Ebo added 10 points off the bench.
”One of the really cool things about this team is how close we are off the court,” Watson said. ”That was something that we had to work on early in the year coming in with so many new players. We’re figuring out how each other plays and reads each other, but we’re really starting to click.”
Northern Illinois: The Huskies struggled to score against Notre Dame’s physical defense, shooting 27.5% from the field. Forward A’Jah Davis, the team’s top scorer a season ago had just nine points on 3 of 11 shooting.
Notre Dame: The Irish blocked nine shots. Notre Dame led the ACC with 5.3 blocks per game in 2021-22. Improving on defense is a point of emphasis for Coach Ivey this season.
SHE SAID IT
”We are growing our defensive mindset,” Ivey said. ”They’re all locked in and committed to it. There’s some things that we’re focusing on as far as our team goes and that was one of them, actually. It just shows our growth in the last couple of weeks, the commitment and the trust, in our defense and individually giving a little bit more.”
– The Irish shot 37.5% from beyond the arc against the Huskies, an uptick from last season. Notre Dame shot 32.5% in 2021-22.
– Mabrey connected on 4 of her 8 three-point field goal attempts. In 2021-22, she shot 36.9% from deep and made 2.2 threes per game, which led the Irish.
– The Huskies outrebounded the Irish, snagging 45 boards to Notre Dame’s 43.
– Notre Dame finished with 16 team steals, while turning the ball over just eight times.
– NIU turned the ball over 22 times, which led to 23 Fighting Irish points.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish head to St. Louis on Thursday to face California in the Shamrock Classic.
Northern Illinois: The Huskies host DePaul on Saturday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll