Va. Tech women fall 74-48 to No. 2 Irish

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Not much has gone right for Virginia Tech since a narrow four-point loss to third-ranked Duke.

First they lost by 21 points to Georgia Tech, then by 16 to No. 23 Florida State before suffering their most lopsided loss of the season, 74-48 to No. 2 Notre Dame on Thursday night.

“We’re fragile,” Virginia Tech coach Dennis Wolff said. “But, at least from where I was sitting, the girls were still trying and I think if we keep plugging away at it there are games we can win if we get ourselves righted.”

Virginia Tech was only four points down with 5:41 left in the first half, but the Fighting Irish ended the half on a 15-1 run to break the game open.

“It got away from us,” Wolff said. “It is difficult for us to make up that ground against this kind of team.”

Six Irish players scored during the decisive spurt with Kayla McBride, who led the Irish with 18 points, sparking the run with a jumper.

“They went to the 2-3 toward the end of the first half and we started getting it inside and getting easy looks and started getting some steals and turnovers that allowed us to get into transition,” McBride said. “And we just started hitting shots.”

The Irish opened the second half with an 8-2 spurt to quickly extend the lead to 24 points and eventually led by 30.

The Irish (20-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are off to their second best start, three victories shy of matching the 2000-01 start that led to a national championship. It was the most lopsided defeat of the season for the Hokies (10-10, 0-7), who have lost eight straight.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said it was difficult to face the struggling Hokies sandwiched between games against No. 8 Maryland, whom the Irish beat on Monday, and No. 3 Duke, whom the Irish face Sunday.

“You could tell when we came out. We were just flat. We just didn’t have it,” she said.

One of the highlights for the Irish was an alley-oop layup by Jewell Loyd. She made a steal, passed to Lindsay Allen and got it back from Allen, who had a season-high eight assists. It was the third straight basket for Loyd, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds and three steals.

“It brought us energy,” McGraw said. “We just needed something to get the crowd going.”

Wolff said he thinks his team fell asleep on the possession, something they couldn’t afford to do against the Irish.

“They have really good players. They make good plays. They are smart, they’re well coached and they’re tough. So there is a reason why they are 20-0,” he said.

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