- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - The list of streaks that No. 4 Notre Dame carried into Thursday night was lengthy.

There was the perfect 21-0 record in Atlantic Coast Conference games and the 30-game road winning streak that tied Connecticut for the Division I record. Add to that, a 61-game stretch of wins against unranked teams, 25 straight conference road victories, 38 wins in a row in league play … and there were others as well.

Not anymore.

Notre Dame nearly dug itself out of a giant second-half hole, but even 27 points from Jewell Loyd and a 17-point, 10-rebound night from Brianna Turner wasn’t enough as the Fighting Irish lost to Miami 78-63.

“If it helps you get better,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said, “it’s a good thing.”

Time will tell if that’s the case. But first, another streak is likely to end - when the next AP Top 25 poll comes out next week, it’ll likely be the first time in 28 sets of the rankings that the Fighting Irish (14-2, 2-1 ACC) aren’t among the nation’s top five teams.

Adrienne Motley scored a career-high 32 points for Miami (12-3, 2-0), which has won 10 of its last 11 games. Jassany Williams blocked a school-record nine shots for the Hurricanes, and Suriya McGuire added 11 points and eight rebounds for Miami.

The last thing Miami coach Katie Meier told her team before the game was that a win wouldn’t surprise her, and she was true to her word afterward.

“We knew that we would have an opportunity, and then we would have some adversity, and then we would have to come back,” Meier said. “So we scripted the game in their minds.”

Miami led 40-20 at the half, saw that whittled to six and then closed the game on a 23-14 spurt. Motley made 13 of 19 shots, Williams added six points and eight rebounds to her nine-block night and Miami’s bench outscored Notre Dame’s 21-7.

Notre Dame’s last road loss was March 6, 2012, at Connecticut, which set the Division I women’s record with 30 straight road wins from 2008-10.

“You never like to lose, but we’re just so darn young sometimes that we needed maybe a kick in the pants to kind of say we need to come out ready,” McGraw said. “I don’t know mentally what they were thinking before the game but we were uncharacteristically bad in the first half. Credit their defense, that really set us back on our heels.”

The Hurricanes went on a 20-4 run to end the half, with Motley and Necole Sterling combining for 16 of those points. Notre Dame shot just 24 percent in the first 20 minutes, its six field goals matching the total Motley had herself by intermission.

Notre Dame, which came in averaging nearly 86 points per game, predictably came roaring back.

Turner’s three-point play with 8:28 left got the Fighting Irish within 55-49, but they got no closer.

TIP-INS

Notre Dame: The Irish started four guards, in part because F Taya Reimer - who had started all 15 of Notre Dame’s games prior to Thursday - was not with the team for personal reasons. … Notre Dame met Miami Heat F Chris “Birdman” Andersen on its trip, and took in some other South Florida sights.

Miami: The Hurricanes became the second team to lead Notre Dame by at least 20 points this season, Connecticut being the other. … Miami wears an “ES” patch on its jerseys to pay tribute to the late Edna Shalala, the mother of University of Miami president Donna Shalala.

“MILD” DIFFERENCE

Notre Dame probably wasn’t in a very big hurry to leave. The temperature when Notre Dame’s bus arrived at the Bank United Center was 68 degrees - 57 degrees warmer than it was on their campus at South Bend, Indiana, at the same time.

PAST VS. FUTURE

Notre Dame was recently an Adidas school, before switching to Under Armour. Thursday’s game was played hours after Miami announced it will no longer be a Nike school and will be playing in Adidas apparel for 12 years starting in September.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Host Boston College on Sunday.

Miami: At Virginia Tech on Sunday.


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