- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Top-ranked Notre Dame pulled away from TCU 92-59 on Saturday to stay unbeaten. It wasn’t easy.

The Irish led by just three at halftime but used strong defense and the return of inside presence Brianna Turner from foul trouble to stretch its lead.

Arike Ogunbowale scored 19 points and the Irish used a decisive third quarter to put away the pesky Horned Frogs. Leading 49-47 midway through the quarter, Notre Dame finished the period on a 17-3 run to take control. TCU, which shot 13 of 24 (54 percent) in the first half, went the final 5:24 of the quarter without a basket, 0-8 from the field in that span. The Irish (6-0) took a 66-50 lead into the fourth quarter and continued to pull away.

“I thought our defense in the second half was much better than in the first,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.

“There was that point toward the end of the third quarter where we just stopped really working it and trusting that we can work for a better shot,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said.

Turner, Notre Dame’s third-leading scorer, played only four minutes and scored just two points in the first half because of foul trouble. The Horned Frogs matched the Irish with 16 points in the paint in the opening half. Turner finished with 18 points, hitting 7 of 10 from the field as the Irish used Turner’s inside presence to outscore the Horned Frogs 20-10 in the paint in the second half.

“I thought Bri made a huge difference when she was back in the game,” McGraw said.

Ogunbowale hit 5 of 6 3-pointers and tied for the team high with seven rebounds. AJ Alix topped the Horned Frogs (4-1) with 16 points.

Notre Dame built a 22-15 first-quarter lead before the Horned Frogs inched closer. TCU had a chance to take a lead in the first half, but its possession was wiped out by an offensive foul and the Irish took a 37-34 lead to the locker room.

The Horned Frogs finished 21 of 48 (44 percent), while Notre Dame hit 33 of 71 (46 percent).

“They came out fired up,” McGraw said. “I think we’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”

BIG PICTURE

TCU: The Horned Frogs took their first loss after starting 4-0 for the first time since 2008. TCU dropped to 0-10 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams.

NOTRE DAME: Hot starts are nothing new to the Irish. Notre Dame started 7-0 last season before falling to UConn and began the previous campaign 8-0 before losing to the Huskies. In 2013-14, Notre Dame went 37-0 before losing to UConn in the national championship game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

NOTRE DAME: The Irish look to hold on to the top spot after again winning by double digits.

TCU: The unranked Horned Frogs, despite losing by a wide margin, played well and could find themselves in the rankings before the season ends.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Notre Dame won the game in large part because of a 23-3 edge in second-chance points, including 17-1 in the second half.

UP NEXT

TCU: The Horned Frogs play their second straight against a team from Indiana when they host Butler on Wednesday. It begins a stretch of six home games over a seven-game span.

NOTRE DAME: The Irish travel to Iowa to face the Hawkeyes on Wednesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide