First place met last place in the 15-team Atlantic Coast Conference on Thursday night, and the 82-45 Notre Dame victory versus Boston College spelled out the disparity.
The Eagles shot an abysmal 3 of 32 (9.4 percent) from the field in the second half while tallying only 14 points (seven in each quarter) over those final 20 minutes. The Fighting Irish themselves were only 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) during that time, but still easily cruised to the victory.
The 14 points scored by Boston College (9-19 overall and 2-13 in the ACC) were the fewest in one half by a Notre Dame opponent since Jan. 24, 2016, when Virginia Tech managed only 11 in the first half.
With the win, Notre Dame (26-3, 14-1 ACC) clinched at least a share of the ACC title and will shoot for a fourth consecutive outright regular season championship when it hosts No. 8 Florida State Sunday afternoon.
“It’s good to know we control our own destiny,” summarized Irish head coach Muffet McGraw in what she succinctly labeled an “ugly” second half of basketball.
Senior point guard Lindsay Allen, honored in pregame Senior Night ceremonies to avoid the emotional moment on Sunday versus FSU, scored a team-high 18 points to pace five Irish players who tallied double figures. Allen also had eight assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Freshman forward Erin Boley finished with 14 points, draining 4 of 8 from three-point range; junior forward Brianna Turner produced 12 points, seven blocked shots and six rebounds in 23 minutes; and sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale and freshman guard Jackie Young had 11 points apiece.
Junior Kathryn Westbeld was withheld from action to rest her injured ankle, and classmate Mychal Johnson, wearing a walking boot on her left leg, is shut down from action until at least tournament time.
1. Going For Two — Notre Dame’s streak of shooting at least 50 percent from the field ended at six games because of the second-half effort that resulted in 45.5 percent for the game. Nevertheless, the Irish still tallied at least 80 points in their fifth straight contest, and six of the last seven. The flow and balance on offense has been an upgrade the past month. Especially notable is Notre Dame is shooting 57.2 percent inside the arc the last six games.
2. Freshman Aid — For the third straight game, the 6-0 Young paced the Irish in rebounds, finishing with eight (five on offense). Over the last five games, her 44 boards— a remarkable 27 on offense — are the most on the team, ahead of Turner’s 37. Young also scored 46 points in that time.
Boley converted a career-high four threes against the Eagles, a much-needed boost after going 2 of 16 in her last four games beyond the arc. Her rebounding and defense have improved during the season, but her identity on the floor will be her shooting stroke that McGraw still considers the best on the team.
3. More Assisted Living — With eight assists against Boston College, Allen has 769, 10 short of surpassing the school career standard of 778 by Mary Gavin (1984-88). Moreover, Allen needs 17 to become the all-time leader in the ACC.
With one more year to go, Turner’s blocked shot total of 249 (seven versus BC) trailed only Irish legend Ruth Riley’s 370.
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