McBride leads No. 2 Notre Dame women over Pitt
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Notre Dame turned up its defense in the second half and turned away Pittsburgh.
Kayla McBride scored 19 points to help the No. 2 Irish beat Pittsburgh 73-47 on Wednesday night for their 12th-straight win.
The Irish held Pitt to just 1-of-10 shooting to open the second half and just 23.1 percent overall (6-of-26) in the half.
"We played defense," Skylar Diggins said of the difference between the first and second halves. "We stepped up our intensity. I think we were passive in the first half, especially when I got in foul trouble. But we picked up the pressure and rebounded and got out in transition."
With the game tied at 29, Notre Dame scored the final six points before break. The Irish continued the spurt in the second half, scoring 25 of the first 28 points.
Notre Dame (17-1, 6-0 Big East) led 60-32 with 10 minutes left and coasted from there. The Irish have won their last 11 Big East regular season road games, their best streak since joining the conference 18 seasons ago. With Villanova's loss to Providence, Notre Dame is now the only unbeaten team in Big East play.
"We started out okay then Skylar (Diggins) got the two fouls and we didn't respond," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I was disappointed with that, but we came out in the second half strong with a 32-6 run. . I think we played well in stretches, but, overall a good defensive effort."
Brianna Kiesel scored 12 points to lead Pitt (9-9, 0-5), which was without leading scorer Asia Logan (15.5 points per game). Logan is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. The Panthers haven't won a Big East game since Feb. 15, 2011.
It was the first meeting between the two teams since Notre Dame dealt Pittsburgh its worst loss in program history, a 120-44 defeat on Jan. 17, 2012.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 5-0 lead and coach Agnus Berenato called a timeout less than a minute into the game.
Trailing 16-5, the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to four with 12:38 remaining in the first half. Notre Dame went back ahead by eight on a layup by Pittsburgh native Madison Cable and another layup by Loyd, but the Panthers answered back with a 9-2 run and McGraw called timeout with her team ahead just 22-21 with 8:43 remaining.
Coming out of the timeout, Marquel Davis hit a layup and Cora McManus a 3-pointer to give Pittsburgh its first lead of the game, 25-22.
"We knew we weren't going to lay down," Kiesel said. "We started to buckle down and run our sets and started to knock down our open shots."
Diggins' 3-pointer tied the score and the Panthers missed their next six shots as Notre Dame went back ahead by four. Pittsburgh would tie it once more at 29 with 3:07 remaining in the half before Notre Dame closed with its 6-0 run.
Updated January 23, 2013