The weather outside was frigid cold. Inside the Purcell Pavilion, the Irish looked to get back in the win column against the Miami Hurricanes. Earlier in the week the news that Anaya Peoples is out for the remainder of the season. This means the Irish are forced into a tougher situation. A team that is struggling doesn’t need more adversity. All they can do is come together as a team, is dig deep and get a “W” in the win column.
Miami tried to set the tempo from the tip-off. Mykea Gray scores the first seven points on the Irish. From retrieving her own lay up off the glass and then coming back down the court and dropping a three pointer, Purcell Pavilion was silent early. Those seven points would be the only points she would score in the quarter. The Irish saw the defense kick up while the offense would see Mikayla Vaughn (6 points), Sam Brunelle (2 points), Kaitlyn Gilbert (2 points) and Destinee Walker (6 points, 2 three pointers).
The Irish and Hurricanes struggled to find the rim for a length of time. Neither team scored a basket for period of about a minute. Both teams had three looks at the hoop in that time frame. Though the Irish scored on a Mikayla Vaughn layup, the Irish defense stopped Miami from scoring for four minutes. That is a serious drought in basketball. The closest Miami would come to the Irish near the end of the quarter would be a 13-12 margin down one. Destinee Walker finished the quarter with a three pointer to give the Irish a 16-12 lead after one quarter of play.
The second quarter saw both teams struggle to control the ball. Both teams took turns turning the ball over and exchanging misses on the offensive ends. But Sam Brunelle brought Purcell Pavilion to its feet with a monster three pointer to break the Irish scoring drought. On the ensuing possession Walker wanted in on the three point action as well. If Purcell Pavillion wasn’t loud after Brunelle’s bucket, the volume definitely increased after Walker’s bucket.
But basketball is a game of runs, and Miami put one of those together. For 3:06 the Irish were held scoreless. In that time frame, the Hurricanes scored seven points and the score was 23-24 Irish. The Hurricanes took a brief lead 27-26, but that lasted only :30. Miami would win the second quarter 15-12, but went into the locker room down 28-27.
Sam Brunelle as a true Freshman, knows what it takes to win. Coming out of the locker room, Brunelle got the first points of the second half on a lay up. The closest Miami got to a lead was when they tied the game at 32-32. That’s the last time they would score for 7:30. During that time frame the Irish went on a 20-0 run. Brunelle scored 12 of those points during the run. It was the best third quarter of the Irish season. The Irish break this one wide open 52-34 to end the quarter.
Ten minutes! That’s all the Irish need to do to secure a victory against Miami. The one thing Coach McGraw would love to do is empty her depleted bench and get the starters off the floor. Before that can happy there is work to be done. Brunelle drained back to back three pointer’s. Each of them brought the home crowd to their feet.
The Irish defense continued to give the Hurricanes issues. The offense did what it needed to do to secure a victory. Vaughn and Brunelle each scored eight points, Walker had seven points, and Gilbert had two. The Irish win one at home before their by week 76-53 on a complete team effort.
- Brunelle recorded her second game with 20+ points this season with 25.
- Brunelle went off in the second half, scoring 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
- Notre Dame tied its second-best shooting performance on the year, converting 50.0 percent of its shots.
- Walker’s 21 points combined with Brunelle’s 25 points was 46 out of the 76 points.