Irish Fall to Late Clemson Rally, 68-63
Maddy Westbeld pours in 21 points on 10-for-11 shooting
Credit Source: University of Notre Dame Athletics
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The sixth-seeded Notre Dame women’s basketball team (10-10) couldn’t stave off a late fourth-quarter charge from the 11th-seeded Clemson Tigers (11-12), falling prey to a 68-63 defeat in the second round of the ACC Tournament. The Irish led by as much as 10 points with under 12 minutes remaining in the game but 23 costly turnovers were the difference-maker.
Maddy Westbeld was nearly perfect from the field, going 10-for-11 to lead the squad with 21 points. The freshman nearly captured a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds.
Fellow freshman Olivia Miles secured her fifth straight game in double figures with 10 points, to go along with her season-high eight assists. Dara Mabrey rounded out the Irish in double figures with 10 points as well.
“It was a disappointing loss and hats off and credit to Clemson,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey stated. “They came out and fought until the end. I thought we came out and set the tone the way that I wanted to as far as our team. Then in the second half, I thought Clemson fought all the way to the end and had a tremendous fourth quarter.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame edged Clemson in the first quarter to garner a 17-15 lead. Olivia Miles was the bright spot in the opening stanza, recording six points and two assists.
The Irish turned up the heat to kick off the second, converting seven of their first eight shots. During that stretch, Notre Dame outscored Clemson 16-9. Destinee Walker scored five straight during the scoring spree, while Maddy Westbeld poured in eight points for the period.
However, Clemson garnered some momentum to close the half, firing off a 7-2 scoring run to shorten the deficit to 36-31. Notre Dame shot 56 percent in the first half compared to Clemson’s 36 percent, but the Tigers were able to put up 11 more field goal attempts thanks to 11 Irish turnovers.
A couple of timely three-pointers in the third kept the Tigers at bay for most of the quarter. With it being just a five-point ballgame, Mabrey hit a big trey at 5:26 that led to an eventual 10-point lead for the Irish up 45-35. Next, Clemson took advantage of two Notre Dame fouls on the same play that resulted in a five-point swing. Yet, Miles answered with her first career trey that once again led to a 10-point lead, up 52-42.
Yet, the Tigers continued to fight back, firing off an 8-0 run, before a Vaughn layup at the buzzer gave the Irish a 54-50 advantage heading into the final quarter. At that point, Miles, Mabrey and Westbeld were all in double figures.
Later, it was a one-point game midway through the fourth, but the Mabrey to Westbeld connection delivered at 4:35, to make it 60-57. However, with Brunelle’s and Vaughn’s respective fifth fouls, the Tigers gained some momentum and claimed a 61-60 lead with 1:28 remaining.
Then with 18 seconds left, Clemson’s Kendall Spray threw up a prayer with the shot-clock expiring, lifting her left foot off the ground at the final second (was inside the arc), only for it to bank off the backboard and in. Down four, Westbeld quickly delivered with an and-one to make it a one-point game with less than 14 to go. Yet, Clemson answered from the free-throw line to seal the 68-63 win.
- Notre Dame still leads the overall series, 6-3. Tonight marked the first time the two sides have met in the ACC Tournament.
- The Irish fall to 17-3 all-time in the ACC Tournament.
- The ACC top-scoring freshman Maddy Westbeld didn’t disappoint with 21 points on 10-for-11 shooting, plus nine rebounds.
- Since returning from the team’s Covid pause, Westbeld has compiled 67 points and 38 rebounds over four games.
- Olivia Miles continued her hot shooting, registering her fifth straight game in double figures with 10 points. She also added a career high eight assists.
- Dara Mabrey recorded her 10th game in double figures with 10 points.