Irish Feel Right at Home with 72-64 Win over Florida St
Vaughn & Walker help lead Irish on Senior Night
Credit Source: Notre Dame University Athletics
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In a pivotal game to move up in the ACC standings and add a key win to the resume, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team (10-8, 8-6) stepped up with a 72-64 win over the visiting Florida State Seminoles (9-9, 8-8). With the victory, the Irish move up to fifth place and sit a half-game back from Syracuse.
Five Irish finished in double figures including two of whom were honored on Senior Night. Mikki Vaughn netted 12 points and three rebounds, while Destinee Walker added 11 points, four boards and four assists. Speaking of seniors, Nicole Benz received her first career start tonight.
Maddy Westbeld continued to do super freshmen things, securing her second consecutive double-double (third on the year) with 17 points and 12 rebounds. She also dished out five assists. Fellow freshman Olivia Miles was a bright spot once more, tallying her third straight game in double figures with a season-high 11 points, plus a season-best eight rebounds.
Lastly, Anaya Peoples rounded out the double-digit scoring performances with 11 points, in which eight came in the third quarter.
“I’m super excited about this win,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey stated. “To be able to come out and beat a really good Florida State team, I am so proud of this group. I’m proud of the seniors, to honor them tonight with a victory.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame got off to a quick 10-2 start before Florida State cut the deficit to one possession at 10-7. The Irish then ended the quarter on a 7-0 run, shooting 7-of-17 in the period, to go up 17-7. Notre Dame’s defense held FSU scoreless for the final four minutes, limiting the Seminoles to 3-of-17 shooting. Westbeld led the home squad with seven points.
The Irish made their last four shot attempts from the field to end the second quarter, as Vaughn, Miles, Brunelle and Peoples all got in on the action. Notre Dame outscored Florida State 20-2 in the paint in the first half. The Irish were 14-of-30 (.467) from the field compared to FSU’s 8-of-32 (.250), and as a result, Notre Dame led 32-19 at the midway point.
The Fighting Irish fired off a 7-0 run from 6:11 to 4:42 in the third to garner their largest lead of the game, up 18, at 48-30. The quarter featured a superb one-on-one driving layup from Peoples and a great rebounding tip assist from Miles to Peoples that got the early enrollee fired up.
The Seminoles did muster a little momentum at the end of the third, hitting a trey at the buzzer to pull within 52-39. Peoples was 3-for-3 in the period with eight points to go into double-digits.
In the fourth, Miles, Walker and Vaughn continued to thrive, scoring the team’s first 12 points. A Westbeld trey with 3:19 left pushed the lead back up to 18 at 67-49. Yet a late FSU flurry pulled the Seminoles within six (70-64), but the combo of Westbeld, Walker and Miles iced the game from the free-throw line.
- Notre Dame now leads the overall series 11-0, with a 4-0 record at home.
- Tonight marked Notre Dame’s first home game since Jan. 17.
- Entering tonight’s game, Florida State had won the rebounding battle in each of its last five games played. In that span, it had out-rebounded the opposition by +5.8 boards per game (192-163). Tonight, Notre Dame outrebounded FSU 44-31.
- With the victory, the Irish move up to fifth place and sit a half-game back from Syracuse.
- Westbeld extended her career-high double-digit scoring streak to eight.
- She notched her second straight double-double.
- Walker’s free throw streak ended at 27 tonight. She went 5-of-6 from the line.
- Olivia Miles registered her third straight game in double figures with a season-high 11 points to go with her season-high eight rebounds.
- Both seniors in Vaughn and Walker finished in double figures on Senior Day. Meanwhile, senior Nicole Benz earned her first career start.
The Irish end the regular season hosting No. 6 Louisville at Purcell Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 28. If the Irish would be successful, they could potentially climb to a No. 4 seed and earn a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament.