SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was encouraged by what she saw in Wednesday's 73-61 loss to Baylor in Purcell Pavilion.
Even though the No. 5 Irish (5-1) shot only 35.7 percent, had 13 turnovers and lost for the fourth time in four games against the No. 3 Bears (7-1), McGraw said there was plenty to build off of from the rematch of last season's NCAA tournament championship game.
"We've got a ways to go, but we got a lot of good things to build on," said McGraw, whose team is 0-4 all-time against Baylor. "Offensively, I think we are still a work in progress. We tried to get the stuff we've worked on in practice, and we missed some shots we normally make. I think overall offensively, I think last year when we played them we were bad, and I thought we were much better than we were last year with a much younger team and (Baylor) has the same team. So I was pleased. I think we have gotten better."
Freshman guard Jewell Loyd had the best performance for Notre Dame in the loss. Loyd scored 24 points and hit four of five three-pointers.
"I just came to the game thinking it was just another home game," Loyd said. "I got into a rhythm early, and I think just having confidence on the floor really helped and I stayed motivated. And my shots just went in."
Kayla McBride scored 18 for the Irish, and Natalie Achonwa had 11 points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 1:34 to play.
Irish senior guard Skylar Diggins scored only eight points on 4-of-19 shooting.
"I thought I took my shots. I don't think I hesitated," Diggins said. "I was just shooting it, and it wasn't going in. I think I shot it the same way. It just wasn't falling."
Baylor also struggled to get shots to fall at the start of the game, but the Bears scored on their last nine shots of the first half and held a 33-27 lead at the break.
Notre Dame was able to take the lead for a while at the start of the second half, but after the game was tied at 52 with 7:40 to play, Baylor went on a 10-0 run for a 62-52 lead with 4:17 to play. Notre Dame never got closer than seven points of the lead the rest of the way.
Center Brittney Griner had 24 points and 14 rebounds to leads four players in double-digit scoring. Odyssey Sims, who missed the previous four games with a hamstring injury, had 16 points, and Brooklyn Pope and Jordan Madden added 14 and 12 points.
"I think we maybe learned that we're better than we think we are," McGraw said. "I think that should give us a little more confidence to know when you see Jewel stepping up like she did, and you know Kayla and Skylar can do some things. To me, I hope it gave Jewel a ton of confidence.
"I think to know that we can play with that team, which we didn't do last year with a better team."