SOUTH BEND – Second-ranked Notre Dame couldn’t get going against Virginia Tech until a 15-1 run to end the first half broke the game open.
Six Irish players scored during the spurt to turn the game into a 74-48 rout, with Kayla McBride, who led the Irish with 18 points, sparking the run with a jumper.
They went to the 2-3 toward the end of the first half and we started getting it inside and getting easy looks and started getting some steals and turnovers that allowed us to get into transition, McBride said. And we just started hitting shots.
The Irish opened the second half with an 8-2 spurt to quickly extend the lead to 24 points and eventually led by 30.
The Irish (20-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are off to their second best start, three victories shy of matching the 2000-01 start en route to a national championship.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said facing the struggling Hokies was difficult sandwiched between games against No. 8 Maryland, whom the Irish beat on Monday, and No. 3 Duke, whom the Irish face Sunday.
You could tell when we came out. We were just flat. We just didn’t have it, she said.
No. 3 DUKE 76, MIAMI 75: In Coral Gables, Fla., Elizabeth Williams converted one of two free throws with 1.7 seconds to lift the Blue Devils (21-1, 8-0 ACC).
SYRACUSE 78, No. 6 NORTH CAROLINA 73: In Chapel Hill, N.C., Brianna Butler scored 22 points to help the Orange (16-5, 5-3 ACC) erase an 18-point deficit and beat the Tar Heels.
No. 7 SOUTH CAROLINA 99, MISSISSIPPI 70: In Columbia, S.C., freshman Alaina Coates tied her career high with 24 points, and she added 12 rebounds for seventh double-double to lead the Gamecocks (19-2, 7-1 SEC).
No. 10 TENNESSEE 70, ARKANSAS 60: In Knoxville, Tenn., Cierra Burdick and Meighan Simmons each scored 16 points, and the Vols shot 62.2 percent from the floor in winning their third straight.
No. 12 PENN STATE 75, No. 19 PURDUE 72: In West Lafayette, Maggie Lucas had 23 points and Ariel Edwards added 21 as the Nittany Lions avenged their lone Big Ten loss.
Penn State led 70-63 with 3:07 to go, but a 9-4 run by the Boilermakers cut the deficit to 74-72.
Purdue sent Edwards to the free-throw line with 21 seconds left. She missed both, which opened the door for Purdue to tie or win the game, but KK Houser missed a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left.
Kaliyah Mitchell grabbed the rebound for Penn State, made 1 of 2 from the line and Purdue never got another shot off.
Houser had 27 points for the Boilermakers (15-6, 5-4), and Whitney Bays added 12 points and 15 rebounds.
GEORGIA 58, No. 13 KENTUCKY 56: In Athens, Ga., Merritt Hempe had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Khaalidah Miller added 11 points to lead the Bulldogs.
No. 14 LSU 65, MISSISSIPPI STATE 56: In Baton Rouge, La., Shanece McKinney didn’t miss a shot en route to a career-high 19 points to lead the Tigers (17-4, 6-2 SEC).
MISSOURI 59, No. 16 VANDERBILT 54: In Columbia, Mo., Bri Kulas scored 15 points as the Tigers (14-7, 3-5 SEC) held on.
No. 17 TEXAS A&M 71, AUBURN 54: In Auburn, Ala., Courtney Williams scored 17 points, Karla Gilbert had 16 and Tori Scott 15 to lead the Aggies (17-5, 7-1 SEC).
No. 18 N.C. STATE 72, No. 8 MARYLAND 63: In Raleigh, N.C., Myisha Goodwin-Coleman scored all 16 of her points after halftime, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:51 left, to lead the Wolfpack (19-3, 6-2 ACC).
No. 22 GONZAGA 89, SANTA CLARA 37: In Spokane, Wash., Shelby Cheslek scored 14 points as the Bulldogs (19-3, 9-1 West Coast Conference) won their ninth straight game.
IPFW 81, NEBRASKA-OMAHA 71: In Omaha, Neb., the Mastodons outscored the Mavericks 42-32 in the second half to pull away from a halftime tie
Haley Seibert led IPFW (11-9, 4-2 Summit) with 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Amanda Hyde added 14 points and five assists.
Seibert hit a season-high seven 3-pointers as the Mastodons made a season-best 15 from beyond the arc.
NORTHWESTERN 58, INDIANA 52: In Bloomington, the Hoosiers’ Lyndsay Leikem scored 18 points as IU (15-6) fell to 2-6 in the Big Ten.
No. 3 FLORIDA 62, MISSISSIPPI STATE 51: In Starkville, Miss., Casey Prather scored 16 points, and Patric Young added 12 as the Gators (18-2, 7-0 SEC) won for the 12th time in a row.
No. 13 CINCINNATI 69, No. 12 LOUISVILLE 66: In Louisville, Ky., Sean Kilpatrick scored 28 points, including six free throws down the stretch, as the Bearcats (20-2, 9-0 American Athletic Conference) rallied for the victory.
WESTERN ILLINOIS 69, IUPUI 54: In Indianapolis, Garret Covington had 17 points and 9 rebounds as the Leathernecks (9-12, 3-3 Summit League) pulled away in the second half for the win.