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Associated Press
Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride is fouled by Boston College’s Kelly Hughes while going up for a shot during the second half Thursday in Boston.
Women

Irish start slow but roll to 24th straight victory

– Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw really wasn’t surprised her team was a bit sluggish after beating Boston College so easily last month.

Kayla McBride scored 19 points, Jewell Loyd 18 and second-ranked Notre Dame coasted to an 82-61 win over the Eagles on Thursday night, giving the Irish their best start in school history.

“It really is,” McGraw said when asked whether it’s hard facing a team you’ve dominated. “No matter how many times you tell yourself, ‘we’ve got to be ready and play hard,’ you just don’t have the same feel to it.”

McGraw was bothered her team wasn’t sharp in the first half.

“I was really disappointed,” she said. “I was disappointed with the energy we came out with, just the lethargic pace. I thought we picked it up a little bit in the second half when we came up and pressed them.”

Notre Dame (24-0 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) remains one of just two unbeaten teams in the country along with top-ranked Connecticut. The start surpasses the season-opening 23 straight wins by the 2000-01 team that went on to win the school’s first national championship.

“It definitely feels good,” said McBride, a senior. “It’s an accomplishment. It’s great to come out here for these coaches that put so much time in for us.”

BC’s leading scorer Kristen Doherty was out for precautionary reasons with concussion symptoms.

“There’s a reason that they’re 24-0,” BC coach Erik Johnson said. “I think clearly along with UConn they’re the best team in the country.”

The Irish led 41-26 at halftime and used a 12-0 run early in the second half to move ahead by 28 points.

No. 9 MARYLAND 67, MIAMI 52: In Coral Gables, Fla., Alyssa Thomas scored 18 points to lead the Terrapins (20-4, 8-3 ACC) to their first victory at Miami since 2009.

No. 10 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 69, CLEMSON 63, OT: In Clemson, S.C., Markeisha Gatling scored 20 points as the Wolfpack (22-3, 9-2 ACC) extended their winning streak to six straight.

Gatling and Kody Burke combined for 10 of North Carolina State’s 13 overtime points.

No. 11 PENN STATE 71, INDIANA 63: In Bloomington, Maggie Lucas scored 32 points to lead the Nittany Lions.

Larryn Brooks led the Hoosiers with 16 points, and Simone Deloach had 13 points and 15 rebounds.

No. 13 WEST VIRGINIA 76, OKLAHOMA 75: In Norman, Okla., Bria Holmes scored 19 points as the Mountaineers rallied.

No. 14 TEXAS A&M 78, GEORGIA 73, OT: In College Station, Texas, Courtney Walker scored 25 points as the Aggies rallied.

Texas A&M (19-6, 9-2 SEC) trailed 62-56 with just more than a minute left in regulation but scored six straight points – including a layup by Jordan Jones with 25 seconds left – to force overtime.

AUBURN 68, No. 16 VANDERBILT 62: In Nashville, Tenn., Tyrese Tanner scored on a jumper with 24 seconds left to give the Tigers the lead, and Peyton Davis and Kiani Parker both added a pair of free throws to seal Auburn’s first win at Vanderbilt since 1999.

No. 17 NORTH CAROLINA 86, PITTSBURGH 50: In Chapel Hill, N.C., Allisha Gray scored 21 points and Diamond DeShields added 19 to lead the Tar Heels (19-6, 7-4 ACC).

No. 18 KENTUCKY 108, MISSISSIPPI 78: In Lexington, Ky., Jennifer O’Neill scored 27 points to lead the Wildcats (18-6, 6-5 SEC).

No. 20 GONZAGA 66, SAN DIEGO 48: In San Diego, Haiden Palmer had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 7 steals as the Bulldogs won their 13th straight game.

No. 21 NEBRASKA 76, MICHIGAN 68: In Ann Arbor, Mich., Jordan Hooper scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Cornhuskers won.

SOUTH DAKOTA 84, IPFW 70: In Vermillion, S.D., the Mastodons had three players score in double figures but couldn’t get the season sweep against the Coyotes (13-11, 4-5 Summit). Ariana Simmons scored 21 for IPFW (12-12, 5-5), and Haley Seibert and Amanda Hyde added 19 and 18 points.

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