NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Notre Dame's offense is not accustomed to nights like this.
Shooting 36 percent? Worst of the season. Those 58 points? Easily a season low. Only 22 field goals? You already know.
Senior wing Kayla McBride indicated that the Irish fell into unusually “selfish” habits in the 79-58 loss to Connecticut in Tuesday's national championship game. The comment was not made with malice – McBride threw herself into that mix – but was essentially made in the spirit of, “Everybody was trying too hard to do too much on their own.”
Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw agreed that her team got away from its system predicated on ball movement.
“We were pressing,” McGraw said. “A little bit of it was the bad start. We were just trying so hard, and we went one-on-one instead of working together. Our game has been about team and assists. I thought we tried to go a little bit too much off the dribble.”
The worst sequence came in the first half, when Notre Dame was scoreless on eight straight trips. UConn went on a 16-0 run while that was happening.
“We never got in synch,” Irish guard Jewell Loyd said. “Too much dribbling. Too much one-on-one. Trying to get it all back in one possession, which is typical. We didn't do the little things right. That's on us. It wasn't anything they were doing to change the way we were playing.”
Loyd, who had been averaging 19 points on 53 percent shooting in her sophomore season, finished with 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting. The Huskies doubled her at times on the perimeter.
“Jewell's been doing everything all year,” McBride said. “They had an emphasis on her. She wasn't hitting. She's still an All-American. I didn't think there was anything she could do.”
McBride said she could have done more.
“I could have led better,” McBride said. “We were beating ourselves. We were not in our offensive flow. We were taking shots we don't normally take, myself included.”