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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen drives to the basket as North Carolina State’s Chelsea Nelson defends during the first half of Thursday’s Atlantic Coast Conference game in Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday, December 29, 2016 10:18 pm

Irish women suffer rare ACC loss

AARON BEARD | Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina State pestered No. 2 Notre Dame defensively, fought to a draw on the boards and never let the Irish get their high-scoring offense rolling in transition.

The Wolfpack showed enough toughness, too, to hang on for a huge upset and a rare loss for Notre Dame since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Dominique Wilson scored 18 points to help N.C. State beat Notre Dame 70-62 on Thursday night in the league opener for both teams, snapping the Irish’s 35-game winning streak against ACC opponents.

"This is something that they’ll cherish," Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. "All night long on ESPN, that (score) is going to be going across the ticker. I may just go home and sit in front of the TV for an hour and watch it: there it goes again, there it goes again."

The Irish (12-2) came in with a 47-1 regular-season league record – the only loss coming at Miami in January 2015 – filled with blowout wins. Their 35-game win streak against ACC opponents had included three straight ACC Tournament titles since joining the league.

Yet the Wolfpack (11-3) never trailed, leading for nearly 39 minutes and running off a 16-0 burst spanning halftime to take a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter.

Notre Dame made a frantic fourth-quarter push behind Marina Mabrey to get within five but got no closer in a performance that coach Muffet McGraw said was "exactly what we deserved."

"They outhustled us, they outworked us," McGraw said. "They threw some punches early and we did not respond. We were back on our heels the entire game. Just really disappointed in the way we played, in the effort that we gave."

Miah Spencer finished with 17 points for the Wolfpack (11-3), who went 6 for 6 at the line in the final 70 seconds to secure the program’s first win against a top-5 opponent in nearly five years.

"I felt like this year we came in believing that they were beatable and we can compete with anybody," Wilson said. "And we showed it."

Mabrey finished with 22 points for the Irish.