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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  ACC Semi: #1 Notre Dame 78, #5 Miami 67
Irish Wear Down Canes to Reach Championship
March 5, 2016

 
By John Mundy, Photos by Orin Day

Playing three games in as many days proved too be too much for Michelle Woods (right) and the Miami Hurricanes who came up short in their bid to upset Notre Dame, falling 78-67 in the ACC Semifinals. The Irish reached their third straight ACC Championship game where they will face third seeded Syracuse on Sunday (12:30 PM ESPN2).
Photo by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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GREENSBORO -- Notre Dame withstood 8 first half Miami three pointers and utilized a 15-4 run in the third quarter to pull away from the Hurricanes in Saturday's first semifinal of the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament, 78-67. Four Irish players scored in double figures, led by Brianna Turner's 17. However, it was the play of Lindsay Allen in the third period that spurred the Irish into their third consecutive championship game appearance.

"I thought offensively we did a lot of good things," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "I thought Lindsay had that 6-0 run to really give us a cushion on the lead. But everybody contributed. Madison always makes a big shot at some point, big free throws. We were able to go inside to Brianna Turner and I thought had some success there."

The Irish looked ripe for an upset throughout the first half, thanks to their trademark defense and more importantly, the three ball. Jessica Thomas had 4 three-pointers in the first half, and Miami trailed by one at the halftime break. Miami surged at the start of the third quarter, taking a 47-44 lead almost four minutes in. However, the Irish responded with a Mychal Johnson 3 and never trailed again.

Notre Dame, as is their custom, won the rebounding battle handily, 38-28. In the end, it looked like the Irish had the fresher legs as they finished strong and advanced to Sunday's final against Syracuse.

Top Performers

  1. Brianna Turner, Notre Dame : 17 points, 9 rebounds. Turner, who also tallied 2 blocks on the afternoon, provided stability as Notre Dame struggled on the perimeter defensively.

  2. Lindsay Allen, Notre Dame : 14 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists. It was Allen who should receive today's game ball, since she was unstoppable when her team needed her most. Scoring or dishing the basketball, she showed flashes today of why she's so feared..

  3. Jessica Thomas : 17 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists. Thomas made 10 three pointers over the last two days, but simply ran out of gas.

Game Analysis

Why Notre Dame Won: Linday Allen sparked the 15-4 third quarter run that doomed the 'Canes.

Why Miami Lost: Pick one- the Canes either ran out of gas or natural selection elevated the better team when it counted. Miami played a great game defensively, but it simply wasn't enough.

The Game Turned When...: See: Run, 15-4

X-Factor: Second chance points. Notre Dame had 10 points off of offensive rebounds, while Miami only had 5.

Key Stat: 55.6% The Irish made threes, too. And at a more efficient rate than Miami.

Areas for Improvement: Notre Dame will get beat Sunday if they can't guard the perimeter. Also, how are their legs after Saturday's game?

Ramifications: The 'Canes simply rest, rehab and get ready for Selection Sunday. Notre Dame looks to win their third ACC Tournament in a row.

DWHoops Photos by Orin Day

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