DURHAM, N.C. – Down two with under 20 seconds to play, the No. 17 Notre Dame women’s basketball team (11-3, 2-1) had three attempts in the paint to hit the equalizer against No. 15 Duke (10-2, 1-1), but none of the shots would fall, as the Blue Devils pulled off a late rally to escape with a 72-70 victory.
The Irish led by nine points at the start of the fourth and by six with five minutes remaining but couldn’t hang on. Duke hit four of their 10 made three-pointers in the fourth, shooting 10-of-20 from three for the game. Duke’s Elizabeth Balogun had a game-high 27 points.
Notre Dame was led by Maya Dodson, who went 13-of-23 for 26 points, plus a near double-double with a team-high nine rebounds. Dodson becomes the first Irish player since Arike Ogunbowale (27 vs. Georgia Tech, 2/11/18; 27 at Virginia, 2/15/18) to register back-to-back games with 25 or more points.
Notre Dame’s two freshmen, Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron, also recorded double-digit scoring performances with 13 and 14 points, respectively.
Notre Dame outshot Duke 52.4 percent to 50, plus outrebounded the Blue Devils 34-27.
How It Happened
Basketball is a game of runs and this very game exemplified that. Duke fired off a quick 7-0 run in the opening minutes as Notre Dame found itself in an early 10-4 hole. Sam Brunelle registered two of the next three baskets to spur the Irish offense. Later Citron scored five of the team’s last seven points in the quarter, including a deep buzzer-beating three which gave the Irish a 19-16 lead.
Duke’s Elizabeth Balogun started the second quarter with back-to-back treys, but the Irish responded with an 8-0 run over an 80-second span, claiming a 27-22 lead. Duke fired back with seven straight points from 4:21-3:08, only for the Irish to punch back with a 7-0 run themselves to go up 38-33.
The Irish ultimately took a 40-37 lead into the break as both teams shot just over 55 percent in the half. Maya Dodson led at the half with 12 points, followed by 11 from Miles and nine from Citron.
Peoples and Dodson combined for a quick six points to jumpstart the second half and build Notre Dame’s lead to 46-37 at 8:04. However, Duke rallied with a 11-0 scoring run which prompted a Coach Ivey timeout, now down 48-46 at 4:31. Dodson’ 18th point of the contest got the Irish back on track and ended the four-minute drought.
Enter, Dara Mabrey who took over in the final two minutes of the third. The senior scored seven straight, kicking it off with a momentous three-pointer, and even took a charge down on the defensive end. As a result, Notre Dame took a 55-48 lead into the fourth.
However, that’s when Duke got hit, ultimately hitting 10-of-16 in the quarter. Duke’s Balogun and Miela Goodchild combined for 16 of the team’s 24 points. The Irish had a 70-68 lead with 90 seconds remaining but Balogun had the final four points of the contest. With 15.5 seconds on the clock, Notre Dame ball, the Irish were able to get three attempts off but none would fall.
The Irish head home and have a week to prepare for No. 5 NC State. That contest is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. ET, airing live on ACC Network.