No. 7 Irish dominate second half to beat No. 24 FSU
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Sonia Citron scored 19 points and No. 7 Notre Dame recovered from a poor-shooting first half on Thursday night to cruise past No. 24 Florida State, 70-47.
The Seminoles led 23-22 at the half before the Fighting Irish rang up 48 points over the final two periods, sparked by 18 second-chance points off of 16 offensive rebounds.
“Offensively, I felt like we had good looks," Irish coach Niele Ivey said. "I didn’t feel like it was really the offense. We just missed shots. We didn’t get any offensive rebounds. We were basically one shot and done. We focused on making sure that we did a better job of really crashing the boards.”
Irish freshman KK Bransford scored 15 points off the bench. Lauren Ebo added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Irish held the nation’s No. 4 scoring offense to 38 points below its season average.
Seminole freshman guard Ta’Niya Latson, the nation’s No. 6 overall scorer, was limited to nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.
“I was really proud of the defense," Ivey said. "Florida State is the No. 1 scoring offense in the ACC. To hold that type of team to 47 and to hold Latson to nine points is a testament to our defensive identity.”
Florida State shot 27.1% from the field and 20% from 3-point range.
Notre Dame shot 24% from the field and missed all seven 3-pointers in the first half. That included a nine-minute scoring drought.
The Irish responded with a 27-point third quarter on 55% shooting to blow open the game.
“In the second half, our main thing was just attacking the basket,” Irish forward Kylee Watson said. “We did a great job of that, being aggressive and shooting with confidence even when shots weren’t falling for us.”
Florida State: The Seminoles (18-5, 7-3 ACC) have already won more games in 2022-23 than they did in either of the past two seasons, but they fell to 1-3 season against AP Top 25 opponents. They’ll need to perform better against ranked opponents in order to compete in the loaded ACC going forward.
“It’s the next step. We’re winning a lot of games,” FSU coach Brooke Wyckoff said. "We’re beating most opponents. We lost to UConn, Notre Dame. These are top-10 teams that are there for a reason. A lot of it comes down to the physicality, the ability to defend and finish plays when it’s not going to be easy to score."
Fighting Irish: Notre Dame (17-2, 8-1 ACC) struggled from deep early in its first game without starting guard Dara Mabrey, who suffered an ACL injury on Sunday against Virginia Tech and is out for the season. The Irish found their shooting stroke in the second half and hit 4 of 9 3-point attempts.
The Irish are also working to replace her leadership.
“It’s going to be an adjustment,” Ivey said. “Dara backed up the point. She was a voice, so sometimes she was directing while she was on the court. Now you have a couple of freshmen that are being in those spots a little bit more. Over time, that comfort level is going to it’s going to be better and it’s going to be less confusion.”
Seminoles: Hosts No. 16 Duke on Sunday, Jan. 29.
Fighting Irish: Travels to Raleigh, N.C. to face No. 20 North Carolina State.
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