SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A zero on the stat sheet was what pleased Notre Dame forward Brianna Turner.
The 6-foot-3 freshman had 26 points, 13 rebounds and, most notably, no turnovers in 35 minutes as the No. 4 Fighting Irish beat the Virginia Cavaliers 75-54 on Thursday night.
It was just the third time in 21 games in which she didn’t have a turnover. She has 52 this season, which included five against Wake Forest on Sunday.
“I probably lead the country in turnovers, so it’s nice to have a night without some,” she said.
Turner repeatedly took advantage of her size as the Irish (22-2, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) led comfortably for much of the game. Turner scored twice on alley-oops, including using two hands to swat in a pass from Lindsay Allen for an easy basket and the Irish outscored the Cavaliers 50-18 in the paint.
“I just try to get the ball in the basket. I try to shoot it with nice form but sometimes that form goes away and I just bat it in,” she said.
Virginia coach Joanne Boyle said the Cavaliers (15-8, 5-5) could do little to slow Turner.
“You can just throw the ball up to the rim and she can go get it,” she said. “It’s difficult for us and a lot of teams to guard because she’s so athletic.”
The Cavaliers cut the lead to five points late in the first half after falling behind by 15, but trailed by 10 at halftime. They played Notre Dame even for most of the second half until a 12-0 run late put the game out of reach.
Jewell Loyd added 14 points for the Irish despite shooting just 4-of-15 from the field.
“I think she was frustrated because she missed some easy ones,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “That’s really uncharacteristic of her.”
Allen added 12 points, six boards and four assists for the Irish, who outrebounded the Cavaliers 42-30, including 17-7 in the final 10 minutes. Faith Randolph led Virginia with 16 and Sarah Imovbioh finished with 16 rebounds and three points, all at the free-throw line. Imovbioh didn’t have an offensive rebound.
Boyle said she felt good about how the Cavaliers were playing until the Irish took over.
“Great teams do what great teams do, and they really pushed it on us,” she said.
Turner has six double-doubles this season, five against ACC teams. … Loyd has 504 points in 24 games this season becoming the fastest Irish player to score 500 points in a season. Katryna Gaither set the record in 26 games in 1996-97. … The 21-point loss was the second worst for Virginia this season. The Cavaliers lost by 23 to Illinois. … Notre Dame has won 13 games by 20 points or more.
Virginia: It was the Cavaliers’ first game at Notre Dame. … Virginia’s last victory against a team ranked No. 4 or higher was a 69-64 win against third-ranked Tennessee in 2011. … Since beating Florida State and Maryland in back-to-back games last season, the Cavaliers have lost five straight to ranked opponents. … The Cavaliers play three straight games against ranked opponents, with upcoming games against No. 15 Duke and No. 9 Florida State.
Notre Dame: The victory evened the series with the Cavaliers at 2-2. … The only ACC team that has yet to play at Notre Dame is North Carolina State, which isn’t scheduled to play at Purcell Pavilion this season.
Virginia: Hosts No. 15 Duke on Feb. 12.
Notre Dame: At Boston College on Sunday.
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