BOSTON (AP) — Michaela Mabrey couldn’t hold back the smile when she was asked what it’s like facing a team that plays zone.
Mabrey hit six 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 20 points, and No. 4 Notre Dame beat Boston College 89-56 on Sunday for its ninth straight win.
“Yeah, I love teams who play zone,” she said. “We just have so many big presences on our team and it just opens me up more. I hit my first shot and it gives me a lot of confidence.”
Mabrey was 6 for 9 from 3-point range.
Jewell Loyd added 13 points , Kathryn Westbeld scored 12 points, and Madison Cable had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Fighting Irish (23-2, 10-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
It was the 850th all-time victory for Notre Dame, making it the 26th Division I program to reach that mark.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and where we are — the level of where we’re playing,” coach Muffett McGraw said. “We’ve had so many great players come through here. There’s just so many people that have been part of our program.”
Emilee Daley scored a career-best 18 points and Katie Quandt had 10 for Boston College (10-13, 2-8). The Eagles were without second-leading scorer Nicole Boudreau, who was suspended for the game for violating team rules. The guard averages 12.2 points.
The Eagles lost to Notre Dame by 46 points the last time they met.
“It’s a great lesson for a young team,” coach Erik Johnson said. “There’s no better lesson than playing a game like that. I really believe we took some steps today. The scoreboard may not show it, but we did.”
The Irish led by 27 points at halftime and played their reserves for much of the second half.
Notre Dame used a 20-0 run over a five-minute stretch midway through the first half to turn a six-point game into a 36-10 lead. Mabrey hit a pair of 3s during the spurt, and Loyd scored seven points.
After struggling from the field early, the Irish used some easy transition baskets to get their offense jump-started and pulled away behind Mabrey’s outside shooting and dominant inside play.
Notre Dame was 7 of 11 from beyond 3-point range and led 51-24 at halftime.
Notre Dame: The Irish shot 57.8 percent and beat BC 104-58 in South Bend on Jan. 11.
Boston College: F Kat Cooper, who averages 5.2 points, was also suspended for the game. “Great kids, but lessons that needed to be learned when you’re young,” Johnson said. “I remember being in college, but it’s really, really important for the culture of our program.” Guard Lauren Engeln (2.1 points) was dismissed from the team. “Same thing,” Johnson said when asked about her. … Former BC player Ayla Brown (2010), now a country music singer, sang the national anthem.
GET OUTTA HERE
With a foot or more of snow expected from Sunday night through Monday in the Boston area, Notre Dame wasted little time in racing to catch its flight out after the game.
TOUGH TO CONCENTRATE
A 27-point halftime lead makes it tough to play efficient basketball. The Fighting Irish turned the ball over 10 times in the second half. “I’m not going to lie, it is hard to maintain the focus,” Mabrey said.
Notre Dame hosts No. 15 Duke on Feb. 16.
Boston College visits Wake Forest on Thursday.
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