(Photo Credit: Steve Rodriguez/Sun Devil Athletics)
For twenty minutes, there was hope. However, it wasn’t enough as the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish ended Arizona State’s season with a NCAA Tournament second round victory, 84-67.
For much of the first half, ASU stayed with the Fighting Irish, and at one point led 15-12 after freshman forward Kelsey Moos knocked down a jumper from the free throw line with 10:23 to go in the first half.
Notre Dame responded with an 11-2 run of their own and led by just six points at the half. The Fighting Irish came out of the intermission quickly, scoring the first six points of the half.
ASU never came within seven points of the Irish after the run, and Notre Dame used a 10-3 run in the middle of the half to pull away.
The Irish did a solid job of bottling up ASU redshirt sophomore guard Katie Hempen, who scored 16 points in their first round victory against Vanderbilt. Today, however, the guard was limited to just four points on 1-for-4 shooting.
Notre Dame also outrebounded ASU 39-31, led by senior forward Natalie Achonwa’s 11 boards to go along with her team-high 26 points. The Fighting Irish also got big contributions from senior guard Kayla McBride (22 points, nine assists) and sophomore guard Jewell Lloyd (19 points, seven rebounds).
Senior guards Deja Mann and Adrianne Thomas combined for 30 points to lead ASU in their final game as Sun Devils. Fellow senior Joy Burke was limited to seven points and two rebounds before fouling out midway through the second half.
With the 23-point win, Notre Dame racked up their 15th straight double-digit victory. They will play Oklahoma State in the Sweet 16 on Saturday, March 29.
You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org