No. 19 UCLA Falls to No. 5 Notre Dame

Nov. 23, 2012

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins was nowhere near her best against UCLA. Fortunately for the Fighting Irish, her teammates did more than enough to beat the Bruins.

Freshman Jewell Loyd had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Kayla McBride scored 18 points, and No. 5 Notre Dame wasn't threatened in the second half in beating the 19th-ranked Bruins 76-64 on Friday.

Diggins had 12 points, six rebounds and five assists, but shot 5 of 17 and committed four turnovers.

Natalie Achonwa had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (4-0), who shot 29 of 60 (48.3 percent) to UCLA's 24 of 61 (39.3 percent).

"I was so pleased with how the game went because we hit adversity early," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "It wasn't easy, nothing was easy for us today. As ugly as it was, it was great for a young team to come of age."

Regarding Diggins, a first-team All-American as a junior last season, McGraw acknowledged the fact that it wasn't one of her better games.

"No, she didn't (play at her usual level)," McGraw said. "She feels the burden of being the one. When Jewell and Kayla played the way they did, it allowed her to relax."

Loyd, who shot 8 of 12 including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, made three straight baskets midway through the first half to cap a 15-2 run that put the Irish ahead for good.

Achonwa scored four points during an 8-2 run to start the second half, giving the Irish a 44-31 lead. UCLA drew within eight on two straight baskets by Markel Walker, but that was as close as the Bruins would get. Notre Dame then went on another 8-2 spurt for a 57-43 advantage with 10 1/2 minutes left.

Walker had 21 points and nine rebounds and Alyssia Brewer scored 10 points for the Bruins (2-1), who played without junior point guard Thea Lemberger, sidelined by a sprained left knee. Lemberger, listed as day-to-day, had 18 points and no turnovers in 35 minutes to lead the Bruins to an 86-80 victory at then-No. 11 Oklahoma on Nov. 14.

"It definitely affected us," UCLA coach Cori Close said regarding Lemberger's absence. "Thea is really a smart player. She plays with great purpose. We're thankful we're getting her back soon.

"We're going to learn from this. We play teams like Notre Dame because that's what we're building to become. We did force them into things, we just didn't always capitalize."

As far as Diggins was concerned, Close said: "I credit Mariah (Williams), Markel (Walker) and our other perimeter defenders. I'm proud of our team for defending Skylar."

UCLA took a 6-0 lead and extended it to 10-3, prompting a Notre Dame timeout. The Irish responded by scoring the next seven points to forge a tie.

Notre Dame's 15-2 run gave the Irish a 25-17 lead, and a 3-pointer by McBride and a layup by Diggins made it 36-25 before the Bruins scored the last four points of the first half to draw within seven.

The Irish went 35-4 last season, but became just the third team to lose back-to-back NCAA championship games when Baylor beat them 80-61 to win the title.

UCLA entered with a 5-1 record over Notre Dame at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins, 9-5 overall in the series, beat the Irish 86-83 in double overtime two years ago in South Bend, Ind.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Sunday, Nov 01
vs. Vanguard
Los Angeles, CA
W, 113 - 42
Friday, Nov 13
vs. St. John's
Los Angeles, CA
W, 73 - 58
Friday, Nov 20
vs. James Madison
Los Angeles, CA
W, 90 - 61
Sunday, Nov 22
vs. South Carolina
Los Angeles, CA
L, 65 - 68
Friday, Nov 27 - 10:00 AM PST
vs. Louisiana Tech
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Saturday, Nov 28 - TBA PST
vs. Denver or Notre Dame
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Saturday, Dec 05 - 2:00 PM PST
vs. CSU Bakersfield
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Dec 13 - 11:00 AM PST
at Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Wednesday, Dec 16 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. UC Irvine
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Dec 18 - 7:05 PM PST
at Sacramento State
Sacramento, CA
Monday, Dec 21 - 6:00 PM PST
at California
Berkeley, CA
Monday, Dec 28 - 7:00 PM PST
at UC Riverside
Riverside, CA
Wednesday, Dec 30 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 02 - 2:00 PM PST
vs. Oregon
Los Angeles, CA
Monday, Jan 04 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Oregon State
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Jan 10 - 6:00 PM PST
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan 15 - 6:00 PM PST
at Washington
Seattle, WA
Sunday, Jan 17 - 12:00 PM PST
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
Friday, Jan 22 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. California
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Jan 24 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Stanford
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan 29 - 6:00 PM PST
at Colorado
Boulder, CO
Sunday, Jan 31 - 1:00 PM PST
at Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
Friday, Feb 05 - 5:00 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Sunday, Feb 07 - 12:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Friday, Feb 12 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Feb 14 - 11:00 AM PST
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Feb 19 - 6:00 PM PST
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
Sunday, Feb 21 - 6:00 PM PST
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR