Notre Dame handles Liberty 74-43
Fighting Irish shot 48.5 percent and forced 23 turnovers
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame took control on its home floor before anyone could work up a sweat.
The top-seeded Irish ran out to an 11-0 lead less than two minutes into the game Sunday and overpowered Liberty 74-43 in the NCAA tournament first round.
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Natalie Novosel and Brittany Mallory hit 3-pointers to open the scoring. Kayla McBride converted a three-point play and Devereaux Peters hit a jumper for an 11-0 lead. After Liberty rallied to within 16-8, the Irish took off on another 11-0 run to lead 44-19 at halftime behind 13 points from McBride.
McBride finished with 15 points to lead Notre Dame. Devon Brown scored 16 for Liberty (24-9).
The Irish’s biggest lead was 34 in the second half as coach Muffet McGraw was able to substitute freely and rest her starters late in the game.
Novosel finished with 12 points and Peters 10. Star guard Skylar Diggins attempted only six shots and finished with seven points to go with nine rebounds and six assists.
Notre Dame shot 48.5 percent to 31 percent for the Flames, who managed only 42 shots. Danika Dale added 12 points for Big South champion Liberty, which got 10 rebounds from Avery Warley.
Liberty, averaging 20 turnovers, had 23 - 17 in the first half. Known for their tough rebounding, the Flames were beaten on the boards 38-29, including 15-9 on the offensive glass.