Women’s Final Four participants the last five years, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish show no signs of letting up in their annual pursuit of a national title. Notre Dame upped its season record to 19-1 overall and improved to 7-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play with wins in the past week over Tennessee, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame started the week with a non-conference 79-66 home win over No. 18 Tennessee. It was the Fighting Irish’s sixth straight win over the Lady Vols, with all six of the wins by double digits. The success streak has come after Notre Dame lost the first 20 games in the series. Brianna Turner scored 14 points and Kathryn Westbeld added 13 points as the Irish outscored the Lady Vols 26-16 in the paint in the second half and added 24 points off 20 turnovers.
Defense also keyed Notre Dame to a 90-62 win at home over Syracuse on Jan. 21. The Irish blocked a season-high 10 shots, six of those by Turner, and Syracuse was held to a season-low 28 percent shooting (23-of-82). Michaela Mabrey led the way for Notre Dame with 20 points, that included hitting six 3-pointers. Turner added 19 points, Arike Ogunbowale, 14 and Madison Cable, 13 as the Irish made 55 percent of their shots (33-of-60).
Notre Dame concluded the week with an 80-41 home rout over Virginia Tech on Sunday. Turner again led the way with 18 points as the Irish shook off a slow start to beat the Hokies for the eighth time in nine all-time meetings. Virginia Tech fell to 14-5 with the loss.
Winners of 12 straight games, Notre Dame returns to action on Jan. 28 with a road game at Georgia Tech. The Irish will face two big road tests in early February, playing at Duke on Feb. 1 and at Louisville on Feb. 8.
Honorable mention teams of the week: George Washington, Louisville and UCLA.