ACC WBB: Notre Dame overpowers Duke 84-61, claims fourth straight title

Sara D. Davis, ACC, The
Randall Hill, ACC,

CONWAY, S.C. – The 13th-ranked and No. 3-seeded Duke Blue Devils (27-5) couldn’t keep pace with third-ranked and top-seeded Notre Dame, eventually succumbing 84-61 to the Fighting Irish in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament Championship at HTC Center on Sunday.

With the win, Notre Dame (30-3) became the second team in ACC history to win the conference regular-season and tournament titles in four straight seasons, matching the same run the Blue Devils had from 2001-04.

Arike Ogunbowale (21 points) and Brianna Turner (18 points) led Notre Dame as it held a 43-31 advantage at halftime.

“Obviously not a game that we wanted; certainly not the outcome that we wanted,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

“You have to credit Notre Dame. They shot the ball well. They shot 52 percent. That’s an excellent percentage, and too high relative to what we like to do defensively.”

Lexie Brown scored 16 points to lead the Blue Devils who made runs to pull closer during the game, including a 10-point surge to start the third quarter that cut the Irish lead to two points, 43-41.

Notre Dame responded with a 20-2 run that Duke couldn’t recover from for the remainder of the contest.

“Our defense broke down, and they scored points,” McCallie said.

“The game is about runs. I was really proud of our run, but you can’t expect to just go at a team one time and assume they’re just going to back up and allow you to – you have to be very, very aggressive, and we backed up. They hit a couple nice shots, I think a three and then something else happened there. But that’s basketball, and you’ve got to be ready to compete at that level. Obviously we did not. We took a step back, and they took a step forward.”

Notes: Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen, the Tournament MVP, finished with 13 assists against Duke, and tallied a total of 33 helpers throughout the tournament…Duke beat No. 21 Syracuse 68-46 on Friday before edging No. 16 Miami 57-52 on Saturday to play in its 15th ACC title game. The Blue Devils have won ACC Tournament titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011 and 2013…Duke played three ranked teams in the ACC Tournament for the first time in school history.…Notre Dame advanced to he final after beating Virginia 76-59 on Friday and topping No. 14 Louisville 84-73 on Saturday…The Irish have gone 15-1 against Duke all-time, winning the last 13 meetings. In overall NCAA play, the Irish have the second-most wins over the past six seasons, trailing only UConn. Notre Dame has won 206 games while UConn, which plays Sunday night, has won 214.