Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey got about as balanced of a performance one can get out of her starters in Thursday’s 90-65 win over American (0-4) in the 2022 Goombay Splash.
The seventh-ranked Irish moved to 5-0 with the Thanksgiving victory, and it was a dominant first half that made the contest a no-doubter for Notre Dame. The Irish outscored the Eagles 26-11 in the first quarter, holding them to just 26.7 percent from the floor, and added 26 more points in the second half. The biggest lead of the game was 28 points with 3:44 to go in the second half.
For the third time in four games, the team had at least five players with 10+ points, four of them starters. The Irish entered the evening averaging 91.3 points per game (first in the ACC and fourth nationally), and the 90-point performance on Thursday didn’t do much to change that.
“I’m so grateful to be spending Thanksgiving in the Bahamas with family, friends and this team,” Ivey said after the game. “I loved the balance we displayed tonight with five players in double figures. Olivia [Miles] and Sonia [Citron] were solid, and KK [Bransford] had double-digit points for the second straight game.”
Miles led the Irish with 19 points and 10 rebounds in her fourth double-double of the year. All 10 boards were on the defensive end of the court. Miles is now averaging 16.6 points per game, which ranks fifth in the ACC as of Thursday evening.
Bransford continues to impress, as she posted 12 points and a career-high six buckets. The 5-11 guard is coming off of a 16-point performance against Ball State on Sunday.
Notre Dame will face Arizona State (4-0) on Saturday to close out the Goombay Splash. The Sun Devils are coming off of a narrow overtime victory (83-77) over New Mexico on Nov. 20. They came out of the gate hot, going 9-16 from the field to start before slow second and third quarters. Notre Dame’s takeaway from that game is that Arizona State can score, and they can score quickly, and they don’t give up. The Irish had issues closing out games in 2021-22, and Ivey has emphasized improvement in that area this season. So far, so good, as the Irish are outscoring their opponents 104-87 in the fourth quarter this year.
Players to watch for Arizona State include leading scorer and Delaware transfer Tyi Skinner, who is averaging 19.0 points per game but shooting just 36.8 percent from the field. Guard Treasure Hunt is a double-double machine, posting 13.5…