Sports

McBride scores 31 as No. 2 Notre Dame jumps to 18-point lead early, beats No. 7 Duke 81-70

  • Notre Dame guard Kayla McBride, right, throws a pass around Duke forward Haley Peters during first half action in an NCAA women's college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

    Notre Dame guard Kayla McBride, right, throws a pass around Duke forward Haley Peters during first half action in an NCAA women's college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)  (The Associated Press)

  • Notre Dame forward Natalie Achonwa, right, drives the lane as Duke forward Haley Peters defends during first half action in an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

    Notre Dame forward Natalie Achonwa, right, drives the lane as Duke forward Haley Peters defends during first half action in an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)  (The Associated Press)

Kayla McBride scored 31 points and No. 2 Notre Dame jumped to an 18-point lead early and held on to beat seventh-ranked Duke 81-70 Sunday to claim the Atlantic Coast Conference title in its inaugural season in the league.

The Blue Devils scored six points in the final 7 seconds of the first half and eventually cut the lead to seven points three times in the second half, the final time when Kendall McCravey-Cooper hit a jumper to make it 66-59. But McBride answered with back-to-back baskets to spark an 8-0 run.

The Irish (27-0, 14-0 ACC) won their third straight regular-season league title, with the first two coming in the Big East. The Blue Devils (24-4, 11-3) saw their streak of four straight ACC regular-season titles end.

Elizabeth Williams led Duke with 20 and Alexis Jones had 15 before leaving with an injured knee midway through the second half.