Big first half carries No. 4 Irish past Penn State

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University Park, PA ( - Natalie Achonwa posted 21 points and 10 rebounds and No. 4 Notre Dame put together a huge first-half run en route to a 77-67 win over 10th-ranked Penn State in a key non-conference women's basketball clash.

Jewell Loyd added 17 points and eight boards for the Fighting Irish (7-0), which outscored the Lady Lions by a 21-4 margin over a stretch of six-plus minutes to turn a 2-point deficit into a 36-21 lead with 5:13 remaining in the opening half. Taya Reimer delivered 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench in the victory.

Ariel Edwards paced Penn State (5-2) with 18 points and Dara Taylor and Talia East netted 14 and 12, respectively, in the loss.

Loyd had seven points and Kayla McBride five during the pivotal spurt, and Notre Dame took a 42-28 advantage into halftime despite shooting just 33 percent.

The Lady Lions closed within 68-59 with 3:57 left to play, but the Fighting Irish put up the next five points to ward off the comeback effort.