Loyd, McBride lead top-seeded Notre Dame over UT Martin
Iowa City, IA – Jewell Loyd poured in 27 points and Kayla McBride tallied 22 points and 10 rebounds as the top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish made easy work of the 16th-seeded Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, 97-64, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Loyd shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line and McBride added five assists and four steals for Notre Dame (32-1), which has won 27 consecutive games and will face ninth-seeded Iowa in the second round. Natalie Achonwa scored 16 points and ripped down eight rebounds, while Skylar Diggins had 10 points and six assists.
For UT Martin (19-15), Heather Butler led all scorers with a season-high 37 points and was stellar from 3-point range (6-of-11), but she also turned the ball over six times. Jasmine Newsome added 15 points and five assists for the Skyhawks.
UT Martin trailed by just seven with four minutes to play in the opening stanza, but Notre Dame ended the frame on an 11-0 run to go into intermission with a 49-31 lead. The Irish shot 51.5 percent from the floor in the first half.
Notre Dame picked up right where it left off in the second half, using an 11-2 run to take a 60-33 advantage less than four minutes in, and it never looked back from there.
The Irish shot an outstanding 19-of-20 from the free-throw line, which helped mask a poor showing from 3-point range (2-of-11).