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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Miami coach Katie Meier was disappointed the Hurricanes couldn't build on an upset over No. 20 North Carolina State with an even bigger upset of second-ranked Notre Dame.
The Hurricanes led by six points early when the Fighting Irish got off to a slow start, but couldn't keep the momentum. The Hurricanes trailed by nine at halftime, by 19 just 3 minutes into the second half and by 35 before finally losing 79-52, shooting a season-low 30.6 percent.
"Notre Dame had a heck of a lot to do with that," Meier said. "They were taking away our rhythm looks, what we practice every day, the shots we get out of our sets. They knew them very well and they took them away."
The Hurricanes (11-8, 3-3) only had two players in double figures, and just barely, as Jassany Williams and Adrienne Motley had 10 points each. Motley said the Hurricanes got "lackadaisical" after a good start.
"We were getting the shots. We just weren't hitting them. We just got in a drought," she said. "We knew they were going to get a run. We just had to get a run of our own and we just didn't get that run."
The Irish (18-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are off to their best start since going 23-0 en route to the national championship in 2000-01. Notre Dame had a 53-35 rebounding edge and outscored the Hurricanes 44-22 in the paint.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said the slow start snowballed after the Irish missed their first three shots in the opening 23 seconds.
"I think everybody got a little tight then and we needed our veterans to step up and relax and make shots," McGraw said.
The veterans actually were the ones struggling the most early as Natalie Achonwa was 1 for 5 from the floor with three turnovers in the first 5 minutes and Kayla McBride missed her first seven shots. But Achonwa finished with 23 points and nine rebounds, Lindsay Allen added a season-high 16 points and McBride had 15 as the Irish got their 21st straight home victory.
Achonwa also struggled at the free throw line, going 5 for 11 in the first half and finishing 9 of 15.
"I missed the first two and then I thought about it too much," she said.
McGraw was pleased with the way her team overcame the slow start.
"I think we have a lot of resolve, a lot of resilience," she said.
McGraw was most pleased with the play of Allen, especially with leading scorer Jewell Loyd out with a sprained right knee sustained against Tennessee. Allen shot 5 for 6 and had five assists.
"She was probably the only one on the team that really played not just her game, but really played well — one of her best games," McGraw said.
Allen she tried to play a bigger role in scoring with her teammates struggling.
"I just tried to provide some energy. We were missing easy shots, chippies we normally make, so I had to get some stuff in transition, some easy baskets," she said.
After the slow start, the Irish made 10 of their final 19 shots of the first half to open a 35-26 lead the break, and then began the second half with a 10-0 run to take control.