No. 9 Irish women use balance, FTs to turn back Cal 90-79

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Dara Mabrey led a balanced attack with 16 points and tied the school record for 3-pointers, and No. 9 Notre Dame defeated California 90-79 in the inaugural Shamrock Classic on Saturday.

The game, the first ever women’s matchup broadcast on NBC, highlighted the coaches, Niele Ivey of Notre Dame and Charmin Smith of Cal, who grew up and played in St. Louis.

Kylee Watson added 15 points and Sonia Citron had 14 for the Irish (2-0). Sophomore Olivia Miles had her 11th double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Maddy Westbeld was the fifth starter in double figures with 12.

Jayda Curry hit four 3-pointers and scored 24 points for the Bears (1-1) and Mia Mastrov added 10.

When Mabrey hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to open the second half scoring, the Irish led 49-37 and she tied her sister Marina, who finished playing in 2019, with 274 career triples. Her layup a minute layer had the lead up to 14.

Mastrov closed the third quarter with four straight free throws and the Bears scored the first two buckets of the fourth to close within 62-59. Curry had a 3-pointer at 7:19 to keep the deficit at three and her three-point play at 3:40 made it a six-point game.

But the Irish were 20 of 24 from the foul line in the fourth — 30 of 36 for the game — to ease away from Cal.

BIG PICTURE

Cal: The Bears’ grit in battling back into the game and a preconference schedule void of other Power-5 teams, should serve them well when they open Pac-12 conference play against No. 2 Stanford and No. 19 Arizona.

Notre Dame: Balance and depth will help the Irish, who overcame 28 fouls. Two players fouled out and three more finished with four. Three reserves played 15 minutes or more and combined for 20 points. … Irish assistant coach Michaela Mabrey finished her playing career in 2016 with 228 3-pointers, a number her younger sisters eclipsed.

HOMECOMING

Ivey had not been to the Enterprise Center since the Irish won the national championship there in 2001. Her team practiced at her high school, Cor Jesu Academy and visited the Boys & Girls Club where she began her basketball career.

Smith played at Ladue Horton Watkins.

STAR WATCH

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, an Olympic gold medal hepthathlete and a St. Louis native, attended the game and was at the women in leadership luncheon on Friday.

UP NEXT

Cal is home against Idaho on Wednesday.

Notre Dame plays at Northwestern on Wednesday.

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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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