NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Olivia Miles had a triple-double help No. 5 seed Notre Dame to an 89-78 win over No. 12 seed Massachusetts on Saturday night in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
Miles had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the 18th triple-double in an women’s tournament game and the 10th in school history.
It was the freshman guard’s second triple-double of the season. She joined Skylar Diggins and Jackie Young as the only Notre Dame players to have multiple triple-doubles in a career.
“That’s crazy,” Miles said. “Those are the all-time greats at Notre Dame. Both amazing players. So it just feels surreal that my name can be in that company.”
Maddy Westbeld scored 19 points and Maya Dodson and Dara Mabrey each added 18 for the Fighting Irish (23-8), who will play No. 4 seed Oklahoma on Monday in the second round. Oklahoma defeated IUPUI 78-72 on Saturday night.
Sam Breen, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, matched her career high with 31 points for UMass. Sydney Taylor added 21 for the Minutewomen.
Mabrey opened the game with two 3-pointers to set the tone for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish led 15-9 before going on a 12-2 run. Notre Dame led 32-17 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 63.2% from the field.
UMass settled in during the second quarter and hung tough. Notre Dame’s largest lead was 17 with just over three minutes left in the second quarter, but Breen banked in a desperation shot from near halfcourt at the buzzer to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 49-41. Breen scored 19 points in the first half.
UMass held Notre Dame scoreless for more than three minutes to start the third quarter, but the Minutewomen shot poorly during that stretch and couldn’t take advantage. Notre Dame took a 67-59 edge into the fourth quarter.
“The first half, especially in the first (quarter), we just did a lot of things that were uncharacteristic of who we were,” UMass coach Tory Verdi said. “They kind of hit us right off the bat and we were on our heels and I just thought that defensively we were dysfunctional at times. You’ve got to give Notre Dame credit for attacking us. I thought Miles did a great job of splitting us on the on-ball screen action attacking downhill.”
Miles took over early in the final quarter. She made a driving layup for her 10th point, then got a defensive rebound on the other end for her 10th rebound. She then found Mabrey for a 3-pointer to give her nine assists and make it 72-59. She later passed to Westbeld in the corner for a 3-pointer, giving Miles 10 assists and the triple-double.
Miles said she knew she needed one assist for the triple-double before finding Westbeld open for the 3-pointer.
“That feeling was so great, just the connection,” Miles said. “The fact that it was an assist for the triple-double is all the more special.”
Notre Dame remained in control the rest of the way.
“I felt UMass played phenomenal,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said “I felt like they really threw a lot of punches at us, with their halfcourt shot going into halftime. And then we responded.”
UMass: The Minutewomen will have all offseason to think about their poor start. They hung with the Fighting Irish for much of the game after the end of the first quarter, but never caught up. UMass got outrebounded 36-22.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish were extremely efficient when they kept control of the ball, shooting 57.6% from the field and 41.2% from 3-point range. They committed 14 turnovers, which helped UMass stay in the game.
It was the first NCAA Tournament win for Ivey as head coach. She won a national title for the Fighting Irish as a player in 2001 and another as an assistant coach in 2018. The Irish failed to make the tournament last season, her first as head coach.
Notre Dame’s warmups had the message “Pray for Peace” and a Ukraine flag on the front. Ukraine is defending itself after being attacked by neighboring Russia.
Three Massachusetts players — Breen, Taylor and Ber’Nyah Mayo — played all 40 minutes. Notre Dame had eight players play at least 11 minutes and none play more than 35.
UMass’ Taylor made 3 of 10 shots in the first half but 4 of 5 in the second half.
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