BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP)Olivia Miles had 16 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five steals to lead No. 5 Notre Dame to a 63-52 victory over previously unbeaten No. 6 Virginia Tech on Sunday.
Miles scored 13 of her points in the second half as the Irish (9-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied from a three-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.
The Irish have won three straight since a home loss to Maryland on Dec. 1. They also added another ranked win to their postseason resume following a victory over UConn two weeks ago.
”We’re not satisfied at all,” Notre Dame guard Dara Mabrey said. ”We’re proud. You acknowledge what you’ve done and you give yourself credit, but we’re back to work tomorrow.”
Georgia Amoore led the Hokies (10-1, 1-1) with 20 points. Elizabeth Kitley added 16 points and 20 rebounds for Virginia Tech, which was seeking its third victory over a top 5 team.
After struggling from the floor for the first three quarters, Notre Dame pulled away in the fourth by hitting 9 of 15 from the field. With the game tied at 48, the Irish went on an 11-0 run, holding the Hokies scoreless for nearly six minutes.
”I knew this was going to be a test,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said. ”I’m really proud of this group for stepping up. What I learned (Sunday) is that we have a lot of resilience and a lot of toughness, and that’s something we’ve been talking about, something we’ve been stressing, especially defensively. But to see it for 40 minutes, I’m so proud as a coach. You never know the moments until you’re in it, but I feel like we really grew up today.”
Lauren Ebo added 15 points off the bench for the Irish, who beat Virginia Tech for the fifth straight time.
The Hokies shot a season-worst 29.4% (20 of 68).
”This league is going to be like that,” Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks said. ”It’s just too good. You’ve got to take advantage of opportunities, and we missed one tonight to win on our home court, but you can’t hang your head. Right after Christmas, we’ve got tremendous opponents that we’ve got to play.”
Notre Dame: The Irish didn’t play great for three quarters, but showed championship mettle on the road in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame’s only loss was a two-point decision to No. 15 Maryland.
Virginia Tech: Looking to pull the biggest win in program history, the Hokies’ lack of depth caught up with them. Virginia Tech played six players and it showed in the fourth quarter when the Hokies made 4 of 17 from the floor.
”I needed to play more than six,” Brooks said. ”I just felt like things got kind of dicey during certain times and I didn’t go to it, but I need to trust the bench and got to it more. That’s something that we’ll definitely take into consideration the next time we play.”
KEEPING HER COOL
Miles missed eight of her first nine shots from the floor, but connected on 5 of 8 in the second half and finished with an impressive stat line in 35 minutes. She has recorded at least six assists in seven of Notre Dame’s 10 games and at least five rebounds in nine of 10.
”Normally, she might have come out in the second half and been really down on herself because she always feels like she’s letting the team down,” Ivey said. ”I’m really just proud of her for letting the first half go and just really playing her game in the second half.”
The Irish will stay parked in the top 5 for another week, while the Hokies figure to drop a few spots.
Notre Dame: The Irish host Western Michigan on Wednesday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at High Point on Wednesday.
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