Notre Dame's Kayla McBride goes up for two of her 19 first-half points against Maryland. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
Notre Dame dominated Maryland on the boards and defeated the Terrapins 87-61 on Sunday in the NCAA Women's Tournament to advance to Tuesday's championship game.
The Fighting Irish (37-0) outrebounded Maryland (28-6) 50-21, the most ever allowed by the Terrapins in an NCAA Tournament game.
"We thought the game would be won on the boards. I think it was," said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw. "To hold them to four offensive rebounds for the game is an amazing accomplishment."
The Fighting Irish outscored Maryland 20-3 on second chance points and outscored the Terrapins 42-28 in the paint.
"We wanted the ball. We wanted to box out," said Jewell Loyd, who had nine rebounds. "We've been working on that for a while. Great to see that we actually dug deep and boxed out, and a lot of different people stepped up."
Markisha Wright came off the bench to pull down nine boards and Kayla McBride had seven.
McBride scored 13 of her game-high 28 points in the final eight minutes as Notre Dame pulled away from Maryland.
"I thought Kayla McBride got us off to a phenomenal start; put the team on her back," said McGraw. "She made shots early and loosened everybody up, and everybody else contributed throughout the rest of the game."
McBride scored 19 points in the first half, the 12th most points scored in a half in the Women's Final Four.
"I was trying to have fun," said McBride. "I thought in past games I was pressed a little bit. As a senior, I felt I had to do too much, but I let this game come to me."
Maryland All-American Alyssa Thomas was plagued in foul trouble in the first half, scoring only five points.
"I think early foul trouble hindered me a lot," said Thomas, who finished with 14 points. "They didn't do anything that they didn't do in the first game."
Notre Dame beat Maryland 87-83 in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in January in College Park, MD.
Maryland had pulled back to within two, 23-21, with 7:56 remaining in the first half, before Notre Dame used a 25-10 run to close out the half.
"Obviously the better team won tonight," said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. "I thought Notre Dame just did a terrific job, really took advantage. I thought they set the tone from the first possession with the offensive rebounding, being dominant on the glass."
Jones led the Terrapins with 16 points. Thomas, an All-American selection, scored 14. Lexie Brown and Mincy had 11 apiece.
Jewell Loyd added 16 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame and Markisha Wright had 12 points and nine boards.
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