McBride leads Notre Dame in women's final
NASHVILLE - Kayla McBride seemingly did whatever she wanted and enjoyed herself while she did it.
The All-America senior guard shed defenders with behind-the-back dribbles and quick crossovers before scoring. She set the tone, refusing to let Notre Dames pursuit of a perfect season end, and her Irish teammates followed her lead into Tuesdays championship game.
In one of the best games of her career, McBride scored 28 points as Notre Dame posted a convincing 87-61 win over Maryland on Sunday.
She was truly special, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. She was having fun out there and that was the key. She was hitting shots from all over.
The Irish (37-0), who also got 16 points from Jewell Loyd, will play Connecticut (39-0) for the championship.
It means a lot as a senior, McBride said. Im so proud of this team. ... Were going to go in and look at the film and be ready for the game.
McGraw, who was the Associated Press Coach of the Year, was concerned coming into the game about her teams ability to rebound against the bigger Terrapins after the Irish lost 6-foot-3 forward Natalie Achonwa to injury last week. Her team practiced all week on boxing out and not allowing second shots.
It worked. The Irish dominated the Terrapins on the boards 50-21, including a 19-4 mark on the offensive end.
Obviously the better team won, said Maryland coach Brenda Frese, whose team finished 28-7. Notre Dame did a terrific job. They took advantage and set the tone from the first possession. We really struggled to have an answer for Loyd and McBride.