Top-seeded Notre Dame’s offense came alive in the second half to help the Fighting Irish pull away from a tie game at halftime and take a 73-62 victory over Cal in a second-round women’s NCAA Tournament game at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind., on Tuesday.
After the halftime break, Notre Dame (32-3) began showing off the offensive punch that made it the nation’s second-highest scoring (79.4 points per game) women’s team. Notre Dame went on a 23-6 run coming out of the break, getting points from five different players, to take a 54-37 lead with 12:21 left.
Cal (25-10) got to within nine with 1:16 remaining, but could come no closer.
Layshia Clarendon led Cal with 17 points, while Reshanda Gray added 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Despite the loss, Cal’s future appears bright with its entire roster slated to return next season.
The victory sends Notre Dame to the Sweet 16 round for the 10th time in the last 16 seasons. There, it will face No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure on Sunday at the PNC Center in Raleigh, N.C.
Senior guard Natalie Novosel led the Irish with a game-high 28 points, while another guard, junior Skylar Diggins, added 21 points.