With Natalie Achonwa out for the rest of Notre Dame's season, that certainly was a blow to the Irish's hopes of winning this national semifinal game, let alone the national championship. That didn't happen as Notre Dame beat Maryland 87-61 in a blow out in a Final Four matchup.
With Achonwa out, Notre Dame senior guard Kayla McBride scored 19 points in the first half, shooting 8-12 from the field, and was a major contributor to help Notre Dame turn a close 23-21 lead with less than eight minutes left into a considerable 39-27 lead at the end of the half. Here's a visual representation of her dominance:
In the second half, while McBride didn't score another 19 points, she did score another five straight points early to make it 59-37. She ended up with 28 points and 7 rebounds.
From that point on, the outcome wasn't in doubt. When you also add the fact that the Fighting Irish had 50 rebounds while the Terrapins had ... 21 ... uh ... yeah. No team has much of a chance winning a game when getting doubled up on rebounds.
Disgraceful Stat for Maryland Rebounds MD 21 ND 50. That stat tells you who wanted the game more and were prepared to take it. Notre Dame
— Dave (@cterrier100) April 7, 2014
Taya Reimer, who replaced Achonwa in the starting lineup scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds in 30 minutes of play. In addition, Jewell Loyd and Markisha Wright added 16 and 12 points for the Irish respectively.
For Maryland, their senior star forward, Alyssa Thomas was limited to 14 points and 6 rebounds in her final college game and wasn't able to get her game going, like during the Terrapins' regional semifinal game against Tennessee where she scored 33 points and 13 rebounds in a big 73-62 win. One bright spot for the Terrapins however was the play of Lexie Brown, who added 11 points and 8 assists in the game.
Notre Dame will play the winner of the Connecticut vs. Stanford national semifinal game on Tuesday, April 8.