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Cable spark ignites No. 3 Notre Dame over Duke

#3 Notre Dame and Duke did deliver a competitive night trading blows for the 40 minute game. As the Fighting Irish, they were able to last longer and sneak out of Duke with a win having to defend themselves until the last second on the clock ticked away. Duke didn't let up making Notre Dame earn all their points.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Durham, NC -- No. 3 Notre Dame traveled to meet the unranked Duke Blue Devils to do what they do best, which is stay on top. The Fighting Irish are now 9-0  in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the team came out charging in results of beating the Blue Devils 61-68.

Monday's game marked the 13th time the two teams have faced off. In the 12 times before, the Irish held an 11-1 record against the Blue Devils, but they were 2-1 against Duke at Cameron.

The last time they were together at the ACC semifinal game March 7, 2015, Jewell Loyd carried the Irish to victory with 21 points, but she's off playing with the Seattle Storm now, so this year's star guard, Madison Cable picked up where Loyd left off and finished the game with 18 points.

Cable, who has repeatedly bailed out her team again and again, had an incredible fourth quarter, along with some key steals that got head Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw talking about how her star player isn't getting enough attention.

"She's a little bit of an unsung hero, because she deflects the praise constantly, and she is somebody that is having a phenomenal year," McGraw said. "She's been leading us in scoring most of the season. She hits big shot after big shot . . . but she definitely does not get the attention that she deserves."

The number three ranking wasn't all that the Fighting Irish were known for in Monday's game. It was raining money threes with Cable who also was the top scorer for Notre Dame, joining her was freshman guard Arike Ogunbowale who finished with 16 points.

Last seconds in the first half, Duke's defense pulled down a time crunching rebound that led to sophomore guard Azura Stevens shooting her second three point shot of the first half, but the Fighting Irish came back with an answer with Lindsay Allen's jumper for the quarter buzzer, officials called it good, and Notre Dame ended the half leading 35 to 27.

Both the Irish and the Devils kept the game neck and neck as the Blue Devils tried to keep the hyped momentum roaring in Cameron, while the Fighting Irish fought to get back in sync. There was a sign the Irish might be losing their fighting touch when Henson came up with a steal from Allen to get the ball back on Duke's side with a layup assisted by Stevens.

Duke stayed consistent, giving the ball to Rebecca Greenwell whose layups in the paint were golden and just what the Devils needed to get the team back in motion.

However, It wasn't enough as Stevens came in for the block against Notre Dame's Kathryn Westbeld, but Cable immediately returned with the stellar three assisted by Allen to get the Irish back on top. Brianna Turner joined both Cable and Ogunbowale, with being the third highest scorer of the night. Turner ended with a double-double for the night scoring 12 points and 13 rebounds.

With three minutes left in the tight scoring game and Cable swooshed in for the steal to make a layup, and back came the Fighting Irish.

Coach McGraw touched on just how her team got back into the groove with the return of Allen, "I thought we showed a lot of poise in the fourth quarter when we got down in the third quarter with Lindsey Allen on the bench," McGraw said.

"I mean she's so important to our team. She keeps us together and I think having her on the bench, that's when Duke made their run, and I thought we did a really good job in the fourth."