Sonia Citron made her first six threes and finished 6-of-7 to give the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish their firepower in a 76-54 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers Sunday afternoon at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana. Citron’s previous career high for made triples in a game was four.
On a sobering note, however, Notre Dame sharpshooter Dara Mabrey suffered a lower leg injury on a fast break one minute and 59 seconds into the game and did not return.
Virginia was without its second-leading scorer and leading rebounder, Mir McLean, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. The Cavs were also missing their third-leading scorer and a former member of the Notre Dame program in Sam Brunelle, who was suspended for one game for a fighting foul.
Citron finished at 20 points, with the other bucket coming on a floater from the left baseline. She added nine rebounds and three assists; the points and rebounds were both game highs.
Citron’s fourth three of the game gave the Irish their first 20-point lead of the afternoon at the 7:29 mark of the third. It capped an 8-0 Notre Dame run that also featured a 3-point play by Lauren Ebo after an offensive rebound. Much like they did in the first and second quarters, the Cavaliers battled and did their best to not let things get out of hand. They cut it to 14 on a Cady Pauley three, to 13 on Mckenna Dale free throws and to 15 on Taylor Valladay free throws, the last of which came with 2:47 to go before the fourth. But Notre Dame closed the third on a 7-2 run capped by an Olivia Miles three to go up 22.
Virginia opened the fourth on a 4-0 run, but it was Citron’s afternoon as she answered with her sixth triple to push the Irish lead back to 21 at the 8:41 mark of the frame. The Cavs never got closer than within 17 the rest of the way.
Miles recorded 12 points and seven assists, while Ebo was good for 15 points and six boards.
A Pauley three at 18 seconds remaining in the first cut it to eight and a Yonta Vaughn trey at the 6:19 mark of the second cut it to seven. The Irish went on a 9-2 run after that to go up 14 with two threes coming from Citron and another coming from Cassandre Prosper, but the Cavs cut it back to 10 twice over the remainder of the second and trailed by a manageable 12 at the break.
Notre Dame went on a 14-0 run from 5:39 in the first to 2:18 in the first to go up 18-4. Miles kicked it off with a layup in transition and then Citron made a three from the left corner. An Ebo mid-range make and a Miles 3-point play followed before KK Bransford closed out the stretch with a pair of layups.
Virginia’s No. 1 scorer, Camryn Taylor, did play and reached, 1,000 career points on a free throw two minutes and 53 seconds into the contest. She led the Cavs with 13 points, adding five boards and two steals.
Notre Dame won field goal percentage 50 to 29.7 and 3-point percentage 40 to 20. Virginia won offensive rebounds 20-9, but lost second-chance points 15-11.