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No. 2 Notre Dame women stay unbeaten, defeat Florida St. 81-60

Published On: Feb 06 2014 08:22:22 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2014 09:17:54 PM CST
Notre Dame vs. Michigan State

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw (South Bend Tribune photo // Robert Franklin)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -

Natalie Achonwa scored 24 points and Jewell Loyd added 18 to lead No. 2 Notre Dame to an 81-60 victory over Florida State on Thursday night that kept the Fighting Irish unbeaten.

Kayla McBride chipped in 14 points for Notre Dame (22-0, 9-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Cheetah Delgado scored a career-high 18 points and Natasha Howard finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for Florida State (15-7, 3-6). Delgado entered the game averaging 7.5 points per game.

"We can score," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I don't want us to just be a team that tries to outscore people. I want us to be a team that really likes to defend."

The Fighting Irish used a zone to pack the paint and hold Howard seven points below her season average. A 24-5 run in the second half allowed Notre Dame to run away after the Seminoles cut it to 34-33 shortly after halftime.

Notre Dame jumped out to a 27-13 lead thanks to a 15-2 run sparked by Achonwa, who scored 15 first-half points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field. The Fighting Irish zone clogged the middle and left the Seminoles shooting perimeter jump shots. Florida State adjusted and was able to work the ball to Howard from the wings as the Seminoles closed the half with a 16-5 run. Howard scored eight consecutive points during the spurt.

The Seminoles trailed 32-29 at halftime after Delgado hit a runner with 6 seconds remaining. A jumper by Delgado brought Florida State within one point early in the second half, but the Fighting Irish ran away with a heavy dose Loyd, who scored 14 of her 18 after the break. The 24-5 run that put the Seminoles away was highlighted by an alley-oop from Michaela Mabrey to Loyd.

"We practice that stuff all the time," Loyd said. "I love that. I think it's good for women's sports."

Author: KAREEM COPELAND, Associated Press