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TCU falls to No. 3 Notre Dame, 88-72

TCU fell to Notre Dame 88-72 Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.
TCU fell to Notre Dame 88-72 Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.

The third-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish had won 47 of their last 49 road games under Hall of Fame head coach Muffet McGraw coming into Saturday’s game against TCU, and they continued their road success with an 88-72 victory over the Horned Frogs Saturday.

The Fighting Irish lived up to their high-scoring reputation against the Horned Frogs, scoring 88 points, just above their game average of 86.8, good for fourth-best in the entire country.

The game didn’t start as rough as the final score appeared for the Horned Frogs, as they were only down five points, 18-23, after the first quarter.

The Frogs’ downfall was their transition defense, which played a significant part in Notre Dame connecting on 44.4 percent of its three-point attempts.

“We left too many shooters uncontested in transition and in our half-court defense,” TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said.

The TCU players agreed.

“I think where we struggled was our transition defense,” All-American TCU guard Zahna Medley said.

One of the main reasons for the Frogs’ defensive struggles in transition were the small ball lineups of Notre Dame, which were mainly comprised of five guards. Those smaller lineups led to TCU first year center Jordan Moore playing only 19 minutes in the contest, the fewest amount among TCU starters.

“It was the pace of the game,” Coach Pebley said. “They played a lot of the game with five guards, and because of that, we needed to match up with them.”

However, Moore’s absence only fueled Notre Dame’s use of its five-guard lineups.

“We went smaller in the second half because [Moore] wasn’t in there and that was to our advantage,” McGraw said.

Medley single-handedly kept the Frogs in the game during the first half with 12 of her game-high 22 points coming in the first half. She even drew a shooting foul from half court with .7 seconds left in the first quarter.

Medley simply used Notre Dame’s air-tight defensive coverage on her against the Irish.

“[My defender] was close to me, and I felt like if I went into her with the shot, I was going to get the foul call,” Medley said.

Even McGraw complimented Medley’s offensive prowess.

“She’s hard to guard,” McGraw said said of the senior.

Attendance-wise, Saturday’s game against Notre Dame marked the first sellout at the TCU University Recreation Center this season.

The Horned Frogs’ next game is Sunday, Dec. 20, against the South Utah Thunderbirds at 3:30 p.m. inside the new Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

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