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No. 15 Maryland falls behind early again against No. 2 Notre Dame, falls 92-72

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FORT WAYNE, Indiana — Maryland can't get off to a good start against Notre Dame.

Last January, the Terrapins fell behind by 22, rallied to take the lead, but still lost to the Fighting Irish. In the NCAA semifinals in April, the Terps trailed by 17 at halftime and couldn't make a run.

It was more of the same on Wednesday night. The 15th-ranked Terrapins fell behind by 20 at halftime and again couldn't make a second-half run as they lost 92-72 to the second-ranked Fighting Irish.

"I thought we did a nice job of trying to compete in the second half but just put ourselves in too big a hole to start the game," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.

She credited Notre Dame for getting off to such a quick start.

"They go for the knock-out punch early. They try to mentally get into your mind early with their aggressiveness, and they definitely did to us tonight," Frese said.

Laurin Mincy, who along with Lexie Brown led Maryland with 20 points each, said the Terrapins took too long to get going.

"We didn't attack in the first half," Mincy said. "We needed to look to attack, but we didn't start doing that until four minutes left in the first half."

Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd couldn't be stopped on the fast break. Loyd had two fast-break baskets as she scored eight points during a 10-0 run early to get Notre Dame going, then finished off the Terps in the second half as she banked in an acrobatic bank shot as she was fouled at the end of the fast break and hit the free throw for a three-point play to extend the lead to 40 points.

"It's just being focused," Loyd said. "I watch a lot of Kobe Bryant, so that's something he would do. We play a lot of horse, our guards play a lot of horse, and we do a lot of trick shots like that. So I didn't really throw it at the basket. I was focused and looked at the backboard and stayed with it."

Loyd had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists as Notre Dame quickly jumped to a 24-point lead in a rematch of an NCAA tournament semifinal from last season.

"Just another game for Jewell. She was phenomenal," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "She can make the game so exciting. It's really fun to watch."

The Irish dominated even though freshman Brianna Turner, their second-leading scorer at 15.3 points, left less than four minutes into the game with an apparent shoulder injury. McGraw said Turner will undergo an MRI on Thursday.

PHOTO: Maryland center Brionna Jones, lefties fouled as she shoots by Notre Dame forward Taya Reimer in the second half of a women's NCAA college basketball game in Fort Wayne, Ind., Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Maryland center Brionna Jones, lefties fouled as she shoots by Notre Dame forward Taya Reimer in the second half of a women's NCAA college basketball game in Fort Wayne, Ind., Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Just like in the semifinal game, which the Fighting Irish won by 26 points, Notre Dame (8-0) took control early and the Terrapins (6-2) never seriously threatened as they lost in their first appearance as a Big Ten member in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

But McGraw said she reminded the Irish how last January they had squandered a 22-point lead against Maryland and fell behind before finally winning 87-83.

"That's what we were talking about at halftime," McGraw said.

Taya Reimer added a career-high 21 points for the Irish. Michaela Mabrey had 11 and Lindsay Allen, who is from Mitchellville, Maryland, about 10 miles from the Maryland campus, had 10 points and six rebounds.

Notre Dame played its first off-site home game in the 38-year history of having a women's team because the men's team was hosting No. 19 Michigan State.

TIP-INS:

With the win, Notre Dame now leads the all-time series with five victories in nine games. ... Maryland was 7-0 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge as an ACC member. ... Notre Dame extended its home winning streak to 34 games because even though the game against Maryland was 90 miles from campus it counted as a home game.

POINT SHY

Mincy finished a point shy of becoming the 29th player in Maryland history to reach 1,000 career points.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Many of the 9,194 fans in the crowd at the Allen War Memorial Coliseum wore the familiar green T-shirts fans wear at Purcell Pavilion. McGraw said she'd like to see Fort Wayne host an NCAA tournament regional.

"This would be a terrific neutral site for us to come to," she said.

UP NEXT:

Notre Dame: Plays No. 3 Connecticut at home on Saturday in a rematch of last year's championship game, which the Huskies won 79-58.

Maryland: Plays Towson at home on Sunday.

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