SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Battling to the final seconds, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team challenged #5/4 Notre Dame every possession on Sunday. But in the end, the Fighting Irish proved too much as they held off the Hawks, 64-50, at the Purcell Pavilion.
The Hawks (3-7) continued to control the pace of the game as they opened a 20-13 lead on a jump shot by Ciara Andrews with 10:06 to go in the half.
Notre Dame regrouped though and used a 16-2 run to open a 29-22 lead. The Fighting Irish's defense stifled the Hawks during the seven minute run as SJU turned the ball over six times and went 1-8 from the floor.
A jumper by Andrews cut the deficit to five, 29-24, but Notre Dame closed the half on a 10-3 run to take a 39-27 lead into the second half as it finished the half shooting 63.6 percent (14-22) to the Hawks' 35.7 percent (10-28).
The Fighting Irish (11-1) took control out of halftime as they made it 53-31 with 12:02 to play. The Hawks were held to just 1-9 shooting during that run as Notre Dame hit 6-7 from the floor.
Down by 22, Saint Joseph's continued to fight. Backed by six of her team-high 16 points, Cloud sparked a 15-3 run that saw her jumper bring the Hawks within 10, 56-46, with 4:59 to play.
Unfortunately that was as close as Saint Joseph's would get though as the Fighting Irish held on for the win.
For the game, the Hawks shot 38.5 percent from the field (20-52), 36.4 percent from three-point range (4-11) and hit 6-8 from the foul line. Saint Joseph's lost the battle of the boards, 27-26, but finished with 11 offensive rebounds.
Individually, Cloud was 7-14 from the floor, including 1-4 from three point range and 1-1 from the foul line, and added two rebounds and five steals. Andrews finished with 15 points, while Fitzpatrick had 13 points off the bench. Freshman Adashia Franklyn finished with a team-high seven rebounds and added a blocked shot.
At the other end, Notre Dame was 25-44 from the floor (56.8 percent) and 14-18 from the foul line (77.8 percent), but went 0-5 from three-point range. Brianna Turner had a game-high 19 points to lead the Fighting Irish, while Jewell Loyd finished with 16 points.
The game marked just the third meeting between the two Catholic Universities and pit the Hawks versus former SJU great Muffet McGraw '77.
Saint Joseph's returns to action December 28 as it hosts the Hawk Classic. The Hawks open play at 2 p.m. versus Quinnipiac with Florida Gulf Coast and Cal State Northridge playing the other semifinal at 4 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Freshman Chelsea Woods finished with four points and five rebounds in her first career start...Junior Sarah Fairbanks added two points and four rebounds...Graduate student Ashley Robinson had two rebounds...The Hawks finished with five team turnovers on shot clock violations as they slowed their pace of play versus Notre Dame...SJU is now 1-2 all-time versus Notre Dame...The Hawks held the Fighting Irish to zero three pointers for the first time since 11/19/12 when it failed to make one versus Ohio State.