SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Elissa Cunane recorded her ninth double-double of the season as hot-shooting No. 9 North Carolina State beat beleaguered Notre Dame 90-56 on Sunday.
The 6-foot-5 Cunane, averaging a double-double coming into the game, had 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes for coach Wes Moore’s Wolfpack (15-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Jada Boyd scored 16 points, Kayla Jones added 15 points and Kai Crutchfield scored 13 for N.C. State, which shot 57% (34 of 60).
Katlyn Gilbert scored a career-high 25 points for the Fighting Irish (6-11, 1-4), who suffered their fifth straight home loss and seventh of the season at Purcell Pavilion, both low marks for Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw in her 33 seasons. Destinee Walker had 11 points for Notre Dame, which shot 34% (23 of 68).
The Wolfpack, who lost 66-60 at rival North Carolina last Thursday, took the lead for good at 11-9 on Crutchfield’s 3-pointer with 6:16 to play in the first quarter. They finished the quarter up 22-15 thanks to 57% shooting (8 of 14) as Cunane had six points and five rebounds. Gilbert had 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting while the rest of the Irish went 2 of 12.
Gilbert added five points in the second quarter, but her last basket at 4:30 was Notre Dame’s last of the half. N.C. State took a 39-25 lead to the locker room by hitting 8 of 12 shots with Cunane ending the half with 10 points and six rebounds.
The Wolfpack then had a 16-1 run to start the second half. Cunane hit a 3-pointer to put NC State up 44-25 when McGraw called a timeout just 1:09 into the third quarter. Crutchfield's 3-pointer put the Wolfpack up 55-26 when McGraw called her second timeout with 5:21 to play.
NC State: The Wolfpack overcame 13 first-half turnovers thanks to 62% shooting (16 of 26) and holding Notre Dame to 31% (3 of 11).
Notre Dame: The Irish went 3:20 without scoring in the first quarter and then ended the second quarter with no field goals in the final 4:30. Top reserve Anaya Peoples, wearing a brace on her right shoulder, left the game and was taken to the locker room 3:06 before halftime.
N.C. State: Hosts No. 11 Florida State on Thursday.
Notre Dame: Visits Duke on Thursday.