CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Olivia Miles scored 20 points and Maddy Westbeld had 15, including a layup that put No. 7 Notre Dame ahead for good in a 57-54 victory over Clemson on Thursday night.
The Fighting Irish (15-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) held on despite scoring 31 fewer points than their 88.1 average per game coming in. Notre Dame’s defense, though, kicked in when it counted most, force eight turnovers by Clemson (12-8, 3-5) in the final period.
Still, the Tigers had two chances chance at the end down 57-54, but could not convert. Daisha Bradford’s 3-pointer with three seconds left was off the mark and, after Westbelt missed a pair of free throws, Bradford’s desperation three didn’t go.
Miles, the smooth-shooting sophomore, kept Notre Dame in it much of the game with her fourth 20-point game this season and second in a row.
And when Miles was’t scoring, it was Westbeld coming through. Her layup off a pass from Miles with 3:49 to play broke a 49-all tie.
After Clemson cut a four-point lead to 53-51, Westbeld converted another pass from Miles to keep the Irish in front for their eighth win in their past eight games.
Notre Dame needed everything Miles and Westbeld could give as its two other players averaging double figures, Dara Mabrey and Sonia Citron combined for just five points on 5-of-20 shooting.
Clemson had gone more than 22 years between wins over top-10 opponents before its 64-59 victory over then-seventh ranked Virginia Tech on this court three weeks ago. The Tigers came out like they didn’t want to wait nearly as long, forcing Notre Dame into five turnovers on the first seven possessions to open a 10-4 lead.
Clemson kept pushing the pace and, after MaKayla Elmore’s three, held a 27-19 edge on the Irish.
That’s when Notre Dame called on Miles to get them back in it. The Fighting Irish’s leader in points, assists and steals hit a pair of threes — the team had missed its first six over the game’s first 17 minutes — down the stretch as they cut the lead to 29-26 at the break.
Brie Perpingnan led Clemson with 11 points. Amari Robinson, the Tigers top scorer averaging 13 points a game, was held to eight on 4-of-10 shooting.
Notre Dame: It was an off night for the Irish and they came out of it with a victory. That’s a good sign for how far this team, led by Miles, could go this season.
Clemson: The No. 7 ranked team seems to bring out the best in the Tigers. It’s the second time in three weeks Clemson played a top-10 opponent toe-to-toe and might mean a few more surprises in store for the ACC teams down the road.
Notre Dame: Hosts Virginia on Sunday.
Clemson: At Boston College on Sunday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25