The NCAA Tournament stage at a packed Purcell Pavilion early Saturday evening meant business as usual for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as the No. 1 seeded Irish rolled past No. 16 North Carolina A&T in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by a score of 95-61. The Irish were led by Brianna Turner inside with 16 points, and veteran Madison Cable added 14 points and seven rebounds to pace Muffet McGraw's squad for their 19th first round win in the past 21 seasons.
It was a clear domination from the start, as the 30-1 Irish rolled in coming off a third consecutive sweep of the ACC regular season and tournament titles and jumped out to a 21-5 lead. After NC A&T cut the deficit to 12 at the end of the first quarter, the Irish extended their lead to 28 by halftime.
The team moved the ball well and looked fluid on offense. Putting up 91 points is all you can ask of the Irish in what was obviously going to be a clear blowout from the moment the bracket was released. Despite being outscored 21-14 in the fourth quarter, the Irish were up by 41 points at the end of the third and dominated the entire game to a point where some lackadaisical play was not surprising.
Up next for the Irish in the Lexington Region comes ninth-seeded Indiana, as the Hoosiers dispelled Georgia 62-58 in the second game of the doubleheader at Purcell. IU could not keep Maryland or Ohio State, the most all-around solid teams they faced in the regular season, within 20 points this year so look for ND to roll again. However, with in-state rivalry implications and the Hoosiers' otherwise-excellent B1G record, Monday night's game should be less of a blowout. ND-IU tips at 6:30 Monday night at Purcell Pavilion and on ESPN2.