Irish take down number five Virginia Tech 71-58 earning second top 25 win this season

NOW: Irish take down number five Virginia Tech 71-58 earning second top 25 win this season

SOUTH BEND, Ind – Notre Dame had three players in double-figures and shut down two-time ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley enroute to win.

Playing in the ACC conference is no easy feat and Notre Dame knows it firsthand. With only one top 25 win coming into Thursday's game, the vibe was different for the Irish before the 7 p.m. tip-off.

"Right from the beginning, I felt like this. I knew we were ready," said Head Coach Niele Ivey.

The fourth year Head Coach was right. From the jump, the Irish defense applied pressure and it was consistent throughout 40 minutes. Ultimately finishing with seven steals, four blocks, and 14 points off turnovers.

Another key was shutting down Elizabeth Kitley. Standing at 6'6", the two-time ACC Player of the Year was averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds coming into tonight's game.

Notre Dame's aggressive defense held Kitley to 12 points and nine rebounds.

In the third quarter, Kitley's partner Georgia Amoore, eventually got going and ended with 20 points, as one of the three Hokies in double-figures.

But it wasn't enough, as Notre Dame had three in double-digits also. It just so happens, those three were more impactful.

11-time ACC Rookie of the Week, Hannah Hidalgo set the pace offensive with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Earning a double-double.

Maddy Westbeld notched a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The senior stayed ready all game and came up clutch giving the Irish a 62-54 lead, in the fourth.

After the first half, it didn't look like the Irish would get much help from anyone else. But in the second half, Sonia Citron changed the script, scoring all 21 points in the final 20 minutes of play.

"I thought, we played with poise. We weren't sped up. Again, we got the stops, we needed. We got out man and transition or pace was great. So, I just felt like the energy was different today, though, shoot around, you could just tell practices leading up to today. They were all locked. Everything was purposeful this week. And I just I can just tell with their energy, how we're going to be," Ivey added.

The win over Virginia Tech is huge for the Irish going into the ACC tournament next week (March 6), but there's still one more regular season game. The rival matchup vs Louisville Sunday at 2 p.m., Purcell Pavilion.

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