SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)Olivia Miles made a fadeaway jumper from just inside the 3-point line at the overtime buzzer to give No. 10 Notre Dame a 78-76 victory over Louisville on Thursday night.
Louisville’s Olivia Cochran had tied the game on a layup with 3.8 seconds remaining. The Irish called timeout to advance the ball to midcourt. Miles took a pass at the top of the key, drove to her right and hit the contested shot from the wing.
”The bigs on Louisville always high hedge, so I had to go around her,” Miles said. ”Then I didn’t have enough time to get to the rim, so I just shot it. It worked out but not according to plan, exactly.”
Miles finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as Notre Dame (21-4, 12-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended a six-game losing streak to Louisville.
”In the last couple of minutes, I told the team it’s time for us to separate ourselves,” Irish coach Niele Ivey said. ”That shot is what you call separation. That was unbelievable.”
Kylee Watson led the Irish with 20 points on 8-of-8 shooting, including 12 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Sonia Citron added 15 points.
”I knew that I needed to come out ready to play with energy, especially in the second half,” Watson said. ”We really just needed to find our fight. We’ve been in a lot of close games recently. I’m really so proud of all of us and the way that we were able to finish out that game.”
Hailey Van Lith led Louisville (19-9, 10-5) with 19 points. Chrislyn Carr added 15 off the bench.
Louisville led 62-53 early in the fourth quarter, matching its biggest lead of the game, before Notre Dame rallied and went ahead 70-68 on Maddy Westbeld’s layup with 45 seconds left in regulation. Van Lith hit a jumper with 27 seconds remaining that ended up sending the game to OT.
”There were so many moments from so many different players on the team,” Ivey said. ”It’s such a collective team effort, a collective team win and a confidence builder. We’re still working on our identity.”
Notre Dame center Lauren Ebo returned to the court for the first time since Jan. 26. She had two points and three rebounds in 5 minutes of action. She entered the game averaging 9.9 points and 7.0 rebounds.
The Irish had struggled in recent late-game situations, including a 57-52 loss to Duke on Feb. 5 in which Notre Dame scored six points in the fourth quarter.
”This is a sign of growth for this team,” Ivey said. You have to be in the fire, you have to be in the moment to learn from it. It’s just really rewarding for me to see the growth. They were locked in defensively.”
Louisville: Fell to 2-4 against ranked opponents this season. The Cardinals’ five ACC losses are their most since joining the league for the 2014-15 season.
Notre Dame: Moved into a first-place tie with Duke atop the ACC. The ninth-ranked Blue Devils lost to No. 11 Virginia Tech on Thursday.
Louisville: At Boston College on Sunday.
Notre Dame: At Pittsburgh 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