Notre Dame stuns No. 5 Virginia Tech with big win

As impressive as Notre Dame’s win at UConn earlier this season was, it was a nonconference game. What ultimately matters is how you do against your conference foes, and the Irish had a tough one in No. 5 Virginia Tech on Thursday at Purcell Pavilion. It turned out not to matter as the Irish upset the Hokies in convincing fashion, 71-58.

Not only did the Irish (22-6, 12-5) keep the Hokies (23-5, 14-3) from clinching the outright ACC title with a victory and snap their 10-game winning streak, but they kept their hopes for a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament alive. A loss would have caused those hopes to hang by a thread at best, but that’s not the case.

This game featured eight lead changes, all in the first quarter. The Irish never trailed again after KK Bransford made a layup late in that first quarter. By locking down on the Hokies’ top players, executing their offensive game plan flawlessly and simply outplaying their opponents, the Irish led by as much as 14. The Hokies cut the lead to five a couple of times in the second half but got no closer. The Irish weathered every storm and came out on top.

Hannah Hidalgo embraced the higher stakes with 23 points, six assists, three steals and a career-high 12 rebounds. She also became the ACC’s all-time leading freshman scorer by bringing her season total to 663. sonia citron scored all 21 of her points in the second half, and Maddy Westbeld had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire