SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Ariel Braker matched her career high with 15 points and Natalie Achonwa added 11 points and nine rebounds to help No. 2 Notre Dame beat Seton Hall 69-49 on Saturday for the Irish’s 17th straight victory.
Notre Dame (22-1, 10-0 Big East) trailed 2-0 before jumping on the Pirates by scoring 17 of the next 19 points. Achonwa had seven points during the run, including back-to-back layups.
Seton Hall trailed by 14 before going on a 13-4 spurt to close to 33-28 on Tabatha Richardson-Smith’s 3-pointer with 2:29 left in the first half. The Irish led 35-28 at the break.
The Pirates (8-15, 3-7) got within eight in the second half before Notre Dame put the game away with a 12-2 run keyed by Braker.
Brittany Morris scored 16 points to lead Seton Hall.
It was a much better effort for Seton Hall then the last few meetings with the Irish. Last season the Pirates trailed 49-16 at the half and never got back in the game, losing 74-36.
This time hot shooting kept them in it for 20 minutes. Notre Dame scored four quick points to start the second half to boost its lead back to double figures, but Seton Hall closed to 41-33 with five straight points by Morris.
That’s as close as they’d get as Notre Dame scored 12 of the next 14 points to put the game away, including six by Braker.
The Irish return home to face No. 11 Louisville on Monday night.
The win was the 117th for the senior class of Kaila Turner and Diggins matching them with the group that graduated last year for the most in school history. Turner was wearing a sling on her left shoulder and didn’t play. She injured the elbow against Villanova.
Despite the winter storm that hit the area, there was a strong crowd on hand for the Play4Kay game in honor of former North Carolina State coach Kay Yow. Seton Hall was wearing pink uniforms for the game.
Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg