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Notre Dame guard Jewell Loyd, left passes the ball as Baylor guard MacKenzie Robertson defends during first-half NCAA college basketball game action on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond) (AP)
Irish fall to Baylor 73-61 in rematch
Posted on Dec. 5, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

NOTRE DAME — A surprise appearance by rapper Lil’ Wayne at halftime gave Notre Dame a breath of life, but even star power couldn’t save the Irish.

No. 5 Notre Dame (5-1) fell to No. 3 Baylor (7-1) 73-61 on Wednesday night in a rematch of last season’s NCAA finalists.

Though Notre Dame forced 20 turnovers, grabbed 14 offensive boards and held Baylor’s 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner to four points in the first 18 minutes of the game, the Irish shot only 37.9 percent from the field. ND’s Skylar Diggins, who averages 14 points per game, finished with eight points, all coming in the second half.

The Irish led by as many as nine points midway through the first half, but Baylor capitalized on a 22-7 run to take a halftime lead it never gave up.

Notre Dame hit a 7-0 run to open the second half, just minutes after Lil’ Wayne took a seat near the sideline, but Griner paced the Bears with 24 points and 12 rebounds to keep control of the game.

Freshman guard Jewell Loyd led the Irish with 24 points — including 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc — and seven rebounds.

Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride finished with 18 points, while Natalie Achonwa chipped in 11.