SOUTH BEND--Kayla McBride lofted a 12-foot jumper that bounced on the orange rim several times before dropping through the net. After that, the suspense disappeared from Purcell Pavilion as the No. 5-ranked Notre Dame women's basketball team routed St. Francis, 128-55, Monday afternoon.
The Irish tied the program record for most points in a game. The Irish also scored 128 points on Dec. 30, 2011, against Mercer.
Next up for the Irish (11-1) is a trip to play No. 1 Connecticut in the Big East opener on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m., with the telecast on CBS. St. Francis is 5-6. A sellout crowd of 9,149 - Notre Dame's fourth sellout in six homes games - attended the game.
Skylar Diggins ignited the Irish attack with seven points and a career-high 14 assists. Her previous best for assists in a game was 12, set against Oklahoma on March 26, 2011, in a 78-53 victory in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
Kayla McBride scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting for the Irish. She scored her seven points on 3-of-4 shooting, including a 3-pointer. Natalie Achonwa scored 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and Jewell Loyd was a perfect 6-of-6 shooting (including a 3) for 13 points.
Markisha Wright, Michaeala Mabrey and Madison Cable came off the bench to add to the Irish firepower. Wright led the Irish with 20 points, Mabrey scored 18 and Cable scored 10.
Notre Dame ended up with six players in double figures, and had two more players - Ariel Braker and Whitney Holloway - score nine points each.
Diggins only played 11 minutes in the first half, but still dished out 10 assists. The All-American point guard majestically wove her way down the court time-and-time again, delivering passes with crisp precision to a teammate flashing to the hoop on the fastbreak. She ended up only playing 16 of the game's 40 minutes.
Monday's matinee quickly turned into a lay-up drill for the Irish, who turned steals into fastbreak baskets and hit seven baskets in a row, only needing to set up in the half-court offense once in that stretch. McGraw cleared her bench well before the 12-minute mark of the first half as the Irish rolled to leads of 9-0 and 23-4 on the way to a 63-25 halftime lead.
Forcing 21 turnovers in the first half, the Irish transition game turned into an avalanche. The Irish owned a 27-0 edge in points off of turnovers in the first half.