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No. 2 Notre Dame holds off Virginia

Jan 12, 2014 - 9:40 PM Charlottesville, VA ( - Natalie Achonwa notched game-highs with 26 points and 16 rebounds to lead second-ranked Notre Dame to a 79-72 victory over Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena.

Kayla McBride had 23 points and five assists and Jewell Loyd totaled 17 points and seven rebounds for the Irish (15-0, 3-0 ACC), who have not lost since the Final Four last year against UConn, 83-65.

Faith Randolph netted 23 points off the bench for Virginia (8-8, 1-2), which has lost two of its last three. Sarah Imovbioh contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds in the losing effort.

Notre Dame started the final 20 minutes with an 8-2 burst to stretch its lead to 51-38, however, Randolph scored eight straight for the Cavaliers as part of an 8-2 run.

Loyd's layup provided the visitors with a 61-51 edge, but Virginia struck back to pull within two points, 71-69, with 3:49 left to play on an Imovbioh free throw.

The Fighting Irish rattled off the next six points and the Cavaliers were put to rest.

Raeshawn Gaffney's bucket provided the hosts with a 25-24 edge late in the first half, but Notre Dame finished off the half with a 19-11 spurt and led 45-36 at the break.