CLARKSBURG — Existing chemistry among their returnees, and a double-double from a new addition, were plenty for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their season opener.
ND had 13 assists on 19 field goals and turned the Robert C. Byrd Flying Eagles over 33 times in a 49-22 victory.
“Boy, did we share the ball well,” ND coach Bob Martino said. “So proud of them for that. We’re not a one-horse, two-horse team. All five of our starters can score. There was no selfishness. They made the extra pass. We didn’t always make the shot, I don’t think we shot very well, but we got a lot of open shots.”
Taylor Martino scored 20 points and grabbed six steals, while Bridgeport transfer Emilee Henderson tallied 12 points, 10 steals, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks in her ND debut.
Also for ND (1-0), Amelia Angotti passed out seven assists and Bailee Yokum scored six points to go with three boards, two assists and two steals.
Mckenzie Lamm had 12 points and Hayley Willey six for RCB (0-1).
Notre Dame scored the first four points of the young season on baskets by Henderson and Martino, then, after RCB answered with a Lamm 3 at the 5:54 mark, the Irish went on a 9-0 run to close the quarter, highlighted by a Henderson 3.
“She adds another shooter,” coach Martino said of Henderson. “She gives us energy. She’s great on the top (on defense). She gets steals. She adds some fun in practice. She’s got a world of potential. She’s got a great shot. She hit some tonight, but in practice, she hits a lot more.
“Same thing with Bailee. Bailee’s got a great shot. We didn’t see it tonight, but we will see it the rest of the season.”
Notre Dame led, 13-3, after forcing 14 first-quarter turnovers.
“We got our hand on a lot of passes,” coach Martino said. “Even though we didn’t always get the steal sometimes, we got a lot of deflections. That puts pressure on the other team.”
Martino scored a hoop with harm to open the second period, but Notre Dame went cold for the next 2 ½ minutes and the Eagles closed within seven on a 3 and a layup by Lamm.
“We got a little nervous and took some bad shots there, but other than that, I was pleased,” coach Martino said.
Up 17-10 after an exchange of baskets, the Irish finished the half on a 9-3 run, with Henderson scoring five, to lead, 26-12, at intermission.
Notre Dame then scored the first 13 points of the second half as Martino canned three 3s to lead 39-12.
It was a 44-18 game after three quarters.
Robert C. Byrd did not shoot a free throw in the game.
Notre Dame travels to Trinity on Friday in a rematch of last year’s sectional final at 7 p.m., while Robert C. Byrd plays Liberty on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Sam Bord Tournament in Grafton.
Sports editor Michael Minnich can be reached at 304-626-1441, by e-mail at email@example.com, or on Twitter @michaelminnich.