SALT LAKE CITY -- Skylar Diggins and Natalie Novosel scored 20 points apiece, and No. 2 seed Notre Dame held off 15th-seeded Utah 67-54 Saturday in a first-round NCAA tournament game.
Utah led late in the first half and was within five points with 8 minutes remaining, but the Irish went on a 10-2 run to put the game out of reach.
Iwalani Rodrigues led Utah with 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
The Utes (18-17) held a 41-34 advantage on the boards but shot just 32.7 percent and committed 18 turnovers.
Four Notre Dame players scored in double figures, with Becca Bruszewski adding 13 and Derereaux Peters 12.
Notre Dame (27-7) led 36-33 at halftime and scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 43-33 lead.
Rodrigues then scored eight straight to pull Utah within 43-41 with 14:30 remaining, only to see Notre Dame go on a 6-0 run.
The 6-2 Peters came up big down the stretch and finished with four blocks.
Janita Badon had three steals for Utah but struggled offensively, hitting only 4 of 21 shots.
Utah's Michelle Harrison had 16 rebounds, nine on the offensive end, while Michelle Plouffe had eight boards. But Plouffe, the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, could not get her shot to go down.
Her buzzer-beater in the MWC tourney semifinals beat BYU, and she scored eight points in overtime to lead Utah past TCU in the title game. But she shot just 2 of 10 on Saturday, and 1 of 4 from 3-point range.
After Badon's three-point play pulled Utah within 53-48 with 8:02 remaining, Plouffe had a chance to cut it even more, but she missed a layup.
Novosel and Bruszewski sank two free throws apiece at the other end to bump Notre Dame's lead back to 57-48.
Notre Dame entered the tourney having lost to No.1-ranked UConn in the Big East finals. But the Irish hadn't dropped two in a row since falling to UCLA and Kentucky early.
They made sure Utah wouldn't end that streak.