NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Becca Bruszewski scored 10 second-half points and Notre Dame (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) overcame an 18-point deficit and defeated Vanderbilt (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) 59-57 on Tuesday night.
Vanderbilt had a chance to tie, but Jessica Mooney's driving layup bounced off the rim as time expired.
Notre Dame (11-1) missed its first eight 3-pointers but got two from Kellie Watson and one from Melissa Lechlitner during a 22-0 run which gave the Irish a 50-46 lead with 7:04 to play.
"Big leads are hard to keep and even harder to stop other teams from taking it away," Melanie Balcomb, VU head coach, said. "They crashed the boards with four people and we couldn't stop them."
Bruszewski's layup with 8:36 left put them in front for the first time since they led 4-2 in the opening minutes. Ashley Barlow's two free throws moments earlier tied it 46-46.
Hannah Tuomi's layup with 6:32 to play snapped the run for Vanderbilt (11-3), which went 9:24 without a point.
Tuomi led the Commodores with 20 points, including six straight during an 8-0 run that made it 10-4. Christina Wirth added 12 points on four 3-pointers -- all in the first half.
"This was an unbelievable game," said Muffet McGraw, ND head coach. "Our defense was outstanding tonight. Christina (Wirth) was great and so was Hannah (Tuomi), and we really had to step up to defend them. We had trouble in the first half packing our zone around them, but this is a huge win for us."
Bruszewski and Lindsay Schrader led Notre Dame with 12 points each. Lechlitner added 11.