Brunelle's college career off to historic start

SOUTH BEND, In. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- It took Sam Brunelle five games to make a little bit of Notre Dame women's basketball history.

With a game-high 19 points in Wednesday night's 54-51 win against Toledo, Brunelle became the first player in program history to score in double figures in each of her first five games. Brunelle also led the Irish with 13 rebounds, for her first career college double-double.

A three-time all-state selection at William Monroe High School -- and the reigning CBS19 Female Student-Athlete of the Year -- Brunelle's strong start to her college career has come, as she is still admittedly getting adjusted to the game at the Division I level.

"I'm just in the game and I don't really think about my fatigue," Brunelle said following Wednesday's win. "I guess the only time I feel it is probably when we stop, because then I'm stopping. But when we're playing, I'm just worried about, 'Let's score. Let's play defense.' Stuff like that."

Brunelle has started all five games for the 3-2 Irish, who fell out of the Associated Press Top 25 this week after back-to-back losses at home against Tennessee and Michigan State. Brunelle had 16 points against the Volunteers and then 19 against the Spartans -- setting new career highs in both games -- before her 19-point night on Wednesday. Her 13 rebounds against Toledo were also a career best.

For the season, Brunelle is second on Notre Dame in both scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg), while fourth on the team in minutes (33.8 mpg). But after Wednesday's victory, Brunelle was most focused on helping the Irish get back into the win column.

"But moving forward, we still have so much work to do," she said. "The sky is the limit. We can be as good as we want to be. In practice, we have such great moments. And if we can just take those into the game and do that more consistently, we're going to be a good team."