Natalie Novosel led the Irish with 19 points. (File Photo)

#17 Irish Come Up Short Against Rutgers, 78-68

Jan. 27, 2009

Box Score Get Acrobat Reader | Box Score | Quotes

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)–Brittany Ray scored a career-high 26 points, Epiphanny Prince added 24 and Rutgers beat No. 17/13 Notre Dame 78-68 Tuesday night.

Rutgers (12-6, 4-3 BIG EAST), which on Monday fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since Dec. 3, 2007, rebounded with just its third win in eight road games this season.

The Irish (15-4, 4-3) lost for the third time in four games.

Both teams struggled to get going. Rutgers missed its first seven shots, made five straight, then missed 11 in a row.

The Irish started even worse, missing their first 12 shots as they fell behind 17-4 before finally making their first basket, a layup by Natalie Novosel nearly 10 minutes into the game.

Novosel led the Irish with 19 points and Ashley Barlow scored 18.

— ND —

POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame loses consecutive games for the first time this season … the Irish see their 12-game home winning streak snapped, losing at the Joyce Center for the first time in exactly one year (81-64 to top-ranked Connecticut on Jan. 27, 2008) … Rutgers earns its fifth consecutive victory over the Irish, extending the longest winning streak by either side in the series … the Scarlet Knights now hold a 16-9 series lead on Notre Dame, with the Irish maintaining a 5-4 edge at the Joyce Center … RU’s 78 points were the most scored by either side in a regulation series game since Dec. 3, 1997, when Rutgers posted an 80-67 win in Piscataway … Notre Dame registered its highest point total against the Scarlet Knights in a regulation game since March 2, 1997, when the Irish downed RU, 86-58 in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at Storrs, Conn. … Rutgers’ 48 rebounds matched an opponent season high originally established by #24 Michigan State on Nov. 29 in a 78-72 Irish win at the Joyce Center … RU guard Epiphanny Prince set a Joyce Center opponent record by going 12-for-12 at the foul line, eclipsing the old mark of 10-for-10 set by Connecticut’s Nykesha Sales on Feb. 21, 1998 … freshman guard Natalie Novosel scored a season- (and career-) high 19 points, one more than her output in wins at Eastern Michigan (Dec. 2) and DePaul (Jan. 6) … the attendance of 10,082 was the eighth-largest crowd in school history and second crowd of 10,000+ fans this season (a sellout crowd of 11,418 saw the Irish topple #17/20 Purdue, 62-51 on Dec. 7); it also was the largest weeknight crowd in school history, easily surpassing the old standard of 8,574 who saw Notre Dame defeat fourth-ranked Connecticut, 66-51, on Jan. 13, 2004 … the top 20 crowds in school history all have been set in the past nine seasons (2000-01 to present), including six sellouts and eight crowds of 10,000 fans or more … the Irish wore special white uniforms trimmed with pink in honor of the late North Carolina State head coach Kay Yow, who passed away on Jan. 24 following a courageous two-decade battle with breast cancer; the Irish will wear the pink uniforms again on Feb. 8 for their home game against DePaul, which has been designated as Notre Dame’s “Pink Zone” game, as part of an initiative by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to raise awareness and help raise money in the fight against breast cancer.