Feb. 12, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior guard Alicia Ratay scored 19 points to lead four Notre Dame players in double figures, as the Irish led from tip to buzzer in a 76-48 BIG EAST Conference win over St. John’s Wednesday night at the Joyce Center. It is the third victory in the last four games for Notre Dame and marks the 13th consecutive win for the Irish over the Red Storm.
Ratay also collected a game-high seven rebounds and a season-best four steals while passing the 1,600-point mark for her career. In addition, she made her 119th career start (and 61st in a row), breaking a tie with Mollie Peirick for second place on Notre Dame’s career charts. Ruth Riley holds the school record with 124 career starts from 1997-2001.
Sophomore forward Jacqueline Batteast turned in another workmanlike performance, knocking down seven of her nine shots to finish with 16 points. She also pulled down a game-best seven rebounds. Freshman forward Courtney LaVere added 13 points, including her first career three-point basket, and sophomore center Teresa Borton dumped in 12 points, highlighted by her career-best 6-for-6 effort at the free throw line.
Shemika Stevens scored a game-high 20 points for St. John’s, which lost for the fifth time in the last six games. Patrycja Gulak came off the bench to contribute 10 points and a team-high six rebounds for the Red Storm. SJU was playing without leading scorer Danielle Rainey, who was declared ineligible by the school earlier in the day.
Notre Dame (14-8, 6-5 BIG EAST) wasted little time in moving ahead, as Borton found Batteast for the game’s opening bucket with just 13 seconds gone. St. John’s got as close as 4-3 in the first two minutes, but layups by Borton and Batteast thwarted the Red Storm’s initial surge. A pair of free throws by Borton bumped the Irish lead into double digits for the first time at 18-7 with 9:19 remaining in the first half. SJU cut the lead back to eight, but Notre Dame responded with a 9-2 run late in the period and took a 35-20 lead to the dressing room.
The Irish then scored the first eight points of the second half to move their lead over the 20-point mark. St. John’s (8-15, 2-10) could get back inside of 20 points only twice in the last 20 minutes, pulling within 17 on two free throws by Stevens at the 16:32 mark. Meanwhile, Notre Dame steadily pulled away, taking its largest lead of the night (28 points) four times in the stanza, including the final margin.
The Irish shot 53.1 percent (26-49) from the field in the game, marking the ninth time this season they have topped the 50-percent barrier. They also came out ahead in the rebounding column by a 33-29 count, moving to 12-1 this year when they win the battle on the boards. In addition, the Irish held their opponent under 60 points for the fourth time in the last six games, and under 35 percent shooting for the fifth time in six games (and fourth in a row).
Notre Dame next will play on Sunday afternoon when it pays a visit to Providence for a matchup with the Friars. Tipoff time from Alumni Hall is set for 2 p.m. (EST).
— ND —