Feb. 14, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After not topping the 70-point mark in nine consecutive games, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team snapped out of its offensive doldrums with an 81-51 win over Providence Saturday night before a season-high crowd of 8,760 at the Joyce Center, the seventh-largest audience in school history. The Irish also extended their home winning streak to 16 games, the second longest in school annals, and moved to within one-half game of second-place West Virginia in the BIG EAST Conference standings.
Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) turned in another productive night, registering her eighth double-double of the year with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in only 22 minutes of court time. Senior guard Jeneka Joyce (Topeka, Kan./Washburn Rural HS) complemented Batteast from the perimeter, tying her career high with 14 points, all in the first half, and matching her personal best by canning four of eight three-point attempts.
Sophomore forward Courtney LaVere (Ventura, Calif./Buena HS) chipped in with 12 points off the bench, while junior center Teresa Borton (Yakima, Wash./West Valley HS) made all four of her shots from the field and wound up with 11 points. Sophomore guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS) mixed an effective floor game with timely offensive production, notching 11 points (4-5 FG, 3-3 3FG) and a game-high six assists with only one turnover.
As a team, Notre Dame shot 54.1 percent from the floor (33 of 61), including 50 percent (7 of 14) from three-point range. The five Irish players in double figures were a season best, as were their 27 assists, the most in a single game by Notre Dame since Nov. 20, 2000 (31 vs. Arizona). In addition, the Irish took very good care of the basketball, committing only 11 turnovers, and they dominated the glass to the tune of a 46-28 margin.
Brooke Freeburg led all scorers with a career-high 18 points for Providence, which saw its losing streak stretched to a school-record 11 games. The Friars’ leading scorer and rebounder, Gayle Nwafili, was held largely in check by the Irish defense, piling up nine points and five rebounds. PC’s 51-point output also marked the seventh consecutive game in which Notre Dame has held an opponent to 52 points or less, extending its school record.
The Irish (15-8, 8-3 BIG EAST) led virtually the entire way, spotting Providence the opening basket before scoring 10 of the next 11 points. The Friars hung tough and trimmed their deficit to a point on two occasions, the last at 16-15 on a jumper in the lane by Jill Furstenburg with 7:13 left in the first half. That’s when Joyce single-handedly tipped the scales in Notre Dame’s favor, scoring all 14 of her points in a 22-11 Irish run to end the half, hitting four three-pointers in the process.
Notre Dame put the game on ice early in the second half, going on a 15-6 run and boosting the lead over 20 points on a three-pointer by Duffy with 15:15 remaining. Providence (4-18, 0-11) would get no closer the rest of the way as the Irish steadily pulled away, opening up a game-high 32-point lead on a layup by freshman forward Crystal Erwin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./St. Paul HS) with 50 seconds to play.
The Irish won’t have much time to rest as they head back out on the road Tuesday for a 7 p.m. (ET) game at St. John’s. The Red Storm (9-13, 3-8) have not played since Feb. 10, when they dropped an 85-74 decision at Miami.
— ND —