Dec. 13, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team evened its record at 4-4 on the season with a convincing 78-41 win over Dayton on Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 6,059 fans at the Joyce Center. It was the eighth consecutive home win for the Irish and their 43rd non-conference home victory in the last 45 outings, dating back to the 1993-94 season. The 37-point margin was the largest in the 27-game series between Notre Dame and Dayton, and the 41 points scored by the Flyers were the fewest they have ever logged against the Irish.
Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) led a season-high four Notre Dame players in double figures with 13 points and a season-best six assists. Junior center Teresa Borton (Yakima, Wash./West Valley HS) added a season-high 13 points, knocking down six of seven shots from the floor, and freshman forward Crystal Erwin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./St. Paul HS) turned in the best performance of her rookie campaign thus far, tallying 13 points and going seven of eight at the foul line (she was three for 11 at the charity stripe entering the contest). Senior guard Monique Hernandez (Rio Rancho, N.M./Cibola HS) also cracked double digits, matching her career high with 10 points.
Saturday’s game was never in doubt as the Irish raced out to a 26-0 lead midway through the first half. Notre Dame connected on 10 of its first 16 shots from the field, while Dayton misfired on its first 11 field goal attempts and turned the ball seven times in that stretch. After a 10:24 dry spell to begin the game, the Flyers got on the scoreboard when Cyndi Stull made two free throws. UD added its first (and only) basket of the opening period when Angela Cape hit a driving layup at the 8:59 mark.
Notre Dame steadily applied pressure and built its lead up to 44-6 on a Hernandez jumper with 4:37 remaining in the period. The Flyers wound up making nine of 13 free throws in the first half, but still trailed 47-11 at the break. It was the second-lowest point total for one half by an Irish opponent in school history, topped only by Georgetown’s 10-point effort in the first 20 minutes of its BIG EAST Championship quarterfinal on March 4, 2001, in Storrs, Conn. Dayton ended up shooting just five percent (one for 20) in the first half and turned the ball 18 times.
In the second half, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw emptied her bench, playing her reserves liberally and often sending out all three Irish freshmen and senior walk-on guard Anne Weese (Salina, Kan./Sacred Heart HS). Against the Notre Dame bench, Dayton held its own for the first eight minutes, holding the margin at 37 points and forcing seven consecutive turnovers at one stretch. However, the Irish steadied themselves and went on an 18-5 run over the next seven minutes, taking their largest lead of the day at 75-25 on Borton’s layup with 5:32 remaining. Dayton regained all of those points in the waning moments, ending the game on a 16-3 run that included all four of the Flyers’ three-pointers in the contest.
Notre Dame will take the next week off for final exams before returning to action Monday, Dec. 22 when it plays host to USC at 1 p.m. (ET) at the Joyce Center.
— ND —