Nov 30, 2002
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Last season, Notre Dame waited more than six weeks to earn its first road victory. This season, the No. 10 Fighting Irish got it on their first try.
Alicia Ratay scored 17 points while Jacqueline Batteast added 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead Notre Dame to a 69-57 victory over USC on Friday night at the Sports Arena.
“That was a great win against a very good team,” Irish coach Muffett McGraw said. “They’re an NCAA Tournament (caliber) team.”
Notre Dame (2-0) didn’t win its first road game last season until Jan. 2, when the Irish defeated Miami 69-65.
“We were sloppy right off the bat, and it took us a long time to get in our rhythm,” McGraw said. “I was very pleased we pulled it out.”
Katy Flecky added 13 points for Notre Dame, which shot 55 percent from the field but committed 29 turnovers, 16 in the first half.
“That was a great win against a very good team.”Irish coach Muffett McGraw
Rachel Woodward led the Trojans (3-2) with a career-high 22 points.
USC held a 37-34 halftime lead but collapsed in the second half. The Trojans made only one basket in the first 7:45 of the second half, as Notre Dame took a 46-41 lead with 12:44 to play.
The Trojans cut the lead to 46-45, but the Irish pulled ahead to 61-51 with 4:55 to play on Ratay’s 3-point basket.
“That was the turning point of the game,” McGraw said. “We just felt like there was enough of a cushion.”
The Trojans shot 28 percent from the floor in the second half.
“Our effort in the second half wasn’t good at all,” said USC coach Chris Gobrecht, whose team has only one senior. “We had some mindless turnovers and just played scared the whole second half.”
The Trojans took an 11-2 lead 2:47 into the game. Woodward made her first four shots to score nine points, and Notre Dame committed four turnovers in the first 2:26.
But the Irish responded with a 13-2 run to move ahead 15-13. The teams exchanged the lead six times in the first half.