Nov. 6, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Behind a game-high 16 points from junior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne), the 11th-ranked Notre Dame women’s basketball team led virtually all the way in an 80-61 exhibition victory over the Hoosier Lady Stars on Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 4,942 fans at the Joyce Center. The Irish extended their exhibition winning streak to 17 games and are now 22-1 (.957) in the preseason dating back to the 1993-94 campaign.
Duffy made five of her seven shots from the floor, including four of five from behind the three-point line. However, hers was just one in an exceptionally-balanced offensive performance for Notre Dame, which had seven different players score at least seven points in the game. In addition, the Irish had 10 different players crack the scoring column in the first half alone, with all five starters scoring before three minutes were gone in the contest.
Junior forward Courtney LaVere (Ventura, Calif./Buena) scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half, while senior All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington) chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds. The Notre Dame freshmen also made solid contributions once again — center Melissa D’Amico (Manorville, N.Y./William Floyd) collected nine points and a game-high seven rebounds, while guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) had eight points and four steals.
Another sign of Notre Dame’s strong balance was its 26 assists on 32 field goals. The Irish finished with a .471 field goal percentage and made seven of 16 three-point attempts (.438). In addition, Notre Dame held a 50-39 rebounding edge and limited the visitors to just 31.7 percent shooting.
However, it was not all rosy for the Irish, who committed 21 turnovers and shot only 52.9 percent from the foul line. Head coach Muffet McGraw noted that it’s numbers like those that will give her team much to work on in the next week.
“I don’t think any of us are pleased with the numbers of turnovers we had today,” McGraw said. “I’m sure when we go back and look at the film, we’ll notice some little adjustments that we need to make in order to be successful. That’s what our focus will be in the next week as we get ready for Illinois State.”
Former Penn State standout Lisa Shepherd was the only player in double figures for the Hoosier Lady Stars, finishing with 10 points. The Lady Stars are an Indianapolis-based exhibition club that features players who either attended Indiana colleges or are natives of the Hoosier State.
Notre Dame wasted little time in jumping ahead on Saturday, as Batteast canned a three-pointer from the left corner just 12 seconds into the contest. The Lady Stars came back and took their only lead of the game at 8-7 when Monica Maxwell knocked down a trey with two minutes gone. A layup by LaVere 15 seconds later put the Irish back in front for good, although the Lady Stars doggedly hung with the hosts for the better part of the first half.
Leading by five midway through the first half, Notre Dame put on the first of several scoring runs, going on a 9-2 surge to take a 33-21 lead at the 4:18 mark. D’Amico had four points in the mini-run, which was punctuated by a three-pointer from sophomore guard Susie Powers (Centennial, Colo./Highlands Ranch). After the Lady Stars got back within nine, the Irish went on a 17-6 run that crossed over halftime and put them ahead 52-32 four minutes into the second half.
From that point on, Notre Dame never led by less than 14 points, taking its largest lead of the day at 79-56 on a fastbreak layup by Allen with 4:05 to play.
Notre Dame will open the 2004-05 regular season on Friday, Nov. 12, when it plays host to Illinois State in the first round of the Sportsview.tv Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) at the Joyce Center. Tipoff time is set for 9 p.m. (ET).
— ND —