Nov. 12, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Devereaux Peters had a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds in only 14 minutes, and No. 12 Notre Dame opened the season by cruising past New Hampshire 99-48 in a record-setting rout Friday.
On a day when Notre Dame honored former star Ruth Riley, retiring her 00 jersey, the Fighting Irish set school records by making 36 steals and forcing 48 turnovers.
Skylar Diggins, a sophomore guard from South Bend, paced the Irish on both ends of the floor as Notre Dame went to a tenacious full-court press early against the overmatched Wildcats.
Notre Dame was up by 16 less than 8 minutes in and held New Hampshire scoreless for 9:44 during a 28-0 run. Leading 47-9 with 3:41 left in the first half, the Irish called off the full-court pressure, but not after they had forced 26 Wildcats turnovers.
“I thought we got off to a great start,” said Muffet McGraw, who began her 28th season as Notre Dame coach. “I thought that our defense was where we wanted it to be in the first half. I thought the press was good, the pressure was good. I was really pleased with everything in the first half.”
Notre Dame was ahead 53-12 at halftime. Peters outscored New Hampshire by herself in the first half, posting 15 points and five rebounds – all on the offensive end – in 12 minutes.
“I was just excited,” she said. “It’s been four long years of sitting on the bench, so it’s nice to finally get out there and actually contribute.”
The 6-foot-3 Peters has struggled with tendinitis in her knees throughout her career.
“It’s gotten to the point where it’s bearable, so I should be good the rest of the season,” she said.
Not surprisingly, McGraw had high praise for her standout senior.
“Devereaux was just outstanding,” the coach said. “It was just so great to have her back. She did a great job on the boards as well as scoring.”
New Hampshire couldn’t handle Peters’ combination of quickness, touch, strength and sound fundamentals down low. She caused problems for Wildcats post players every minute she was on the floor.
“She was just so active on the boards,” McGraw said. “A couple times she came out of nowhere. We weren’t sure if she was even in the play, and then she had the rebound in her hands.”
During halftime, Notre Dame celebrated the 10th anniversary of its 2001 national championship.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame’s 36 steals shattered the old school record of 29 thefts that was set twice before — Feb. 9, 1985, against Xavier, and most recently on Jan. 31, 1991, at Saint Louis … the Fighting Irish also broke a nearly 30-year-old school record by forcing 49 New Hampshire turnovers — the previous record of 48 was set on Jan. 11, 1980, at the Huskie Invitational in DeKalb, Ill., during Notre Dame’s final season as an AIAW Division III program (the Fighting Irish moved up to Division I for the 1980-81 campaign) … Notre Dame’s 28 consecutive points in the first half were just three shy of the school record for the longest interrupted string of points, with the 31-0 record run occurring on Jan. 18, 1997, at Purcell Pavilion … the Fighting Irish allowed just 12 UNH points in the first half, the fewest given up by Notre Dame in a single period since Dec. 13, 2003, when Dayton tallied just 11 points in a 78-41 Notre Dame win at Purcell Pavilion … the Fighting Irish improve to 26-8 (.765) in season openers, stretching their current winning streak in lidlifters in 16 consecutive games (Notre Dame also is 21-3 in season openers during the 24-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw) … Friday’s 51-point margin is the second-largest winning spread in a season opener in school history, topped only by a program-record 78-point margin of victory (113-35) in the 1989-90 season opener against Liberty (Nov. 24, 1989) at the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando, Fla. … it’s the second consecutive season in which Notre Dame won a game by at least 50 points, following last year’s 90-31 win over Charlotte on Dec. 20, 2009, at Purcell Pavilion … the Fighting Irish now are 26-8 in home openers and 20-4 under McGraw … Notre Dame is 42-5 (.894) against first-time opponents since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96, with a 22-1 (.957) record since the start of the 2000-01 season and an active 17-game winning streak; New Hampshire is the first of seven first-time opponents on Notre Dame’s schedule this season … the Fighting Irish also now have won 20 consecutive home games against new opposition, dating back to Jan. 18, 1996 … Notre Dame moves to 3-0 all-time against the America East Conference, with its last two wins at Purcell Pavilion coming against members of that league (also an 84-66 win over tournament champion Vermont in the second round of last year’s NCAA Championship) … the Fighting Irish jump to 189-17 (.917) when leading at the half since the start of the 2000-01 season, including wins in 117 of their last 128 such contests … Notre Dame now is 209-15 (.933) when holding its opponent to fewer than 60 ponts in a game, dating back to its first year in the BIG EAST (1995-96) … in that same 16-year BIG EAST membership, the Fighting Irish are 141-4 (.972) when they score at least 80 points in a game … Notre Dame has won 86 of its last 93 non-conference games at Purcell Pavilion … Peters’ previous career-high scoring night was 15 points, which she set twice before (most recently on March 1, 2010, against Connecticut at Purcell Pavilion) … Peters also set a career high with 11 made field goals (previous best was six, set on six different occasions, the last against St. John’s in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on March 7, 2010, in Hartford, Conn.) … Peters is the first Notre Dame player to post a “point-a-minute” game with at least 10 minutes played since Dec. 12, 2009, when current senior guard Brittany Mallory tossed in a career-high 22 points in 20 minutes during an 88-47 win over Valparaiso at Purcell Pavilion … junior guard Natalie Novosel swiped a career-high seven steals, topping her previous best of five thefts, set twice before (most recently against Iona on Nov. 22, 2009) … all 13 players on the Notre Dame roster cracked the scoring column, including all three freshmen and both walk-ons, and no Fighting Irish player saw more than 23 minutes of action … for the second consecutive game (counting the 102-30 exhibition win over Michigan Tech on Nov. 3), freshman guard Kayla McBride (a 2010 McDonald’s High School All-American) netted the “Big Mac Basket,” pushing Notre Dame to the 88-point mark and earning coupons for a free Big Mac for all 8,614 fans in attendance.