Nov. 10, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior All-America guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne) scored a game-high 24 points to pace four Notre Dame players in double figures as the 15th-ranked Irish wrapped up exhibition play with a convincing 96-45 victory over NCAA Division II member Ferris State on Thursday night before a crowd of 5,421 at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame now has won 24 of its last 25 exhibition games, including 19 in a row, dating back to the 1993-94 season. Had it been a regular season contest, the 51-point margin of victory would have been the largest for the Irish since a 56-point win over Georgetown (89-33) on March 4, 2001 in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship at Storrs, Conn.
Duffy turned in a superb all-around performance, adding seven rebounds, five assists and a game-best five steals to her 24 points, which she amassed on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point line. Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) complemented Duffy well, finishing with 19 points (8-of-12 FG), four rebounds and four steals in only 22 minutes of action.
Sophomore center Melissa D’Amico (Manorville, N.Y./William Floyd) offered up a second consecutive solid outing with 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Junior forward Crystal Erwin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./St. Paul) came alive in the second half and wound up with 12 points.
As a team, the Irish shot 50.8 percent from the floor (31-of-61), highlighted by a sharp .778 mark (7-of-9) from three-point range. Notre Dame also owned a 45-31 rebounding edge, although the Irish trailed in that category by one at the half. In addition, the Irish defense created 30 FSU turnovers, with 24 of those coming on steals.
“We played a bit better than our first exhibition game, but we still have a lot to work on,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Our offense is working pretty well right now, but we have to do a much better job of defending and rebounding. Those are the things we’ll concentrate most on during the next week as we get ready to open the season.”
Ferris State, which opened its season with Thursday night’s exhibition, was led by junior guard Erin Miller, who scored 14 points in her return to her home area (she hails from Niles, Mich., mere minutes from the Notre Dame campus). Junior forward Audrey Thwing added 10 points for the Bulldogs, who are only one year removed from a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
FSU did not appear intimidated by its surroundings, scoring seven of the game’s first nine points and hitting its first three shots in less than two minutes. However, that would be the largest lead of the night for the Bulldogs, as the Irish reeled off a 26-2 run during the next 8:42 and held Ferris State without a point for nearly eight minutes. Schrader had eight points during the run, which yielded a 28-9 lead for Notre Dame with 9:19 remaining in the first half. The teams then played virtually even for the rest of the period, with the Irish taking a 41-24 lead to the locker room.
Notre Dame left little doubt regarding the game’s outcome with a 15-2 run to open the second half. Ten of the 11 Irish players in uniform found the scoring column, including freshman walk-on forward Christine Trezza (Staten Island, N.Y./Notre Dame Academy HS), who connected on 1-of-2 free throws late in the contest. Notre Dame opened up its largest lead at 96-43 on D’Amico’s jumper in the paint with 1:15 to play. As further evidence of the sturdy Irish defense, Notre Dame did not allow Ferris State to string together more than three consecutive points in the second half, with the only three-point “run” coming on a trey by Kristin Reinhart at the 3:54 mark.
The Irish now turn their attention to the regular-season opener Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. (ET) against Michigan at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame has split 12 previous meetings with the Wolverines, with UM winning their most recent match-up, 78-63 on Dec. 2, 2001 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Michigan opens its 2005-06 season Friday night against No. 21/20 Temple at the Women’s Sports Foundation Challenge in Eugene, Ore.
— ND —