Junior guard Natalie Novosel scored 15 points in Saturday's 82-50 win at Pittsburgh.

No. 17 Notre Dame Overpowers Valparaiso, 94-43

Dec. 20, 2010

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VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) – Natalie Novosel scored 18 points while Natalie Achonwa and Brittany Mallory added 12 apiece to help No. 17 Notre Dame easily beat Valparaiso 94-43 on Monday night.

Notre Dame (9-3) had 24 steals and led by as many as 50 in the second half.

The Irish, who have a tradition of slow starts against the Crusaders, jumped out to a 10-2 lead at the first media time out and never looked back.

They built the lead to 34-11 with 6:45 left in the first half before subbing liberally.

Novosel and Mallory had 10 points each at halftime for Notre Dame, which also recorded 14 steals and four blocked shots at the intermission.

The second half was more of the same as the Irish built their lead to over 50 with five minutes to go.

Stefanie Lang scored 11 points to lead the Crusaders (2-9).

— ND —

POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame posts its fourth 50-point win this season, and sixth by at least 35 points (both school records) … the 51-point margin tied for the third-largest road win in school history, and largest since Nov. 20, 2007 (94-41 at Central Michigan) … the Fighting Irish also top the 90-point mark for the sixth time this year, one shy of the school record set three times (1996-97, 1998-99 and 2007-08) … Notre Dame earns its 23rd consecutive win when coming out of its December final exam break, a run that started following a 73-67 home loss to UCLA on Dec. 21, 1985 (two seasons before Muffet McGraw took over as the Fighting Irish head coach – no games played between exams and Christmas in 1994 and 1997) … the last two seasons, the Fighting Irish have won their first game after finals by at least 50 points (90-31 over Charlotte exactly one year earlier at Purcell Pavilion) … Notre Dame earns its 15th consecutive win heading into the Christmas holiday break and rises to 25-9 (.735) all-time in pre-Yuletide contests (last loss: 87-83 at Michigan State on Dec. 21, 1995, the program’s first in the BIG EAST Conference) … the Fighting Irish register their 36th consecutive victory against a current Horizon League member (second this season after an 85-54 win over Butler on Nov. 28 at Purcell Pavilion), a streak that began after a 65-62 home loss to Butler on Jan. 22, 1994; Notre Dame is 107-14 (.884) all-time against current Horizon League teams, including a 45-9 (.833) mark on the road … the Fighting Irish have won 16 consecutive games against other Indiana schools, improving to 121-32 (.791) all-time against in-state opponents, with a 61-21 (.744) record outside of South Bend — Notre Dame went 4-0 against Indiana schools this season, also defeating IUPUI (95-29), Butler (85-54) and Purdue (72-51) … the Fighting Irish move to 24-0 all-time against Valparaiso, with an 11-0 series record on the road … Monday’s 51-point margin is the second-largest in Notre Dame’s 24-game series with Valparaiso, topped only by an 84-27 Fighting Irish win over the Crusaders on Jan. 21, 1982, in Valparaiso … Notre Dame has held Valparaiso to fewer than 60 points in 22 of 24 series games … the Fighting Irish recorded at least 20 steals for the fourth time this season, notching at least 24 steals for the third time (Notre Dame had just seven 23-steal games in the program’s first 33 years of existence) … the Fighting Irish shot at least 50 percent from the field for the fourth consecutive game and seventh time in the past eight outings (season-low .387 at second-ranked Baylor on Dec. 1) … Notre Dame posted a season-high +21 rebound margin (44-23, including 18 offensive rebounds), its largest advantage on the glass since Jan. 6, 2009, at DePaul (50-29, +21) … the Fighting Irish dished out at least 20 assists for the eighth time this year … senior guard Brittany Mallory scored a season-high 12 points and matched her season best with five steals … junior guard Fraderica Miller scored a season-high eight points and tied her career high with five steals … for the second consecutive game, a Notre Dame player came close to a perfect shooting night — junior guard Natalie Novosel had a game-high 18 points (6-7 FG, 6-6 FT) after freshman forward Natalie Achonwa scored a career-best 14 points (7-8 FG) in the Dec. 11 win over Creighton at Purcell Pavilion … senior forward Devereaux Peters recorded a season-high four blocked shots … sophomore guard Skylar Diggins handed out a game-high five assists, the seventh time this season she has had 5+ assists in a game … Notre Dame posted the 698th win in school history (698-305, .696), creeping closer to becoming the 31st NCAA Division I program to reach the 700-win milestone — Middle Tennessee also picked up victory No. 698 on Monday (58-53 vs. St. Bonaventure in San Antonio) and will play Kansas State Tuesday (also in San Antonio) before breaking for the holidays.