Dec. 2, 2007
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame’s depth was too much for Michigan to handle.
The 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish, led by 19 points from Charel Allen and 15 from Tulyah Gaines, used a pressing defense to gain control Sunday and cruised to a 77-46 victory, the fourth straight win of 30 points or more by the Fighting Irish.
As in past games, the Notre Dame defense generated much of the offense, as the Irish (6-1) scored 22 points off 22 turnovers by Michigan.
“Rebound and run is our focus every game,” Gaines said. “We saw they weren’t getting out as quick as they’d probably like to, so we kept pushing it.”
The Irish held Michigan (4-3) to 27 percent shooting and only two Michigan players had baskets from the floor until midway through the second half. It was Michigan’s third loss by more than 20 points in its last four games.
Rebound and run is our focus every game. We saw they weren’t getting out as quick as they’d probably like to, so we kept pushing it.Tulyah Gaines
“I feel like a wounded fish in shark infested waters. That’s kind of where we are right now,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “People are coming after us, it’s evident by the number of free throws we’re shooting. People are saying, ‘You know what, they’re a piece of cake. We’re going to come after them and just bury them.’ That’s how I feel at this point.”
The Irish had 10 players with 10 or more minutes of playing time and no starter played more than 28 minutes. Michigan used only eight players and four of the five starters played 31 minutes or more. The only starter who didn’t was Krista Phillips, the leading scorer at 10.5 points a game, who played just 16 minutes because of foul trouble.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said Notre Dame’s depth is key.
“It makes them play harder when they’re in there knowing they play five or six minutes at a stretch and then come out and get a rest,” she said.
The Irish took control early with a 21-5 run and put the game away in the second half with a 22-5 run. Borseth said the problems were more his team’s struggles than Notre Dame’s defense.
“We didn’t do a good job of moving the way we wanted to be able to move, the way we practice to move,” he said.
The Irish fell 593 tickets shy of their fourth sellout in school history, although it appeared some of the 10,825 people who bought tickets stayed home because of the bad weather. Two of those sellouts came during the 2001 national championship season against No. 1 Connecticut and Georgetown. The other was against No. 1 Tennessee on Dec. 31, 2005.
McGraw said the crowd gave her team a boost.
“I thought it was a huge factor,” she said. “The fans make us go.”
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame posted its fourth consecutive 30-point win, matching its string from Jan. 20-30, 1999 … the Irish have allowed more than 60 points in a game just once this season, and have held three of their last four opponents (and four of seven this year) to 50 points or less … Notre Dame just missed having five double-digit scorers for the fourth consecutive game; however, the Irish have had at least three score in double figures in all seven contests and at least four do so on four occasions … Notre Dame registered double-digit steals for the fourth consecutive game and fifth time this year … the Irish have been shooting lights out in their last four games, topping 50 percent in three of those outings and posting a combined .516 (142-of-275) from the floor … the Irish also logged a positive assist-to-turnover ratio for the sixth time in seven games this year and raised their season A/TO ratio to 1.52 (129 assists, 85 turnovers) … Notre Dame matches its longest series winning streak against Michigan (three) and has taken five of the past six against the Wolverines, opening up a 9-6 series lead on UM … Sunday’s 31-point margin just missed being the largest for the Irish in the series, topped only by an 88-54 victory on March 19, 2001 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Joyce Center … Notre Dame also picks up its eighth win in the past 12 games against the Big Ten Conference … the Irish held Michigan to an opponent season-low 18 points in a half (previous low was 19 by Central Michigan in the first half on Nov. 20) … in its six victories this season, Notre Dame has not trailed by more than three points at any time, with Sunday’s early 5-2 deficit vs. Michigan (18:10, 1st half) representing the furthest the Irish have trailed in a win … senior guards Charel Allen and Tulyah Gaines registered season-high point totals (19 for Allen, 15 for Gaines) … Allen is shooting 15-for-21 (.714) from the floor in the past two games … Allen also moved into a tie for 18th place on the Irish career scoring list with 1,150 points, pulling even with former teammate Courtney LaVere (2002-06) … Gaines is connecting at a .727 clip (16-of-22) from the field in her last four games, and knocked down her second career three-pointer vs. Michigan … senior walk-on guard Amanda Tsipis canned her first career triple against the Wolverines … Sunday’s Joyce Center crowd of 10,825 was the fourth-largest in program history, as well as the fourth of 10,000+ fans in school annals.