Becca Bruszewski

No. 3 Irish Cruise Past IPFW, 96-60

Dec. 8, 2009

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was probably the only thing that kept Becca Bruszewski from having a career night.

After scoring 14 points in the first half and matching her career high with four steals, Bruszewski played only seven minutes in the second to finish with 18 points and five assists as the No. 3 Fighting Irish cruised to a 96-60 victory over IPFW on Tuesday night.

Bruszewski, whose career high for points is 20, had been slowed by fouls in recent games.

“Without foul trouble, that’s what Becca’s going to do for us every game. I think she’s been doing that for us every game, just in smaller pieces because of the foul trouble,” McGraw said. “It’s probably frustrating for her we subbed so early because she was playing so well.”

Bruszewski said she played smarter.

“I guess just getting around in the post without touching them at all, because that’s what I struggled with,” she said.

Lindsay Schrader added 14 points and eight rebounds as the Irish (8-0) dominated inside, outscoring the Mastodons (2-5) 62-12 in the paint and outrebounding them 39-27. IPFW’s leading scorer Stephanie Rosado (14.7 points a game) was 1-of-12 shooting for eight points and Eva Inova (10 ppg) was 0 of 3.

“Our two posts go 1 for 15, it’s going to be tough for us to win a basketball game,” IPFW coach Chris Paul said.

Anne Boese, making her first start, had a career-high 24 points for the Mastodons on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. She said the Notre Dame defense was tough.

“Once somebody got the ball it was a matter of split seconds before they all swarmed us,” she said. “It was tough to get open shots.”

The Irish, playing with their highest ranking in five seasons, are off to their best start since going 23-0 and winning the national championship in 2000-01.

— ND —

POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame is off to an 8-0 start for the second time in school history, following a 23-0 debut in 2000-01, the season in which the Fighting Irish won their first national championship … Notre Dame had opened 7-0 two other times in the past six seasons, but lost its eighth game in overtime to a Michigan school in both 2004-05 (82-73 vs. #15 Michigan State) and 2008-09 (63-59 at Michigan) … the Fighting Irish are 4-0 all-time against IPFW, and 7-0 all-time against the current Summit League alignment (not including recently-announced addition South Dakota, which won’t begin league play until 2011-12) … IPFW was the first of three in-state opponents for Notre Dame, with the Fighting Irish moving to 115-32 (.782) all-time against Indiana schools and 56-11 (.836) at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame also has won 10 consecutive games against in-state opponents (six in a row at home) since a 54-51 loss at home to Indiana on Dec. 3, 2006 … the Fighting Irish posted their third 35-point win of the season, having similarly defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff (102-57) and Iona (80-45) … for the third time in four home games this season, Notre Dame forced at least 30 opponent turnovers … the Fighting Irish also have caused at least 20 opponent turnovers in all eight games this season … Notre Dame nabbed a season-high 22 steals, one shy of its high-water mark in its BIG EAST Conference era (1995-96 to present) — the Fighting Irish had 23 thefts vs. Providence on Jan. 30, 2008 at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame shot a season-best .578 from the floor, its highest field goal percentage since Nov. 23, 2008, when the Fighting Irish connected at a blistering .646 clip in a 102-54 win at Boston College … Notre Dame also posted a season-high .545 three-point percentage, its sharpest shooting effort from distance since going 7-for-8 (.875) outside the arc in the aforementioned win at BC … the Fighting Irish scored 55 second-half points, their best total in the final 20 minutes since Jan. 19, 2008, when they chalked up 56 second-half points in a 104-86 win at Georgetown … junior forward Becca Bruszewski dished out a career-high five assists (previous: four on four occasions, the last on March 22, 2009 vs. Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion) and tied her personal best with four steals (which she originally set on Nov. 19, 2008 in a win over Evansville at home); she also finished two points shy of her career scoring high, set twice (the last against Syracuse at home on Feb. 24, 2009) … sophomore guard Natalie Novosel came off the bench to tie her season high with 10 points … senior center Erica Williamson dropped in a season-best 11 points and added a season-high three blocks in 13 minutes as a reserve … freshman guard Kaila Turner notched a season-best five points (including her first career three-pointer) and three assists … senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow moved into 18th place on the Notre Dame career scoring list with 1,198 points, passing Krissi Davis (1,194 from 1987-91) … Barlow also took over sole possession of sixth place on the school’s career steals list with 223 thefts, passing Megan Duffy (220 from 2002-06) … fifth-year senior guard/tri-captain Lindsay Schrader jumped into a tie for 20th place on the Fighting Irish all-time scoring chart with former teammate Courtney LaVere (2002-06), with both players tallying 1,150 points under the Golden Dome … sophomore guard Fraderica Miller tied her career highs with two assists (fourth time she’s set that mark) and one block (second time, having also done so vs. South Carolina on Nov. 27, 2009), and her six rebounds were one off her career best set in this year’s opener on Nov. 15 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame earned free Big Macs for the 7,776 fans in attendance on Tuesday after reaching the 88-point mark for the third time in five home games this season (counting the Nov. 3 Indianapolis exhibition) … it was the 15th Big Mac game in the promotion’s third year of existence, with Williamson putting the Fighting Irish over the top on her layup with 2:23 to play; it was the veteran’s second career “burger ball” after she did the honors in the first-ever Big Mac game on Nov. 1, 2007, in an exhibition win over Southern Indiana.