Notre Dame's Whitney Holloway heads towards the basket.

No. 3 Notre Dame Blasts Penn 69-38

Dec. 2, 2011

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)Devereaux Peters scored 16 points and Natalie Novosel added 14 to lead third-ranked Notre Dame to a 69-38 win over Penn on Friday night. Head coach Muffet McGraw still strives to improve their performance.

“We had a lack of energy tonight,” said McGraw, whose Fighting Irish improve to 6-1. “I gave them too much time off this week and that was a big mistake on my part. We had a lack of scoring and were not making our shots.”

Kayla McBride chipped in with 10 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame, which jumped out to a 14-3 lead and pressured the Quakers into 23 turnovers, including 15 on steals.

“Kayla has tremendous upside potential,” McGraw said. “She just needs game experience.”

Kara Bonenberger had nine points and seven rebounds to lead Penn (4-2). Leading scorer Alyssa Baron, who came in averaging better than 20 points, was held to seven.

Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said Notre Dame’s quickness was difficult for his team to handle.

“First, you can’t really recreate that in practice very well and then we didn’t really have much time to practice since we played on Wednesday and got on the plane to come here on Thursday,” he said. “Alyssa is required to do so much for us but when you rely so much on one player, you will get some days where she goes 3 for 15 from the field.”

Notre Dame outrebounded Penn 49-34.

“Rebounding was a point of emphasis for us,” McGraw said. “I was disappointed. With the bad habits, one or two practices isn’t going to change that, but I thought at least it would make an impression. I thought there were times when it really looked like we were trying to box out and I think we got a little better at the beginning of the second half.”

Peters scored eight points and Novosel had the other six during Notre Dame’s opening 14-3 run, while the Quakers made only one of their first ten shots. The Irish broke off a 14-0 run later in the first half for a 32-7 lead with 6:32 to go before halftime.

“I think Natalie came out well,” McGraw said. “She was really ready to play and just took over offensively and then she found Dev a couple of times and I thought Dev had a really good game, too, with no fouls. Those two pretty much carried us.”

Notre Dame opened the second half on a 16-8 run to put the game out of reach.

— ND —

POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame posts its third 30-point win of the season, while holding an opponent to fewer than 40 points for the second time this year … the Fighting Irish held Penn to 15 first-half points, marking the fifth time in 14 halves this year that Notre Dame has limited an opponent to 20 points or fewer in a single half … for the second time this season, the Fighting Irish did not allow an opposing player to score in double figures, having also pulled off that feat on Nov. 17 in a 98-43 win over Hartford in the Preseason WNIT semifinals at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame chalked up double-digit steals for the fifth time in seven games this season, nabbing 15 or more thefts for the fourth time … the Fighting Irish grabbed a season-high 49 rebounds and ended up with a season-best +15 rebounding margin … Notre Dame also held Penn to an opponent season-low .288 field goal percentage (previous was .306 by Indiana State on Nov. 13 in the Preseason WNIT quarterfinals at Purcell Pavilion) … the Fighting Irish were charged with only 12 turnovers, the fifth time in seven games this year they have had 14 giveaways or fewer, including each of the past three contests (season-low is 11 turnovers on Nov. 13 vs. Indiana State, as well as Nov. 25 vs. USC) … Notre Dame is 2-0 all-time against Penn, having faced the Quakers for the first time since Dec. 18, 1981 (a break of 29 years, 11 months and 14 days — the longest hiatus between series games in the 35-year history of Fighting Irish women’s basketball) … Penn also was the first Ivy League school ever to play at Purcell Pavilion, while Friday’s game was just the third all-time for Notre Dame against an Ivy League opponent (the Fighting Irish are 3-0) … Notre Dame improves to 27-18 (.600) all-time against Philadelphia Big Five schools, with a 13-4 (.765) record at home … sophomore guard Kayla McBride snared a career-high nine rebounds, two more than her previous best set earlier this year against Akron (Nov. 11 at Purcell Pavilion); McBride also finished one rebound shy of her first career double-double … junior guard Kaila Turner added a personal-high five rebounds after having registered four rebounds on four occasions, the last on Feb. 22, 2011, at West Virginia … junior guard Skylar Diggins chalked up her first “5-5-5” game of the season (and 19th of her career) with eight points and game-highs of five assists and five steals … Diggins also topped the 1,200-point mark for her career (now at 1,202) and moved into a tie with Heidi Bunek (1985-89) for 19th place on the Fighting Irish all-time scoring list; in the process, Diggins broke out of a tie with Krissi Davis for 20th place (1,194 from 1987-91) … Notre Dame rises to 221-18 (.925) since the start of the 2000-01 season when it leads at the half, including wins in 149 of its last 161 such games and a 58-1 (.983) mark in the past three seasons (2009-10 to present) … since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96, the Fighting Irish are 236-15 (.940) when holding their opponents to fewer than 60 points in a game … head coach Muffet McGraw won the 650th game of her coaching career, improving to 650-253 (.720) in 30 seasons on the sidelines, including a 562-212 (.726) record in 25 years at Notre Dame.