Dec. 10, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame’s pressure defense harassed Purdue into one of its worst offensive performances ever, and the No. 3 Fighting Irish manufactured enough points to roll past the No. 12 Boilermakers 66-38 on Saturday.
It was only the ninth time in school history that Purdue scored fewer than 40 points, and its 24.1 percent shooting was the fifth-worst in school history.
The Fighting Irish forced the Boilermakers into 24 turnovers.
“Defensively, I think we’re about where we need to be,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.
Purdue coach Sharon Versyp had a different take.
“This is the second team that pressed us,” she said. “If I was the opposing team, I’d press us every second. It throws our rhythm off and we panic in the halfcourt when you still have 18 to 15 seconds to run an offense.”
Notre Dame (9-1) has won six straight since losing at No. 1 Baylor 94-81 on Nov. 20.
Courtney Moses scored 14 points and Antionette Howard added 13 for Purdue (7-2), which was coming off a 60-51 win over No. 4 Texas A&M, the defending national champion, on Sunday. Less than a week later, Versyp was talking about lineup changes.
“We were just flat,” she said. “There was no energy, no communication by anybody up here who was sitting next to me. That’s just hard to come by when people aren’t bringing energy that they did on Sunday.”
Brittany Rayburn, Purdue’s leading scorer for the season, was held to four points on 1-for-7 shooting. She was ill and played just 24 minutes. Notre Dame defensive stopper Brittany Mallory handled her assignment.
“She’s incredibly disciplined and determined,” McGraw said. “She fights screens really well. We got some help at times when we needed it, but overall, she just guarded her one-on-one and did a really good job of taking away the three.”
Notre Dame shot 44 percent against Purdue, which had been holding opponents to 31 percent shooting.
“We talked a lot about executing,” Peters said. “We hadn’t been doing that lately. The stuff we talked about in practice, we did in the game. We moved the ball around a lot, from the outside, we looked high-low a lot, and we were getting open shots inside off of that.”
Notre Dame went on an early 17-0 run to take a 25-5 lead, and it could have been even larger had the Fighting Irish not missed several layups on passes by Diggins. Purdue went scoreless for more than seven minutes and missed 13 of its first 15 shots.
“We missed four wide open layups with a little contact,” Versyp said. “You’ve got to finish.”
Notre Dame led 36-17 at halftime. Purdue shot 28 percent, committed 11 turnovers and was outrebounded 29-13 in the first 20 minutes. Peters had 10 points and eight rebounds before the break and Diggins had seven points, five assists and four rebounds. Rayburn, Purdue’s leading scorer, went without a point in the first half.
The Fighting Irish extended their lead in the second half. Notre Dame led 58-30 with 10 minutes to play. Novosel scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to help put the game out of reach. A breakaway layup by Diggins pushed the lead to 30 points.
“We got some transition baskets, we got some steals and we were able to look inside,” McGraw said. “I felt we got really good looks around the basket. We weren’t hitting our threes, so we had to put it on the floor.”
McGraw said it was a good win that could help the Fighting Irish down the road when it comes time for NCAA Tournament seeding, but overall, she wasn’t satisfied.
“We can be a lot better,” she said. “We missed some easy shots. We put them on the line way too many times.”
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame registers its largest win over an Associated Press Top 25 opponent since Feb. 25, 2004, when it downed No. 21/19 Miami (Fla.), 93-58, at Purcell Pavilion … it’s the largest win on the home floor of an AP Top 25 opponent for the Fighting Irish in school history, eclipsing the 83-56 victory at No. 19 Wisconsin on Nov. 22, 2000, in the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge … the 38 points are the fewest Notre Dame has allowed to an AP Top 25 opponent since Jan. 24, 2004, when the Fighting Irish edged No. 23/25 Villanova, 38-36 at Purcell Pavilion … the 38 points also are a school record for fewest points allowed on an AP Top 25 opponent’s home court, erasing a 54-47 win at No. 25/22 Boston College on Feb. 15, 2005 … Notre Dame improves to 11-14 all-time against Purdue and earns its sixth consecutive victory over the Boilermakers, matching the longest winning streak by either side in the 25-game series (Purdue won the first six in the series from 1984-94) … the Fighting Irish held the Boilermakers to 38 points, the fewest by either team in the series (Notre Dame scored 41 points on Dec. 4, 1992, at Purcell Pavilion; Purdue had 48 points on Dec. 8, 2007, at Mackey Arena) … during this current six-game series winning streak, the Fighting Irish have held the Boilermakers to their five lowest point totals in the rivalry (four games of 58 points or fewer) … the 28-point margin of victory is the largest for Notre Dame in the series, topping last year’s 72-51 win at Purcell Pavilion … the Fighting Irish earn their fifth consecutive victory at Mackey Arena (third in a row over Purdue) after not winning in their first eight visits to West Lafayette … Notre Dame is 6-3 all-time against the Boilermakers when both sides come into their matchup as ranked teams … the Fighting Irish are 2-1 against Top 25 opponents this year, having also defeated No. 7/6 Duke, 56-54 on Nov. 26 in Freeport, Bahamas … Notre Dame improves to 43-49 (.467) all-time against Big Ten Conference opponents, including a 16-26 (.381) record on the road — in the 25-year Muffet McGraw era, the Fighting Irish are 36-34 (.514) vs. the Big Ten, with a 14-15 (.483) road record … Notre Dame has won 15 of its last 21 games against Big Ten teams, including its last four in a row … the Fighting Irish rise to 123-32 (.794) all-time against in-state opponents (62-21, .747 on the road), extending their current winning streak against Indiana schools to 18 consecutive games … Notre Dame has held three opponents to fewer than 40 points, five to fewer than 50 points (including the past four), and nine scoring 61 points or fewer … Notre Dame’s current string of four consecutive games holding opponents to fewer than 50 points is its longest since a similar four-game run from Dec. 28, 1997-Jan. 8, 1998, when it locked down San Francisco (62-47), Pittsburgh (66-46), Georgetown (69-44) and Miami-Fla. (75-47) … in their last nine halves of basketball (dating back to the second half vs. No. 7/6 Duke on Nov. 26), the Fighting Irish have held their opponents to 23 points or fewer on eight occasions (lone exception was Creighton’s 37 points on Dec. 4) … Purdue shot opponent season lows of .241 (13-of-54) from the floor and .100 (1-of-10) from the three-point line … Notre Dame matched its season high with a +15 rebound margin (47-32), having also hit that mark on Dec. 2 vs. Penn at Purcell Pavilion … fifth-year senior forward Devereaux Peters chalked up her first double-double of the year (and 12th of her career) with 16 points and a season-high/game-best 11 rebounds … junior guard Skylar Diggins moved up to 17th place on the Notre Dame career scoring list with 1,236 points, passing Mary Beth Schueth (1,233 from 1981-85).