Dec. 20, 2009
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was pleased with everything about her team after Sunday’s 90-31 victory over Charlotte – at least at first.
“I really have no complaints about this one,” she said.
Freshman guard Skylar Diggins wanted to make sure everyone knew how rare it was for McGraw to make such a statement.
“Make sure you’re all recording this,” Diggins said, drawing a laugh from her coach.
The fourth-ranked Irish (10-0) had reason to be happy after registering their most lopsided victory since a 113-35 win against Liberty to open the 1989-90 season. It was their fewest points allowed since a 66-31 win over St. John’s in 2002.
Still, after a longer look at the final statistics, McGraw said she was disappointed that her team had 13 turnovers in each half.
“So there’s something I can be unhappy about,” she said.
Charlotte coach Karen Aston was disappointed her team didn’t give Notre Dame a better game considering the 49ers played the Irish tough in a 68-61 loss last season.
“I was surprised by our lack of competitiveness,” she said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t compete better and give them a better game.”
The 43 turnovers forced and 24 steals by the Irish were their most since they joined the Big East for the 1995-96 season. Five players had at least three steals, led by five by Kaila Turner.
Ashley Barlow scored a season-high 19 points, Turner added 11 and all 12 Irish players who got in the game scored.
Notre Dame missed its first seven shots, then scored seven points in 25 seconds when Barlow hit a 3, Diggins had a steal and basket, then Diggins stole the ball again and scored on a rebound.
“It really ignited the whole team,” McGraw said.
Aston said once the Irish got going, the 49ers couldn’t stop them.
“It snowballed on us,” she said. “We lost our composure and lost our character and completely lost our frame of mind as far as what our focus was in the game.”
The Irish extended the lead to 16-0 before Charlotte scored its first points, and added a 30-3 run in the second half.
The Irish had more points in the paint (32), more points from their reserves (52) and more points off turnovers (44) than the 49ers had total points. Notre Dame also held Charlotte (5-6) to 24.5 percent shooting, the first time the 49ers shot below 30 percent in a game since 2006.
Shannon McCallum led Charlotte with 10 points.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame posts the fourth-largest margin of victory in program history (59 points) and its largest since Nov, 24, 1989, when the Fighting Irish set a school record in that category by defeating Liberty, 113-35, in the first round of the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando, Fla. (UCF ironically is Notre Dame’s next opponent on Dec. 29 in Orlando) … it also was Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory at home in the 23-year Muffet McGraw era, dating back to Feb. 28, 1985 (a 99-36 win over Butler); the only other larger win for the Fighting Irish (besides the 1989 Liberty and 1985 Butler games) came on Dec. 8, 1981, when Notre Dame defeated sister school Saint Mary’s (Ind.), 92-29 at the Joyce Center in the program’s second season at the Division I level … the Fighting Irish opened the game on a 16-0 run, their largest game-opening surge since Dec. 13, 2003, when they scored the game’s first 26 points (a school record for a game-opening run) in a 78-41 win over Dayton at the Joyce Center … Notre Dame also set a school record with its fifth win this season by at least 35 points — in fact, Notre Dame’s last three wins have come by an average of 45.3 points per game (91.3-46.0) … the Fighting Irish held Charlotte to 31 points, the fewest by a Notre Dame opponent since Feb. 13, 2002, when the Fighting Irish posted a 66-31 win over BIG EAST foe St. John’s at the Joyce Center … Notre Dame set new high-water marks in its BIG EAST Conference era (1995-96 to present) with 43 turnovers forced and 24 steals … Charlotte’s 43 turnovers were the most caused by the Fighting Irish in a single game since the Dec. 8, 1981 win over Saint Mary’s (Ind.) (also 43), establishing a new high in the McGraw era (1987-88 to present); the only higher opponent turnover total came on Jan. 11, 1980, when Notre Dame forced Southern Illinois-Edwardsville into a school-record 48 turnovers in a 65-51 win at the NIU Huskie Invitational in DeKalb, Ill. … Charlotte’s four assists are the fewest by a Notre Dame opponent since Nov. 20, 2007, when Central Michigan had three helpers in a 94-41 Fighting Irish win at CMU’s Rose Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich. … the Fighting Irish have forced 20+ turnovers in all 10 games this season, and at least 29 turnovers in five of their six home games (opponents are turning the ball over 31.7 times per game on average in six games at Purcell Pavilion this season) … Notre Dame’s 24 steals were its highest total since tying the school record with 29 thefts at Saint Louis on Jan. 31, 1991 … the Fighting Irish defense held Charlotte to an opponent season-low .245 field goal percentage, the lowest by a Notre Dame foe since Nov. 25, 2008 (.214 by Georgia Southern); the 49ers also connected on an opponent season-low 1-of-10 (.100) from the three-point line … the Fighting Irish shot a season-best .889 (24-27) from the foul line and tied their season high with eight three-pointers … senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow scored a season-high 19 points and became Notre Dame’s sixth different leading scorer in the past six games … Barlow moved up into 16th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,228 points, passing Letitia Bowen (1,219 points from 1991-95) … Barlow also gained sole possession of fifth place on the Notre Dame career steals list with 227 thefts, breaking out of a tie with Krissi Davis (226 from 1987-91) … freshman guard Kaila Turner scored a career-high 11 points, becoming the 10th different Notre Dame player to crack double figures this season … Turner also set new career highs with five steals and four rebounds … junior guard Brittany Mallory dished out a career-best seven assists … freshman guard Skylar Diggins tied her career high with five assists … fifth-year senior guard/tri-captain Lindsay Schrader earned her 101st career start, tying Sandy Botham (1984-88) for 10th on the school’s all-time list … senior walk-on guard Alena Christiansen had new career highs with five points (perfect shooting day with 1-1 3FG and 2-2 FT) and two steals in five minutes … for the first time in her career, Christiansen also converted the Big Mac “burger ball”, putting Notre Dame over the magic 88-point barrier (for free Big Mac coupons to the crowd) on her steal and three-pointer with 1:06 to play … Notre Dame drew 8,821 fans for Sunday’s matinee, the 17th-largest crowd in school history, and second-largest of the season (9,080 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff for the Nov. 15 season opener).