Nov. 19, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Four of the five Notre Dame starters scored in double figures, with three notching double-doubles, to pace the ninth-ranked Irish to a 70-60 exhibition victory over the Ohio Girls Basketball Magazine (OGBM) Legends Tuesday night before a crowd of 6,029 at the Joyce Center.
Sophomore center Teresa Borton (Yakima, Wash./West Valley HS) led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and she added 10 rebounds for Notre Dame. Had Tuesday’s game been a regular season affair, her 21 points would have been a career best. In the two Irish exhibition games, the 6-foot-3 Borton averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per night, while shooting 80 percent (16-20) from the field.
Sophomore forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) contributed 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for Notre Dame, carding her second double-double of the exhibition season. Senior guard Alicia Ratay (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich HS) chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Irish.
The trio of double-doubles is something of a rarity for Notre Dame. The last time the Irish had three players record double-doubles in a regular-season game was Dec. 21, 1995, when Beth Morgan (28 points, 11 rebounds), Katryna Gaither (27 points, 14 rebounds) and Carey Poor (10 points, 10 rebounds) turned the trick in an 87-83 overtime loss at Michigan State.
Purdue graduate Jannon Roland was one of three OGBM players in double figures, finishing with 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Former Penn State standout Helen Darling, who now plays for the WNBA’s Cleveland Rockers, and Vita Redding added 15 points for the Legends, who dropped to 3-11 on their 15-game college tour of the Midwest.
Despite the close nature of the final score, Notre Dame led virtually from tip to buzzer, with only a 2-2 tie in the opening moments preventing a wire-to-wire victory. The Irish used a 13-3 run early into the first half to open up a 23-9 lead with 11:46 remaining in the period. Notre Dame would hold on to its double-digit advantage for the balance of the first half, widening the gap to 17 points in the waning seconds before settling for a 42-26 halftime lead.
A layup by Batteast in the first minute of the second period gave Notre Dame its largest lead of the night at 44-26. Still, the Irish kept OGBM at arm’s length for the first five minutes of the half, before the Legends went on a 12-2 run and pulled within 54-47 on Redding’s jumper with 11:07 to play.
Batteast followed with a runner in the lane on Notre Dame’s next possession, igniting a 10-3 Irish surge that rebuilt a 14-point lead at the five-minute mark. OGBM made a final push, getting as close as 64-57 when Larecha Jones knocked down a three-point field goal with 3:43 remaining. However, Ratay dashed the Legends’ comeback hopes with a trey of her own less than a minute later, putting the final stamp on a Notre Dame victory.
The Irish defense turned in another solid performance, limiting OGBM to 34.9 percent shooting from the field. Notre Dame also held Jones, the Legends’ top scorer, in check much of the night. Jones had scored better than 20 points in seven of her team’s first 13 games, including a tour-high 33 points on Monday night against No. 7 Purdue. The Irish limited her to just eight points on Tuesday, with all eight coming in the final seven minutes.
Notre Dame now turns its attention to the regular season opener next Tuesday, Nov. 26, when it plays host to Cleveland State in a 7 p.m. (EST) game at the Joyce Center. The Irish have won six consecutive season openers and are 12-3 in annual lidlifters under 16th-year head coach Muffet McGraw.
— ND —