Feb. 27, 2010
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP) -Lindsay Schrader scored 12 points and No. 7 Notre Dame dominated in the paint in a 72-47 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday.
Melissa Lechlitner added 10 points and the Irish (25-3, 12-3 BIG EAST) closed both halves with big runs in sending the Pirates (9-19, 1-14) to their sixth straight loss and 15th in 16 games.
The win sets up a key game for Notre Dame on Monday night against No. 1 Connecticut, which improved to 29-0 with an 84-62 win over No. 13 Georgetown.
The Irish need to beat the Huskies or get help in the form of a loss by No. 18 St. John’s in order to avoid slipping to the No. 5 seed for the conference tournament. The top four seeds get double byes and the No. 5 only gets a single bye.
Kandice Green had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Pirates. Ebonie Williams had 13 points and Terry Green added 11.
The Irish, who snapped two-game losing streak with win over Marquette on Tuesday, had a 12-point run at the end of the first half to build a 12-point lead and they scored 13 in a row late to blow open the game.
Most of the points in both runs came in the paint, where the Irish piled up 50 points and finished the game with 56-percent shooting from the field.
Schrader returned for the Marquette game after missing two games because of a sprained ankle. The Irish were upset by Georgetown and St. John’s in Schrader’s absence, but she was the catalyst in the first run with six points. Becca Bruszewski had six of her eight in the late run.
Ten of the 11 players who got on the court for Notre Dame scored, with Skylar Diggins and Ashley Barlow (9 rebounds) adding nine points apiece and Devereaux Peters adding eight points and eight rebounds.
The final score was not indicative of how hard Seton Hall pushed Notre Dame, which last won 25 games in 2004-05.
Maybe using the motivation from senior day, Seton Hall played Notre Dame surprisingly close for the opening 15 minutes, drawing within 24-22 with 5:08 to play on a layup by Kandice Green.
Notre Dame’s pressing defense suddenly started forcing turnovers and the Irish ran off 12 straight points with the final 10 coming from in close.
Lechlitner started the run with a foul-line jumper and Schrader scored inside for a 28-22 lead. The Irish then forced consecutive turnovers. Diggins scored on a fastbreak off a Lechlitner pass on the first and Peters followed a Lechlitner miss for a 32-22 lead.
Schrader closed out the run with layups off nice assists by Bruszewski.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame collects its 25th win of the year, reaching that mark in the regular season for the first time since 2004-05 (when the Fighting Irish won their 25th game in the regular-season finale at Seton Hall, 41-35, on March 1, 2005), and just the fourth time in school history (the other two 25-win regular seasons occurred in 1996-97 and 2000-01) … it’s also the seventh 25-win campaign in the past 14 seasons for the Fighting Irish, and second in three years after a 25-9 mark in 2007-08 … Notre Dame earns its 12th BIG EAST victory of the season, hitting that mark for the 10th time in 15 seasons as a conference member (1995-96 to present), but the first time since going 13-3 in 2004-05 … the Fighting Irish will finish with an 8-3 road record this year (all post-season contests will be neutral sites or home games), giving Notre Dame a 28-12 (.700) record on the road during the past three seasons … the Fighting Irish rise to 18-4 all-time against Seton Hall, including an 18-2 record against the Pirates in BIG EAST play (17-2 in the regular season) … Notre Dame moves to 9-2 all-time at SHU’s Walsh Gymnasium, posting its largest margin of victory at that facility since Jan. 21, 2001 (ironically also a 72-47 win) … the Fighting Irish now have limited Seton Hall to 61 points or fewer in 18 of the past 19 series games … Notre Dame wraps up the month of February with a 6-2 record, improving to 87-25 (.777) in the second month since joining the BIG EAST and a 135-40 (.771) record in the 23-year Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present) … the Fighting Irish shot better than 50 percent from the field for the ninth time this season, with Saturday’s .556 field goal percentage being their best in BIG EAST play and second-highest of the season (.578 vs. IPFW on Dec. 8 at Purcell Pavilion) … Notre Dame also notched its second-best defensive effort of the BIG EAST season by allowing only 47 points, one more than Villanova scored in an 81-46 Fighting Irish win on Jan. 9 at Purcell Pavilion … Notre Dame limited Seton Hall to an opponent season-low 26 rebounds, one fewer than IPFW’s total on Dec. 8 … the Fighting Irish recorded double-digit steals for the 20th time this season … Notre Dame jumps to 24-2 all-time when senior point guard/tri-captain Melissa Lechlitner tallies at least five assists in a game … senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow moved into 11th place on Notre Dame’s career scoring list with 1,432 points, passing current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey (1,430 from 1996-2001) on that chart … Barlow also chalked up three more steals, giving her 70 thefts on the season and tying her career high from last year.