November 15, 1996

Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Wins Opener Over Kent 66-41

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Senior Katryna Gaither scored 25 points and the Irish played suffocating defense as No. 20 Notre Dame defeated Kent 66-41 in the first round of the Preseason Women’s Invitational Tournament at the Joyce Center Friday afternoon.

The Irish held Kent to 29 percent field goal shooting and forced 34 turnovers in limiting the Golden Flashes to its lowest offensive output in 13 seasons. Notre Dame also set a Preseason WNIT record for fewest points allowed.

Sophomore guard Shelia McMillen came off the bench to score 13 points and senior guard Beth Morgan added nine points and eight rebounds in the Irish opener. Notre Dame freshman guard Niele Ivey scored seven points and added eight assists in her first collegiate game.

Kent’s Ashley Bland hit the first basket of the game, 20 seconds into the contest, giving the Golden Flashes their only lead of the game. Notre Dame then went on a 20-0 scoring run over the next nine and a half minutes before Carrie Templin converted an offensive rebound for a basket at the 9:54 mark for Kent.

Kent cut the lead to six points at 22-14, but the Irish ended the first half with an 8-4 run to open up a 30-18 halftime lead.

The Irish scored the first six points of the second half and Kent got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way. Notre Dame continued to shut down the Golden Flashes offense in the second half as Kent connected on 6-of-24 attempts from the field in the second half.

Kent’s 41 points represented the Golden Flashes lowest offensive output since a 79-37 setback against West Virginia in the 1983-84 campaign.

Notre Dame will now play the winner of the Iowa-Illinois State game on Sunday with the date and site to be determined after first round play is complete.

                      1st  2nd   TOTALKent                   18   23      41Notre Dame (20)        30   36      66