Jan. 29, 2002
- Irish Head Coach
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame freshman class rang up 51 points, including a career-high 21 by guard Allison Bustamante, to run past Syracuse, 71-46, in BIG EAST Conference action Tuesday night before a Joyce Center crowd of 8,571, the fifth-largest in school history. It was the 48th consecutive home victory for the Irish, extending the longest winning streak in the nation, and it was the 28th straight BIG EAST win at home for Notre Dame.
Bustamante canned five three-point field goals, including four during a 19-3 run in the first half which broke open a tight game. Freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast added 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, collecting her eighth double-double of the season. Batteast also matched her career best with six assists. Senior guard/forward Ericka Haney also notched 10 points, while sophomore guard Le’Tania Severe was rock-solid at the point, registering career highs with nine assists and five steals against just one turnover in 30 minutes on the floor.
Shannon Perry, the reigning BIG EAST Co-Player of the Week, was the only Syracuse player to crack double figures, posting team bests of 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. The Orangewomen, who came into the contest ranked fourth in the conference with a .450 field goal percentage, were held to season lows of 46 points and 29.6 percent shooting by a stingy Irish defense. Notre Dame also owned a commanding 48-31 edge in the rebounding column.
The first 10 minutes of the contest were close, with Syracuse drawing first blood on a Julie McBride three-pointer before the Irish rallied and eventually claimed a 15-8 lead on a free throw by freshman center Teresa Borton with 13:03 left in the period. The Orangewomen closed the gap to three at the 9:57 mark when Chineze Nwagbo sank a layup from the right block, forcing Notre Dame to call a 30-second timeout.
Following the stoppage, Irish head coach Muffet McGraw sent Bustamante into the lineup and the Miami native needed just 24 seconds to drill her first three-pointer of the night and ignite the game-turning 19-3 run. At the same time, Syracuse went cold from the field, connecting on only one field goal over the next six minutes and wound up on the short end of a 34-15 score with four minutes to go in the first half.
Leading by a 39-25 count at the break, Notre Dame turned up its defensive intensity to open the second half, holding the Orangewomen without a field goal over the first 9:32 of the stanza. The Irish outscored the visitors, 15-4, during that time to push the lead over 20 points for the first time in the contest. Tara Trammell finally broke an 0-for-14 shooting drought for Syracuse with a short jumper in the lane just before the midway point of the second half. Notre Dame opened up its largest at 64-36 when junior guard Karen Swanson hit two free throws with 5:08 remaining as the Irish rolled to their 12th consecutive win over Syracuse.
Notre Dame (12-7, 6-2 BIG EAST) will head back out on the road for a pair of conference games, beginning Saturday with a 2 p.m. (EST) matchup at Seton Hall. Back on Jan. 9, the Irish downed the Pirates, 79-45 at the Joyce Center. Saturday’s rematch also will be televised live in the Mid-Atlantic region by CN8 (formerly The Comcast Network).
– ND –