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LaVere and Duffy lead Irish in win

Joe Hettler | Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Only until she saw the final stats did sophomore point guard Megan Duffy realize just how many assists she had in Notre Dame’s first exhibition game of the season – 13 to be exact. Duffy will take those and 14 points any game this season.

“I’ll take those numbers any night, no matter who we’re playing,” Duffy said. “I didn’t think I had that many assists but I’ll take it. It’s a good start, something to build on.”

Fellow sophomore Courtney LaVere had 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, while junior forward Jacqueline Batteast added 18 points and 10 boards to lead the Irish to an 85-65 victory over Northwest Sports in an exhibition game Monday night.

“I thought we did a lot of good things offensively,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “I’m really encouraged by the things we did. I thought we ran the ball better and scored a lot more points than most of last year. I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

Notre Dame came out slow and fell behind for most of the first ten minutes of the game. The Irish made only 1-of-9 of its first nine shots during the five initial minutes of the half.

But after getting into the flow of the game, Notre Dame found its shooting touch, making 11 of the next 14 shots to take its first lead of the game, on a pair of Le’Tania Severe free throws, 18-17 with 11:59 left in the first half.

The Irish continued to shoot well for the remainder of the half and led 45-35 at intermission. The team shot 51.6 percent in the half.

Notre Dame shot even better in the second half (53.6 percent) and slowly added to its lead. Northwest Sports cut the lead to 11 with six minutes to play, but the Irish quickly pushed it back up to 20 by the end of the game.

Monday’s game was the first chance for Notre Dame’s three freshmen to see their first collegiate action. Crystal Irwin played 12 minutes, had six points, three rebounds and fouled out. Susie Powers missed all three of her shots and grabbed three rebounds in 14 minutes, while Breona Gray made her only shot in nine minutes of play.

“I thought Crystal did a good job out there,” McGraw said. “She scored, she defended pretty well and I was pleased with how she played tonight. Susie did some good things and Breona is going to be very good defender for us.”

The key for the Irish was the play of Duffy and LaVere and McGraw was impressed with the duo’s play.

“I was really pleased with Courtney’s play in the post,” McGraw said. “I thought she played extremely well. I thought Megan played a very good floor game.”

The Irish play a second and final exhibition game Sunday at 1 p.m. against Team Concept at the Joyce Center.

Notes:

Junior Teresa Borton did not play Monday because of off-season heel surgery. She is expected to miss the month of November, but should be back by the first week of December.

Senior Jeneka Joyce also did not play and will not practice for another 10 days due to an injury.

With 11:44 left in the game, senior Monique Hernandez went down in a collision and injured her foot. McGraw said Hernandez will have x-rays tomorrow.

The Irish improved to 19-1 in exhibitions games since the 1993-94 season.