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Batteast dominates preseason opener

Justin Schuver | Thursday, November 4, 2004

Notre Dame’s first exhibition game of the season played out as expected Wednesday night.

Their all-American forward Jacqueline Batteast, who finished the game with 23 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes, led the Irish.

Head coach Muffet McGraw played everyone on her bench, including all four freshmen, in a variety of lineups.

And the Irish did what they always do in preseason contests – win – this time by an 84-52 margin against the Premier All-Stars from Ohio. Notre Dame is 21-1 all-time in exhibition games.

“I was really pleased with a lot of things that went on,” McGraw said. “I thought we started out with some first-game jitters. I thought Jackie played like a very poised veteran. We still have a lot of things to work on, but overall I’m very pleased.”

McGraw’s one concern for her team this season is finding another scorer to compliment Batteast.

“We know what [Batteast] can do,” McGraw said. “So I purposely took her out to see who was going to take on the bulk of the scoring. I thought in the first half, she really carried us.”

With Batteast on the bench, Notre Dame turned to junior guard Megan Duffy, the reigning Big East Most Improved Player. Duffy finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. She scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half, including 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc.

“We need to have more people in double figures [in scoring] on a consistent basis. If you look at our starting team, we have four upperclassmen, and I would expect all four of them to carry the load.”

Three of Notre Dame’s freshmen, guards Charel Allen and Tuylah Gaines and center Melissa D’Amico, saw significant minutes and made the most of their playing time. Allen and Gaines showed off their quickness, while D’Amico displayed soft touch on her jump shots. Allen led the team in rebounding with nine and added 10 points, while Gaines and D’Amico scored four and 10 points, respectively.

“I think that our freshmen are going to add a tremendous amount of good things,” McGraw said. “I think [they] makes us a little more versatile. We’ll be able to up-tempo a little bit more.”

During the last officials’ timeout, McGraw put in all four of her freshmen and sophomore Crystal Erwin to get the younger players some work together.

Notre Dame, who opens its regular season against Illinois State Nov. 12, played its first of two exhibition contest this season. The team also faces the Hoosier Lady Stars Saturday at noon inside the Joyce Center.

Notes

u The Irish shot 44.6 percent from the field for the game and made 6-of-7 3-point attempts in the second half.

u The team will take today off after six straight days of practice.