Ramming home another win
Kate Gales | Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Hitting the hardwood for the fifth time in 11 days wasn’t easy for Notre Dame, who struggled to find momentum in the first half Monday against Colorado State.
But several big runs and a consistently tough defense spurred the No. 6 Irish to a 69-47 victory over the Rams (1-1) at the Joyce Center Tuesday night to improve to 5-0 on the season.
Megan Duffy led the Irish with 15 points and a career-high seven steals, Jacqueline Batteast put up 14 points and nine boards and Crystal Erwin added 12 points and two rebounds off the bench to lead the Irish.
“We really had to work for it the whole game,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “Offensively we kept waiting to get into our rhythm – it was hard.”
The game was off to a rocky start for Notre Dame as the Rams’ Annika Walseth hit a 3-point field goal to start the scoring nearly two minutes into the first half. Duffy would swish a pair of free throws to get the Irish on the board, but the teams stayed close until Erwin’s layup with 4:40 left in the first half put the Irish ahead 23-21, starting a 20-4 run that would extend into the second half.
“Basketball is a game of runs, especially towards the end of the first half,” Duffy said. “It looked like they were getting tired so we wanted to keep playing our up-tempo game.”
The Irish went into the half with a 31-23 lead and would never look back, as center Teresa Borton put up five straight points at the beginning of the second half to help the Irish pull away with a 36-25 margin.
“An experienced team like they have, experienced point guard, great player in Batteast – they do a nice job,” Rams coach Chris Denker said. “They’ve already started to gel this early in the season.”
The Irish registered 20 steals for the game and totaled 38 points off of 29 Colorado State turnovers.
But for Notre Dame, the real spark came from Erwin. Her 12 points were one point away from a career high.
“Overall I think Crystal Erwin just gave us a great lift,” McGraw said. “I thought she played a great game off the bench. She just gives us that energy when she comes in the game. It’s really, really important for our team attitude – I think she gives us a toughness that we need and an enthusiasm, too.”
With Batteast often facing a double team, Erwin was left open on a number of occasions, going 4-for-5 from the field in the first half, and 6-for-9 on the game.
“I think I’m always looking to be a spark off the bench,” Erwin said.
The next game will be a homecoming of sorts for Erwin, as she returns to her native California with the rest of the Irish squad to challenge Southern California on Friday night, for Notre Dame’s first road game of the season.
“Time to hit the road – we’re ready,” McGraw said.
u This is the fourth time this season that the Irish have registered three or more players scoring in double digits.
u The Irish start 5-0 for the first time since their 2000-01 national championship run, which is also the last time the team played 5 games in 11 days.
u Jacqueline Batteast tied her career-high in assists with seven. In the 2004 season she has totaled 24 assists and only 7 turnovers.
u Batteast was named the Big East Conference Player of the Week. After averaging 21.5 points, 5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 50.7 perfect from the field.
NOTRE DAME 69, COLORADO STATE 47 at the JOYCE CENTER
NOTRE DAME (5-0, 0-0) Batteast 4-12 6-9 14, LaVere 3-8 1-2 7, Borton 3-6 3-3 9, Duffy 4-9 6-6 15, Gray 1-4 0-0 3, Allen 2-7 2-2 6, Powers 0-1 0-0 0, Tsipis 0-0 0-0 0, D’Amico 1-2 1-2 3, Erwin 6-9 0-2 12.
COLORADO STATE (1-1, 0-0) Dennett 0-3 1-2 1, Thomas 6-11 0-0 12, Hunter 3-10 0-0 7, Espinzoa 3-9 2-2 8, Walseth 1-5 0-0 3, Square 0-0 0-0 0, Kramer 0-3 0-0 0, Nohr 0-0 0-0 0, O’Dwyer 1-2 0-0 2, Tor-Agbidye 4-4 0-0 8, Moulton 0-2 6-8 6.
1st 2nd Total
NOTRE DAME 31 38 69
Colorado State 23 24 47
3-point goals: Notre Dame 2-8 (Duffy 1-4, Gray 1-1, Powers 0-1, LaVere 0-1, Allen 0-1), Colorado State 2-13 (Walseth 1-5, Hunter 1-4, Espinoza 0-2, Kramer 0-1, O’Dwyer 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Notre Dame 36 (Batteast 9), Colorado State 36 (Thomas 10). Assists: Notre Dame 18 (Batteast 7), Colorado State 12 (Walseth 4). Total fouls: Notre Dame 13, Colorado State 19.