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Team continues preseason with second victory

Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, November 8, 2004

Every player who played in the first half scored as No. 11 Notre Dame cruised to an 80-61 win over the Hoosier Lady Stars.

A late first-half spurt put the game out of reach as the Irish pulled away from the Lady Stars in their final exhibition game Saturday afternoon.

Megan Duffy led all scorers with 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including 4-for-5 from behind the arc.

“I want to be a consistent outside threat for the team,” said Duffy, last year’s Big East Most Improved Player. “Especially if they’re going to play zone, I want to be able to knock down some outside shots.”

With the win, the Irish improved to 2-0 this season in exhibition play and for the second straight time, scored 80 points.

“I think for us, it’s not the numbers of points we score, it’s really the field goal percentage and the shots we’re getting,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said.

Duffy, who also had four rebounds and four assists, was one of three Irish players in double-figures. Courtney LaVere finished with 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Jacqueline Batteast added 11 points and six rebounds.

“I would like to see a few more people step up and get double figures,” McGraw said. “That’s what we have to have – those three [Duffy, Batteast and LaVere] every night.”

The Irish played well in the first half, moving the ball effectively against the Lady Stars’ zone and playing solid man-to-man defense. They jumped out to a 42-29 halftime lead after freshmen Tulyah Gaines, Charel Allen and Melissa D’Amico sparked the Irish off the bench late in the half.

“I think [D’Amico’s] exceeded our expectations,” McGraw said. “I think we expected her to contribute and she’s done really well, scoring on the block. She’s rebounding well. She’s got a lot to add.”

D’Amico finished with nine points and four rebounds, while Allen had eight points and four steals.

Notre Dame struggled at times against the Lady Stars, turning the ball over 21 times. However, they never trailed after a LaVere layup made it 9-8 with 17:45 to play in the first half. The Irish defense took care of the rest, forcing 14 steals and blocking four shots.

“I think we learned a lot about our team after these two games,” McGraw said. “I think we know we have a lot of strengths and we have a few things we need to work on. I think we know that our intensity on defense is going to be a big factor. We’ve got to shut people down.”

Susie Powers led the Irish with five assists and also scored eight points on 3-for-6 shooting.

Saturday’s game wraps up exhibition play for Notre Dame. The Irish take to the court again Friday against Illinois State in the Preseason WNIT. They are set to tip off at 9 p.m., following the Irish volleyball game and pep rally.