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The godfather comes to town

Joe Hettler | Friday, November 19, 2004

Muffet McGraw’s son, Murphy, will get to see his godfather Saturday. That’s because Jim Foster happens to coach Ohio State’s women’s basketball team.

No. 11 Notre Dame looks to finish off an impressive start to its season with a victory in the preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament final against No. 10 Ohio State at the Joyce Center at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Irish are fresh off a 76-65 victory against No. 6 Duke on Wednesday night, while the Buckeyes have cruised through three opponents, winning by an average score of 81-38. Ohio State has wins over Bowling Green, St. Joseph’s and Arizona this season.

For McGraw, the game is especially exciting. She and Foster are so close, McGraw and her husband, Matt, named Foster the godfather of the couple’s only child, Murphy.

“We go back a long way,” McGraw said. “Last year we went down there and spent some time with him and his staff. He’s doing a great job with his team this year so it’s going to be another great game.”

Foster is also looking forward to seeing the McGraw family, and facing Notre Dame in an early-season battle.

“I love the fact we’re going there,” Foster said after Ohio State’s victory Wednesday. “I love that we’re seeing where we are. It’s only Nov. 20. We couldn’t ask for a better situation.

“We got off to a good start at home, and we earned a shot to go and play for a championship in somebody else’s gym.”

Jessica Dav-enport leads the Buckeyes with 16 points and six rebounds per game. Teammate Caity Matter, who’s averaged 14.7 points and three rebounds in the team’s first three contests, dropped 20 against Arizona on Wednesday.

The Buckeyes have shot the ball especially well, while playing stifling defense. Ohio State has connected on 52.9 percent of its shots and held opponents to just 30.8 percent.

On the other bench, Notre Dame has played pretty well in its own right. The Irish have won three games, including the impressive victory against a top-10 Duke team. All-American Jacqueline Batteast has been her usual self, leading the Irish in scoring and also piling up high assist totals. She’s averaged 18 points and 5.3 rebounds.

The real surprise for Notre Dame has been the play of freshman Charel Allen.

Allen poured in 16 points against Duke, hit two crucial second-half 3-pointers and played nothing like her class. Notre Dame will likely rely on Allen again Saturday, especially with fellow freshman Tulyah Gaines sitting out with a neck injury.

The Irish have also received solid minutes from Courtney LaVere and Teresa Borton. Those two are averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds per game this season.

McGraw gave Notre Dame Thursday off, before practice and game-planning tonight. The Irish won’t get much rest after Saturday’s game, either. They face Colorado State on Monday at the Joyce Center.

Notes

u Tickets for Saturday’s game are on sale now and will be $7 for students. Any student interested in attending can purchase tickets at the Joyce Center during regular business hours.