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Women’s hoops team gets ready for UConn

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, January 12, 2005

After dropping a 59-54 Big East road game to Villanova on Sunday, Notre Dame doesn’t have much time to feel bad for itself.Connect-icut is coming to town.The No. 6/7 Irish look to rebound against a struggling Husky team, which lost its last game 68-67 against Tennessee on Saturday. Connecticut has struggled without star Diana Taurasi, who graduated following last season. Connecticut is just 8-4 during its first 12 games. The Huskies lost just five games during the previous four seasons, thanks in part to the play of Taurasi.When Connecticut visited the Joyce Center last season, it was ranked No. 4 in the nation. But the Irish, led by Jacqueline Batteast, shocked the Huskies with a 66-51 upset that sparked Notre Dame’s season.This season the roles are reversed. The Irish have been the dominant team, losing just twice in 15 games. On Sunday, Notre Dame (13-2, 2-1) was tied with Villanova at 49-49 late in the game before the Wildcats pulled away for the upset behind Jackie Adamshick’s 25 points. The win snapped an Irish six-game winning streak and dropped the team from first-place in the Big East standings.Batteast, who averages 19 points and seven rebounds per contest, has led Notre Dame along with guard Megan Duffy. Duffy has added 11.5 points and 4.7 assists per game. Notre Dame seems to get major contributions from a different player nearly every game this season. Crystal Erwin, Teresa Borton, Courtney LaVere, Tulyah Gaines, Melissa D’Amico and Charel Allen have all made a significant impact on the team’s success. Without Taurasi, guard/forward Barbara Turner leads Connecticut with 13.4 points per game. Forward Ann Strother adds 12 points for the Huskies, who have won the last three national championships. While Connecticut has struggled more than past seasons, they’ve done so against some stiff competition. The Huskies’ losses include Tennessee, Michigan State, Arizona State and North Carolina – all teams that were highly-ranked when they beat Connecticut.Notre Dame faces arguably its toughest stretch of the regular season, battling Connecticut twice and Purdue and Rutgers once in the next six games. The Scarlet Knights are coming off two wins against top-5 opponents, including a victory over No. 1 Louisiana State.The Connecticut game tips at 8 p.m. at the Joyce Center.