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Two trips, two different results

Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, February 7, 2005

Pittsburgh’s “Pack the Petersen” promotion worked, drawing a season-high 5,652 fans. But Charel Allen’s 11 busloads of hometown fans were the only ones heard Saturday afternoon as the No. 6 Irish defeated Pittsburgh 75-47 at the Petersen Events Center. The 28 points was Notre Dame’s largest margin of victory this season.”It feels great, because we haven’t done that all year,” Irish center Teresa Borton said. “We finally had the opportunity to get the lead and keep that lead to a large margin.”Courtney LaVere had 17 points and eight rebounds and Allen chipped in 16 points to lead the Irish. Allen, one of Pennsylvania’s all-time high school scoring leaders, hails from Monessen, about an hour from Pittsburgh. The freshman played in front of a hometown crowd for the first time ever. Borton said Allen’s fans overshadowed those of Pittsburgh.”We had a lot of Irish fans because of Charel,” Borton said. “Not at all [did the Pittsburgh fans affect Notre Dame].”Notre Dame (20-3, 8-2 Big East) got off to a quick start against the Panthers (11-10, 3-7 Big East), despite All-American Jacqueline Batteast playing just six first-half minutes due to foul trouble.With 5:30 to play in the first half, Notre Dame used a 14-0 run to put the game away after being up 24-18. The game was never in doubt for the Irish, as they dominated in the paint behind Borton and LaVere. “The quick start [kept their fans out of the game],” Borton said. “We never let them get close to us.”LaVere and Borton combined for 21 first-half points, 10 for Borton on 5-for-5 shooting, and 11 for LaVere on 4-for-7 shooting. They were the main contributors to Notre Dame outscoring Pittsburgh 24-6 in the paint in the first half.Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s star freshman Marcedes Walker was limited to just four points and three fouls in the first half, as the Irish led 40-23 at the half.”I think [Walker] was kind of slow,” Borton said. “So, we ran down the court ahead of her and got some easy layups.”Walker finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, many coming after the game’s outcome was already decided.Borton and LaVere got it done on the defensive end against Walker as well, as Pittsburgh’s freshman struggled most of the game.”She’s a very strong girl,” Borton said. “It was just getting a body on her on the boards and just using your forearm to keep her out of the paint so she couldn’t get any easy shots.”Notre Dame finished with a season-high 50 rebounds, six more than Pittsburgh.Megan Duffy had nine assists, all in the first half, for Notre Dame, and Batteast added 12 points, nine in the second half. The starters sat out the majority of the second half for the Irish, with Duffy playing just 25 minutes, and Batteast playing 15 minutes.The Irish are back in action Wednesday night when they travel to Providence.Notes:u The 20 wins for Notre Dame marks the 16th season of Muffet McGraw’s 18 years at Notre Dame that the Irish have won 20 games. It is also the 12th consecutive 20-win season for Notre Dame.u Notre Dame is now 15-0 against Pittsburgh all-time in women’s basketball.u Charel Allen is averaging 10.6 points over her past eight games, coming off the bench for the Irish. The freshman is fourth on the team in scoring.