The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Winning ugly

Heather VanHoegarden | Thursday, February 10, 2005

Providence wasn’t supposed to compete with No. 6 Notre Dame. The Friars scored just six points in the first half against No. 10 Connecticut Feb. 5, and won just one game all year.

But the Irish took them lightly Wednesday night, and as a result found themselves losing at halftime before pulling away for a 75-57 win at Alumni Hall.

“We played the worst defensive half of the year in the first half,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “Give credit to their offense.”

McGraw, who just two days ago was praising the play of late of her team, was not pleased with the Irish effort Wednesday night. Notre Dame gave up 36 points in the first half with the Friars shooting 50 percent from the field. Shauna Snyder led the way for Providence with 16 of her 18 points in the first half, helping the Friars to a 36-30 halftime lead.

“Snyder was playing out of her mind,” McGraw said. “She shot the ball real well, and she got a lot of open looks too.”

Providence (1-20, 0-10 Big East) lost its 10th game in a row after the Irish (21-3, 9-2) pulled away in the second half with a 21-3 run. During the run, Irish forward Jacquline Batteast scored seven points to give the Irish a 67-49 lead with 5:50 to play, sealing the Irish victory.

Snyder finished 6-for-17 from the field, including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. The Friars hit six 3-pointers as a team, most of them wide-open looks.

“We just didn’t have any leadership tonight and it started with our leaders,” McGraw said. “The underclassmen just followed suit.

The Irish played better defense in the second half, limiting the Friars to just 21 points on 6-for-24 shooting (25 percent). Notre Dame also outscored Providence 42-10 in the paint.

Notre Dame got a spark from freshman Tulyah Gaines, who came off the bench to score nine points on 3-for-4 shooting. She added two rebounds, two assists and two steals in 18 minutes of play.

“I thought Tulyah came in and gave us some good minutes off the bench,” McGraw said.

Meanwhile, forward Courtney LaVere started for the first time since her December knee surgery and had 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three steals in 23 minutes of play. Teresa Borton added 10 points and four rebounds as well for the Irish.

Batteast finished with a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. She was 10-for-13 from the free throw line.

For the game, the Irish shot 50 percent from the field, scoring 45 second-half points. However, McGraw was not pleased with her team’s effort.

“We weren’t focused at all tonight, and we definitely took them lightly,” McGraw said.

The Irish are back in action Saturday afternoon when they face Georgetown at the Joyce Center for another Big East contest.