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ND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Coming out strong

Chris Khorey | Friday, November 11, 2005

Megan Duffy scored 24 points and Lindsay Schrader added 19 as the No. 15 Notre Dame women’s basketball team crushed an overmatched Ferris State team 96-45 Thursday at the Joyce Center.

Irish coach Muffet McGraw said despite the lopsided score, the team did not live up to her expectations in several areas.

“We have to block out and we have to rebound,” McGraw said. “That’s going to be our emphasis this week.”

The Bulldogs had a 22-21 edge in rebounds at halftime, despite trailing on the scoreboard 41-24. The Irish built the lead with an effective full court press that caused many of Ferris State’s 31 turnovers for the game.

“I thought our press was successful in making them turn the ball over,” McGraw said. “Also I thought our zone was pretty good. Our-man-to man was a little weak though.”

Irish guard Tulyah Gaines, who recorded three steals in the game, said many of the turnovers were caused by hustling Irish defenders.

“I just try to get out there and play a scrap game and try to steal the ball,” Gaines, said.

Duffy and Gaines took turns playing point guard for the Irish. McGraw praised both players’ versatility.

“I thought we had a lot of good spurts,” McGraw said. “Tulyah defensively made things happen for us, she ran the ball well. Whenever we needed a basket, Megan was there to make the basket.”

Duffy said playing shooting guard with Gaines at the point helped her find open shots, which led to her coming just one point shy of her career high of 25 points.

“With Tulyah at the point it takes a lot of pressure off me, especially offensively,” she said.

Schrader, a freshman, was the second-leading scorer for the Irish in only her second collegiate game. McGraw said her quick adjustment was due to her solid fundamentals coming out of high school.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised [with Schrader’s contribution],” McGraw said. “Before the year I told her we wanted her to play the same way she did in high school.”

Schrader admitted she still has room to grow, however.

“I definitely have to do more off the ball stuff,” she said. “I think I can do OK stuff when I have the ball in my hands, but cutting and rolling and reading what the defense is doing is something I have to work on.”

McGraw said she is still concerned with finding another consistent scorer after Duffy and Schrader.

“Now we have to find a third scorer,” McGraw said. “It’s probably going to be a post player.”

Center Melissa D’Amico was the third-leading scorer for the Irish Thursday with 16 points.

Notre Dame got off to a fast start Thursday, racing out to a 28-9 lead midway through the first half. The Bulldogs managed to outscore the Irish 15-13 for the rest of the half, however, largely with second-chance baskets.

After halftime, Notre Dame jumped ahead quickly, going on a 35-8 run to take a 76-32 lead. From there the Irish coasted, allowing only 21 second points while scoring 55 of their own.

The big lead gave McGraw a chance to use her bench, as 11 Irish players saw action Thursday.


u The Irish attempted 36 free throws to only six for the Bulldogs. Notre Dame connected on 27, or 75 percent, while Ferris State hit four, or 66 percent.

u Irish freshman forward Chandrica Smith did not play Thursday for academic reasons.

“She missed some academic obligations, so she missed the game. She’ll be back in practice tomorrow,” McGraw said.

u Notre Dame will open the regular season Nov. 18 against No. 19 Michigan at the Joyce Center. The Wolverines have won two exhibition games, against Athletes in Action Ohio Legends.