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Women’s Basketball: Gaines, Duffy lift to the Irish to 75-66 OT win

Ken Fowler | Monday, February 27, 2006

Decked out in its new green away jerseys, Notre Dame used a little luck of the Irish Saturday to pull off a dramatic win over Cincinnati in a crucial conference contest on the Bearcats’ senior day.

Irish guard Tulyah Gaines hit a running layup from the right side off an inbounds play to tie the game as time expired in regulation, and Megan Duffy’s 10 points in the extra session led Notre Dame (16-10, 7-8 Big East) to a 75-66 overtime victory.

“That’s a play we practice a lot when we go through game situations a lot,” Gaines said of the buzzer beater. “They weren’t on me, and Lindsay did a great job of finding me [after] Courtney threw a great pass.”

After Bearcats guard Treasure Humphries broke a 55-55 tie by hitting a jump shot from 12 feet with 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw called a timeout to set up her offense against Cincinnati (17-9, 7-8).

Gaines took a Lindsay Schrader tip courtesy of Courtney LaVere’s inbounds pass, drove to the lane, elevated and hit the leaning layup as the buzzer sounded.

“I thought we really showed our poise at the end, because we could have put our heads down and thought the game was over, but we came over, executed the play perfectly and sowed a lot of character to come back from that with two seconds left,” McGraw said. “And that’s why I think we had the momentum going into overtime.”

In overtime, Schrader opened the scoring with 1-of-2 free throws to give the Irish a 58-57 lead. She finished with 11 points in the game.

After Cincinnati’s Michelle Jones made a layup to give the Bearcats the lead, Schrader scored again on a feed from Gaines to give the Irish a one-point lead.

With 2:04 left in overtime and the game tied at 62, LaVere converted on a three-point play thanks to Schrader’s assist.

“We wanted to get the ball inside, and Courtney did a great job down low,” McGraw said.

Schrader hit a jumper with 1:26 remaining to extend the Irish lead to five, and Duffy connected on eight straight free throws in the final 42 seconds to seal the win for Notre Dame and finish with 17 points in the game.

“Megan at the free-throw line really iced the game for us,” McGraw said.

Humphries was the star of the game for Cincinnati, shutting down Duffy on the defensive end most of the afternoon and putting up 14 points of her own. Humphries played the final six minutes with four fouls but held the senior All-American to just seven field goal attempts in regulation.

The Bearcats’ deadliest threat from outside, freshman Shelly Bellman, made just 4-of-14 field goals, including 1-of-5 from three-point range. Cincinnati entered as the second best team in the conference from long range but hit just 5-of-20 from behind the arc against an oft-porous Irish zone.

Gaines finished with 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting from the floor and 8-of-9 from the line.

LaVere joined Duffy as the high-point scorer in the game, connecting on 8-of-11 field goals en route to her 17 points.

McGraw said a key in getting LaVere involved was the high-low passing the Irish utilized throughout the game to extend the Cincinnati defense.

“That’s out of the Princeton offense, and we’ve run that pretty successfully throughout year,” she said. “Courtney’s really good at the high post.”