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ND Women’s Basketball: ND hosts T-Wolves on Sunday

Eric Retter | Friday, November 3, 2006

Notre Dame is set for its second exhibition game of the year and final tune-up before the regular season begins.

The Irish will take on Div. II Northwood (Mich.) Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Joyce Center.

Notre Dame is coming off an 82-55 win over Lake Superior State Tuesday, its first exhibition of the season. Junior guard Charel Allen led all scorers with 20 points and finished with a double-double after totaling 10 rebounds.

The Irish will be led by captains Breona Gray and Tulyah Gaines. Gray scored 11 points and had one assist, while Gaines finished with nine points and six assists.

“I thought Breona Gray was great defensively, and I thought Charel Allen was terrific on the boards,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said Tuesday after the game. “We’re going to need that kind of performance on the defensive end.”

Northwood is beginning the year after going 10-16 last season, and Sunday’s exhibition will mark its first competitive contest of the 2006-07 campaign. Junior guard Anna Trim, who finished second on the team last season with 12.8 points per game, will lead the Timberwolves.

Northwood returns four of its top five scorers from a year ago, but will be without top playmaker Maureen Elliott, who graduated – along with her 16.7 points a game – at the end of last season.

McGraw said Sunday’s game against Northwood will help the Irish build on Tuesday’s win as they prepare for the regular season. She pointed to rebounding as an area where she hoped the team would improve.

“I think there [are] a couple things we can tighten up a bit,” she said Tuesday.

McGraw also foresees a significant contribution coming from three newcomers to the team: freshmen guards Ashley Barlow and Melissa Lechlitner and center Erica Williamson. Lechlitner played 27 minutes Tuesday against Lake Superior State – more than any Irish player except Allen. She scored eight points in the contest, while Barlow added seven points in just 13 minutes played.

Barlow missed most of the second half Tuesday after hitting her head on the hardwood and cutting her nose. While she did not return, McGraw and the team trainers did not believe the injury to be particularly serious.

After Tuesday’s game, McGraw was pleased with the rookies’ debut.

“I think you can see the contributions three of our freshmen will be making,” she said. “I think they all have great potential.”