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ND Women’s Basketball: Irish cruise by D-II foe in exhibition

Bill Brink | Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Six players scored in double figures as Notre Dame defeated Hillsdale 96-64 in an exhibition game Monday at the Joyce Center.

The Irish never trailed in the game and led 15-4 six minutes into the first half. With 10:49 left in the half, Notre Dame went on a 10-2 scoring run that ended with Gaines driving the length floor for a layup after a steal to give Notre Dame a 31-13 lead.

The Irish passed the ball effectively and created shots well in the game.

“We’re just trying to find the open player,” sophomore guard Ashley Barlow said. “I don’t think we did as well of a job as in our first exhibition game, but when we move the ball and find the open person, good things happen.”

But there were a few things the Irish didn’t do well. McGraw said she was unhappy with the defensive effort and the play of the forwards.

Hillsdale’s 64 points were the most Notre Dame has allowed in the preseason since 2003-04, when the Irish defeated Northwest Sports 85-65.

As for the frontcourt, Notre Dame got just 12 combined points from Erica Williamson and Melissa D’Amico.

“I felt we had a huge advantage there and we didn’t take advantage of it,” McGraw said. “I think most of our shots in the lane were drives from the guards. I think we have a lot of work to do to score on the block.”

After leading 51-32 at the half, Notre Dame opened the second half with an 8-0 run.

Senior guard Tulyah Gaines went 8-11 shooting and scored 16 points before leaving the game because of an elbow injury midway through the second half. The Irish as a team shot 50.6 percent from field-goal range.

“I think we got a lot of layups,” McGraw said. “I thought we missed a fair amount of shots, but I thought we did get some good shots close in.

“We scored 96 points making four three-pointers. I like to see that.”

Senior guard Charel Allen made only two field goals in the first half, but scored seven in 10 minutes of second-half play. She had three straight field goals midway through the second half, a streak that included a finger roll in the lane and an off-balance three-pointer.

Peters had seven points and nine rebounds and also had five of Notre Dame’s eight blocks. Barlow was 5-of-9 shooting and scored 13 points with five rebounds and five steals.

Junior forward Katie Cezat scored 23 points, had eight rebounds for the Chargers and consistently drained shots over Notre Dame defenders.

“We probably should have put [freshman forward] Devereaux [Peters] on her earlier,” McGraw said.

Chargers coach Claudette Charney attributed Cezat’s ability to hit shots with defenders in her face to Cezat’s unorthodox shooting style.

“She brings the ball back a little bit behind her head, so she can get that shot off against bigger kids, which she did tonight,” Charney said.

The Irish also struggled to find a way to stop senior forward Julie Slot, who scored 20 points and made four out of five from three-point range.

“I thought Julie Slot was the best player on the floor tonight,” McGraw said. “She did everything that she could do to help her team win.”


uMcGraw named Williamson the starting center for the regular-season opener.

“You can’t take anything for granted, it could change the next day,” Williamson said. “It’s a privilege to be a starter, but I still know that [senior center] Mel [D’Amico] is a fantastic player.”

uGaines injured her right elbow underneath the basket in the second half. She left the court, but returned after the game with an ice bag on the inside of the elbow. McGraw did not know the extent of the injury and said Gaines would have it X-rayed.