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Women’s Basketball: Irish blast RedHawks in opener

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 12, 2007

Lindsay Schrader proved that the torn ACL she suffered before last season doesn’t affect her anymore.

At least not her jump shot, anyway.

The junior guard hit 10 of her 12 shots from the field, including six straight in the first half, and Notre Dame beat Miami (Ohio) 98-50 in the first round of the preseason NIT Friday at the Joyce Center.

“When you’re feeling it, you’re feeling it, I guess,” said Schrader, who scored 20 points in only 17 minutes.

Irish coach Muffet McGraw liked Schrader’s intensity early in the game.

“Lindsay, I thought especially, really came out fired up,” McGraw said. “She was ready to go. I was really happy with the way we shot the ball in the beginning.”

Notre Dame advanced to the second round of the 16-team tournament and will host Western Kentucky Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Notre Dame took over the game with double-digit scoring runs in the first. The Irish jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game. After RedHawks senior guard Amanda Jackson hit two free throws, the Irish took off on a five minute, 16-point run.

Miami went more than eight minutes in the first half without a field goal.

After forward Michele Weynandt’s baseline jumper with 17:27 to play in the half, Notre Dame did not allow a field goal until junior guard Jenna Schone came open off a screen and made a jump shot in the lane with 9:11 remaining. McGraw attributed the scoring runs and defensive stoutness to improved play in the paint and her bench players.

“We rebounded a little bit better,” McGraw said. “Our transition game was working. We were able to run the floor. I think we were fresh because we were able to sub so frequently, and I think that’s a big plus for us now, seeing how we can run with a little bit of rest.”

The Irish may have gotten too comfortable with the lead, however. They stopped scoring and committed mental errors – passing the ball out of bounds, turning the ball over, and leaving their feet too soon. They allowed two quick three-pointers, one by Jackson and the other by sophomore guard Courtney Reed, within 30 seconds. The RedHawks went on a 13-2 run in a two-minute period and brought the score to 38-21.

“We had a little bit of a lull, but we responded,” McGraw said. “We got in some serious foul trouble late in the half.”

The Notre Dame bench scored 38 points in the game. Sophomore center Erica Williamson had nine rebounds, and freshman forward Devereaux Peters had eight.

In the last three minutes of the half, Notre Dame returned to its previous level of play and went on a 9-2 run. Senior guard Tulyah Gaines wove her way into the lane for a layup. Sophomore guard Melissa Lechlitner, who had 10 points and six assists, left her defender motionless with a quick spin move and had an open path to the basket. Freshman guard Brittany Mallory hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the corner to end the half.

The Irish started the second half much like they did the first, scoring seven points in the first three minutes and forcing Schone to commit two quick fouls. Leading 55-31 with 15:39 remaining, the Irish went on a five-minute, 16-2 run.

“We just continued to be active,” said sophomore guard Ashley Barlow, who had 19 points in the game, said of the scoring runs. “We got off to a good start.”

The teams traded points for the remainder of the game, but Notre Dame outscored Miami 27-17 in the final 10 minutes.

Notre Dame played both zone and man defense with success – the RedHawks shot only 27.9 percent from field goal range.

Schrader was excited about how her team might be perceived after the game.

“I want to know what their players and their coaches say about our team,” Schrader said. “Before the game, and now after the game, and I want to see what the difference is. I don’t know what they said before game. But I bet it’s changed.”