ND Women’s Basketball: Irish to test press against Hoyas
Joe Meixell | Friday, January 18, 2008
Notre Dame will face another tough Big East road test this weekend when it travels to Washington to play Georgetown Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Hoyas are next to last in the Big East at 0-3, but still hold an overall winning record (10-6) like every other team in the conference. Georgetown has done a good job of securing its home court so far this season, with its only loss in the MCI Center a 57-47 defeat at the hands of No. 5 Rutgers Tuesday.
“There are no easy conference games, even at home,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “You have to go into every game expecting a battle.”
Pacing the charge for the Hoyas will likely be senior forward Kieraah Marlow, who leads the team with 15.2 points per game – Georgetown’s only scorer in double figures. She also has 6.8 boards per game.
“Marlow is a tough match-up for us,” McGraw said. “She will be able to face up our big guys and post up our guards.”
McGraw also said her squad will have to match up well with Georgetown’s big women, especially 6-foot-5 center Aminata Diop. McGraw said she will likely give more minutes to centers Erica Williamson (6-foot-4) and Melissa D’Amico (6-foot-5). In Notre Dame’s 69-58 win over Villanova Wednesday, Williamson played only eight minutes and D’Amico never came off the bench.
“[Villanova] is a small team and they took advantage of Mel defensively last year,” McGraw said. “Erica looked better in practice last week guarding on the perimeter so she got the start. Mel, Erica and [freshman forward] Becca [Bruszewski] should all get more minutes against their bigs.”
McGraw said she will not tinker with her lineup from Wednesday night’s win, choosing to keep freshman forward Devereaux Peters on the bench – at least at tip-off.
Peters had a strong game at both ends of the court against the Wildcats, tallying 15 points, six boards, seven steals and three blocks in 28 minutes. McGraw said she would like to see Peters get more minutes, something that could be difficult since Peters has fouled out of all but one of conference game this season.
Another big factor for Notre Dame’s offense against the Hoyas will be junior guard Lindsay Schrader, who hit all five field goal attempts against Villanova despite giving McGraw her biggest scare of the season.
Schrader went down hard on the court grabbing her left knee, bringing memories to the Irish coach of when Schrader tore the ACL on her right knee last preseason. Schrader said after Wednesday night’s game that she knew it was not the same kind of pain as when she tore her ACL, but McGraw said that it was still a “personal scary moment” for her.
The Hoyas do not present the same 3-point threat that Villanova did, having hit only 31.7 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. Against Notre Dame, Villanova was 9-of-16 from three-point land – something that has been McGraw’s biggest concern for the last two seasons.
“They had a kid last year who made five, but she graduated,” McGraw said. “But we still have to guard them tight out there. I think most of Villanova’s were in transition and not against the man-to-man.”