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Peters’ efforts on both ends of floor spur team to win

Bill Brink | Thursday, January 17, 2008

After 37 minutes of basketball, Villanova forward Lisa Karcic was frustrated. Her team was down by 10 points, and they couldn’t mount a comeback despite shooting 56.3 percent from behind the arc.

But she had to be frustrated with Irish freshman forward Devereaux Peters. All night, Peters had disrupted the Wildcats offense, throwing her lanky limbs in front of shots and passes and destroying Villanova’s momentum. She had also lived on the block all night and finished with a career-high 15 points.

So because Karcic couldn’t beat Peters, she used the only outlet available to her to take out her frustration. As Peters backed into the lane, Karcic reached around and popped her in the jaw.

Unfazed, Peters found guard Lindsay Schrader for the layup, then proceeded to steal a pass, run the length of the court, and make both free throws after she was fouled attempting a layup.

By disrupting Villanova’s offense, Peters put together one of her best games of the season.

“She’s everywhere. She takes up a lot of ground,” Villanova head coach Harry Perretta said. “She’s guarding our guards. She’s faster than our point guard.”

Along with her 15 points, which came on 5-of-8 shooting, Peters had six rebounds, three blocks and seven steals in the game. No player has had seven steals in a game since Megan Duffy did it on Jan. 30, 2005, when the Irish ended No. 9/10 Connecticut’s 112-game winning steak at home against conference opponents. She was also perfect from the foul line, hitting all five free throws she took.

Peters made a living on the block underneath the basket and waited for a lob pass from her teammates. Once it came, her adeptness at turning for the lay-in made life difficult for defenders.

Her natural affinity for defense made itself apparent as soon as she entered the game. Seconds after entering the lineup, she tipped a cross-court pass that resulted in a turnover and scored on the ensuing Irish possession.

“Our game plan changes when she comes in the game because she can do so many things, so many things well defensively,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “We really want her on the floor as much as we can have her there.”

Villanova’s offense suffocated when Peters participated in the press. Her height and long arms got in Villanova’s way, and her quick feet carried her back and forth as she blanketed the Wildcat guards.

Villanova guard Siobhan O’Conner’s eyes grew wide with fright as Peters descended on her during the press. Indeed, the Wildcat offensive machine suffered technical difficulties and at times lost even the ability to dribble and pass when Peters applied pressure.

The views expressed in this column are those of the authoer and not necessarly those of The Observer.

Contact Bill Brink at wbrink@nd.edu.