ND Women’s Basketball: Revenge exacted for ND in win over DePaul
Bill Brink | Monday, February 25, 2008
On Saturday, Notre Dame avenged its one-point loss to DePaul earlier this season –beating the Blue Demons in McGrath Arena for the first time in 17 years and grabbing a one-game lead over Syracuse for fourth place in the Big East standings.
Sophomore center Erica Williamson had 16 points and eight rebounds and No. 14 Notre. Dame beat DePaul 66-64 Sunday in a tight finish.
The Irish (21-6, 9-4 Big East) have won six of their last seven games. The loss dropped the Blue Demons to 18-8 (7-6 Big East).
The Irish led 60-55 with less than six minutes remaining, but freshman forward Felicia Chester and senior forward Caprice Smith each hit shots to bring the Blue Demons within one. From there, DePaul’s fouls undid sophomore guard Deirdre Naughton’s efforts to bring her team back.
Williamson hit two foul shots and senior guard Charel Allen hit a jumper to extend the lead to five, but Naughton’s 3-pointer brought DePaul back within two. Allen was fouled, but hit only one of the shots, and Naughton made another shot to make the score 65-64 with 12 seconds left.
McGraw said her team did well controlling Naughton for most of the game.
“We left her wide open, accidentally,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said of Naughton’s late 3-pointer. “And then she made the driving layup. But I thought we did a good job on her overall.”
Allen was fouled on the inbounds play and again made only one of the free throws, but Notre Dame still held the lead.
McGraw said she was not nervous about the team’s foul shooting late in the game even though Allen missed two of her four.
“You saw us go right back to inbounding to Charel,” McGraw said. “We want her on the line.”
Allen finished with 12 points, junior guard Lindsay Schrader had 11 and sophomore guard Ashley Barlow added 10.
Blue Demons senior guard Allie Quigley had 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting, Chester had 14 and Smith had 10.
Notre Dame led 39-32 at the half, but DePaul’s 9-0 run after halftime made the score 41-39 until Williamson scored with 16:43 remaining.
“We missed some shots, we turned the ball over a little bit,” McGraw said. “The ball just slipped through our hands.”
From there, the score would stay within five for the rest of the game.
DePaul took a 24-18 lead after Quigley made two free throws with 7:30 left in the first half, but the Irish went on a 19-6 run to end the half. In the final two minutes, Allen and freshman guard Brittany Mallory hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help widen the lead.
Sophomore guard Melissa Lechlitner got her first start of her collegiate career in place of Barlow, who missed practice this week after her grandfather’s death. Barlow met the team in Chicago Sunday after spending time with her family.
“[Lechlitner] scored the first four points, got us off to a great start,” McGraw said. “When she made those first shots, I was proud of her.”
McGraw said Barlow played well given the circumstances and that she will probably regain her starting role.