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ND Women’s Basketball: Barlow, Peters succeed against LSU defense

Bill Brink | Monday, November 17, 2008

Ashley Barlow scored 19 points, Lindsay Schrader scored 13 and No. 16 Notre Dame beat No. 24 LSU 62-53 in Baton Rouge, La. Sunday.

Barlow, a junior guard, hit two 3-pointers and two free throws in the first four minutes of the second half to give Notre Dame a 36-28 lead. The teams were tied at 24 at the half when Notre Dame went on a 13-4 run.

“In the first half we were reluctant to shoot,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said in a telephone interview. “We needed to stretch the defense. We talked about shooting more in the second half. She took advice well. She came out and looked for her shot.”

Sophomore forward Devereaux Peters, in her first game back since tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in February, shot 6-for-7 from the field and scored 12 points. She also had six rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

“She played a great game,” McGraw said. “I thought she was the key to the game for us.”

McGraw said Peters helped the defense and displayed a good deal of versatility.

“When she came in we were able to press,” McGraw said. “She rebounded, blocked shots, got some steals, she did a little bit of everything. I thought she changed the game when she came in.

The Irish held the Tigers scoreless from 3-point range; LSU went 0-for-4 from behind the arc.

“I couldn’t be happier with that,” McGraw said. “That’s what we needed to do.”

After Barlow helped pull the team ahead, the Irish led for the rest of the second half. Another Solomon free throw gave Notre Dame a 39-30 lead with 15:04 remaining. Courtney Jones made a layup, and then Allison Hightower stole the ball from Barlow and made another layup to pull the score within 43-40. But a Schrader layup, a Peters jump shot and a free throw from forward Becca Bruzsewski started a 10-point run to put Notre Dame ahead 53-40 with 6:30 left.

Andrea Kelly led the Tigers with 10 points, and Katherine Graham pulled down nine rebounds.

McGraw said she knew the game would be a defensive battle based on LSU’s lineup, and she wasn’t disappointed. The first half started slow for both teams; Notre Dame led 11-6 with 10:50 left in the first half.

“LSU was very good defensively,” McGraw said. “Their guards on the perimeter are good and they’re big and strong inside.”

A free throw from freshman forward Erica Solomon put the Irish ahead 18-10, but the Tigers went on a 10-point run to take a 20-18 lead with 4:46 left. Schrader’s lay-up tied the score at 20, and the teams traded free throws to end the first half tied at 24.

Notre Dame shot 44 percent from field-goal range in the game, but only hit 36 percent in the first half. In the second half, it made 52 percent of its shots. The Tigers only hit 33 percent of their shots, but had a better free throw percentage (81) than Notre Dame (67).