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ND Women’s Basketball: Four in double digits as ND routs EMU

Bill Brink | Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In the absence of two key players, the Irish bench filled the gap.

Freshmen Natalie Novosel and Erica Solomon scored 18 and 12 points, respectively off the bench and No. 11 Notre Dame beat Eastern Michigan 83-63 on the road Tuesday.

The Irish, who lost forward Devereaux Peters for the season and missed guard Ashley Barlow in this game because of a concussion she suffered against Michigan State, needed production off the bench and got it.

“Natalie was a huge lift off the bench for us, she really played well the whole game but gave us a great spark in the first half,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said.

Guard Lindsay Schrader had 17 points and 10 rebounds and guard Melissa Lechlitner added 15.

“Lech in the second half really took control of the game offensively,” McGraw said.

Novosel’s 18 points, along with her eight rebounds, were a career high. Notre Dame out-rebounded Eastern Michigan 60-44. In addition to Schrader’s 10, Bruszewski had six and center Erica Williamson had five.

Notre Dame (6-0) led 50-33 with 14 minutes remaining in the second half, but Eastern Michigan (2-5) closed the gap to seven with 9:14 remaining. Four points from guard Cassie Schrock and a 3-pointer from guard Mary Lawson helped erase the deficit.

Three free throws from forward Becca Bruszewski and a Schrader jump shot helped the Irish regain a 13-point lead, and a six-point run near the end of the second half put Notre Dame ahead by 20. Eastern Michigan would not get closer than 15 for the rest of the game.

Schrock finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, but shot only 3-for-11 from the field. She got her points from the foul line, where she made 10-of-14 free throws. Both teams went to the foul line often in the game. Notre Dame made 25 of its 40 free throws, and Eastern Michigan sank 22 of its 28.

“I thought we played okay defensively in the first half but we just fouled too much,” McGraw said. “That was not a good disciplined effort.”

Mary Lawson scored 14 points and hit 4-of-12 shots from 3-point range. Aside from Lawson, however, the Irish defended the 3-point line well: the Eagles made only 5-of-20 3-point attempts.

“We’re getting better at it,” McGraw said. “The freshmen have to figure out how to learn how to find one person.”

The advantage on the glass resulted partially from Notre Dame’s size advantage. Three of Notre Dame’s five starters and two of their bench players are over six feet, but the Eagles had only two starters over six feet tall.

The Irish turned the ball over 18 times, three more than the Eagles. The turnover deficit was unusual for Notre Dame, who usually leads in the turnover department.

“We were really sloppy with the ball, careless, nonchalant, we really didn’t look like we had a lot of focus,” McGraw said.

Notre Dame jumped out to a 9-2 lead, but free throws from Schrock and two jumpers from guard Tavelyn James brought the score to 19-13 with 6:27 left in the first half.

Lechlitner’s two layups sent the Irish on a 10-4 run to take a 29-17 lead. Six Eagle foul shots pulled Eastern Michigan within 12 points at the half.

Foul shots also helped at the start of the second half, keeping Eastern Michigan within 10 points, but then the Irish started their run and put the game out of reach.