ND Women’s Basketball: Back on track
Alex Barker | Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Junior forward Becca Bruszewski led five Irish scorers in double figures with 18 points as No. 3/4 Notre Dame easily dispatched of IPFW 96-60 Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion.
Bruszewski also finished with five assists and four steals, both of which are career highs.
“Becca got us off to a great start tonight,” Irish coach Muffett McGraw said. “Our postgame really came on and we finally got the ball inside a bit like we’ve been trying to do.”
As a team, the Irish (8-0) shot a season-high 57.8 percent from the field, including 62 points in the paint.
“Tonight I thought we were really smart about not just settling for the three,” McGraw said. “We took them when we had them, but we looked inside more which was a really good thing because we need to do that in order to get better as a team.”
Senior guard Lindsay Schrader finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds while classmate Ashley Barlow added 12 points and three steals for the Irish.
“Anyone can have a 20-point night on this team,” Bruszewski said. “It’s just ball movement and who’s open at the right time. If we get our defense down, we are going be hard to beat.”
Applying full-court pressure and a fierce half-court trap for much of the game, Notre Dame forced 31 turnovers, 22 of which were steals, leading to 37 points. The Irish have forced at least 20 turnovers in every game this season.
“It’s what we’re trying to do,” McGraw said of the defensive pressure. “We want to press, we want to attack, we want to be aggressive and we’re hoping to run a lot off of the transition.”
Notre Dame came out strong, forcing three early turnovers to jump out to a 6-0 lead.
“We just like to get out and start off strong,” Bruszewski said. “We get so pumped up before the game and we really want to come out and set the tone.”
IPFW responded by going on a tear from the three-point line, grabbing an 18-17 lead after Chelsey Jackson’s jumper with 10:18 remaining in the first half.
The Irish roared back in front just seconds later behind two Erica Williamson foul shots and took a 41-28 lead into halftime.
Notre Dame put the game out of reach in the second half after a 13-4 run capped off by a steal and a layup from sophomore Fraderica Miller with 15:21 remaining in the game.
“We were getting mad,” Schrader said of the spurt. “We were just frustrated that we could be up by 30 over this team, but we weren’t.”
Mastodon guard Anne Boese led all scorers with 24 points on 6-of-8 shooting from behind the arc and 4-of-4 shooting from the free-throw line.
“Boese was spectacular today,” McGraw said. “We had a tough time finding her and shutting her down tonight.”
Despite another slow start for the Irish, McGraw was happy with the strides that her team has made since its last time out.
“I was pleased with the intensity,” she said. “We worked a lot harder. We played faster. It was definitely a huge improvement from Eastern Michigan.”
The Irish will play host to another in-state opponent when they take on Valparaiso Saturday at Purcell Pavilion.