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ND Women’s Basketball: Total domination

Laura Myers | Thursday, November 4, 2010

Skylar Diggins and the No. 12 Irish were more than ready to show what they could do as they began their season Wednesday night against Michigan Tech.

“It seems like we’ve been waiting forever to play this first game,” the sophomore point guard said.

Once the game started, though, it didn’t take long to overwhelm the Huskies, whom the Irish defeated 102-30.

Notre Dame scored the first 17 points of the game, and went into halftime leading 52-14.

“We were a little shocked to start the game,” Huskies coach Kim Cameron said. “… This is the best competition we’ve ever played against.”

Junior guard Natalie Novosel led the Irish with 21 points and six steals. If the game had counted, her 21 would be a new career-high.

“Novosel was player of the game,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “She did everything we expect her to do on a regular basis.”

It was Diggins’ first game in the point guard role, which graduated senior Melissa Lechlitner held in 2009-10. Diggins, a pre-season All-American and All-Big East selection, had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. She said her team made running the offense easy.

“I have so many options … it’s just like, where do I want to go?” she said. “I think my teammates do a great job of knowing what I want to do. They’ve learned my game.”

Novosel, freshman guard Kayla McBride (14 points), senior forward Becca Bruszewski (13), Diggins and sophomore guard Kaila Turner (10) all scored in double digits for the Irish.

“We have so many weapons. So many people that can score,” McGraw said. “That’s going to make us hard to guard. You look at our team and you look at Skylar first. But if you really look at our team, you realize you can’t do that.”

McBride and freshman forward Natalie Achonwa led the team with nine rebounds each.

Both freshmen made impacts quickly in the game. McBride entered early in the first half and immediately grabbed a rebound; Achonwa entered a few minutes later and within 10 seconds snatched two rebounds and scored on a jump shot.

“I was really pleased with both of them tonight,” McGraw said. “Rebounding has been a big problem for us and them each getting nine rebounds, that’s fantastic. I don’t think we’ve seen that kind of production from a freshman on the boards in a while.”

Achonwa and McBride both have experience playing internationally, Achonwa for Canada and McBride for the U.S. under-20 team. But it was their first time playing for the Irish.

“Our entire team was real excited just to come out and get the season started, especially me and Kayla,” Achonwa said.

The Huskies committed 33 turnovers, 25 of which were Irish steals. Notre Dame capitalized, with 45 of their points coming from turnovers. Michigan Tech scored just six points off of 12 Irish turnovers.

Cameron said Notre Dame’s size advantage contributed to the differential.

“You can’t teach that,” she said. “You can’t teach them to be any taller than they are.”

Notre Dame begins its regular season on Nov. 12 against

New Hampshire. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Purcell Pavilion.