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ND Women’s Basketball: Back to business

Molly Sammon | Monday, February 13, 2012

After snapping a 23-game win-streak in a loss to West Virginia on Sunday, the No. 4 Irish turn to Providence at home tonight looking for a win to put them back on a winning track.

“[Providence] has very good guard play, and they’re very quick,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “Their post play is also very good, and they have a good inside-outside game.”

The Friars (13-12, 5-7 Big East) are flirting above the .500 mark after beating Seton Hall 62-47 at home Saturday. The Friars also took down the team that just handed the Irish their second loss of the season, beating West Virginia 51-48 on Jan. 14 in a comeback win.

After their own bout with the Mountaineers, the Irish had just one practice to squeeze in Monday afternoon before taking on the Friars.

“I am expecting us to play very well tomorrow,” McGraw said. “Practice went well for us.

“I am hoping to have the same intensity [against Providence].”

The Friars shoot 36.1 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from behind the three-point line.

Notre Dame is 19-0 all-time against the Friars. The last time the Irish took on Providence, sophomore forward Natalie Achonwa scored a career-high 13 points in only nine minutes of play en route to a 79-43 Notre Dame victory on Dec. 8, 2010. The Friars suffered 23 turnovers in last season’s match-up, the Big East opener for both teams.

Junior guard Skylar Diggins scored a career high 32 points against West Virginia on Sunday, and McGraw said that she expects a similar offensive performance from Diggins against the Friars.

“She really attacked well in the West Virginia game, and she was really the only one that was getting anything going offensively, and she took advantage of that,” McGraw said. “I know she’ll do the same thing again tomorrow.”

McGraw added that in order for the Irish to ensure the Providence contest does not start a losing streak, a strong first half is a crucial component of her team’s strategy.

“It will be very important for us to come out with a lot of intensity right from the start,” she said.

Notre Dame’s contest against Providence marks the fifth community outreach game of the 2011-12 season. Attendees are encouraged to bring small bathroom items for donation to the YWCA of North Central Indiana for its “Splish Splash” collection.

Notre Dame takes the court against Providence at 7 p.m. in the Purcell Pavilion before a six-day layoff from action.

 

Contact Molly Sammon at msammon@nd.edu