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ND Women’s Basketball: Friared up

Matthew Robison | Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coming off a home loss to West Virginia that snapped a 21-game Irish winning streak, both graduate student forward Devereaux Peters and junior guard Skylar Diggins answered with 19 points apiece in No. 4 Notre Dame’s 66-47 victory over Providence on Tuesday in the Purcell Pavilion.

Notre Dame (25-2, 12-1 Big East) did not get off to the start it had hoped and trailed 18-17 in the early going. Providence (13-13, 5-8) broke Notre Dame’s press early and often, breaking out in transition to get easy layups and jump shots.

“They handled our press really well, a lot better than we wanted them to,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “We had a little bit of a slower start than I expected. I really thought we’d have a great bounce-back game.”

Diggins pushed the Notre Dame lead to 33-20 when she snagged a steal and took it the length of the court for a layup. In a half in which both teams turned the ball over 10 times, the Irish claimed a 37-27 advantage going into the locker room.

“We had some turnovers, just got a little sloppy,” McGraw said. “We were quicker to be frustrated. I think the little mistakes kind of got magnified in that stretch.”

Although Diggins led the team in scoring in the first half, she recognized there were points when she could have controlled the game more.

“Pushing the pace is fine, but I’ve got to notice times when we need to slow it down,” She said. “Sometimes I get anxious.”

The Friars hung around for most of the second half, keeping within striking distance of the Irish. Notre Dame’s half-court offense never appeared in sync, which prevented them from pulling away until late. But by the 7:59 point of the second half, Notre Dame had opened up a 16-point advantage.

“I thought we played a lot better defensively in the second half,” McGraw said. “A couple of times we let them loose for threes. [Peters] did a great job on the boards.”

Peters recorded her eighth double-double of the season by grabbing 11 rebounds to continue her rebounding tear. She struggled with the aggressiveness of West Virginia’s post players Sunday but enforced her will down low Tuesday, going seven for 10 from the field.

“I just want to go in there and rebound,” Peters said. “That first day where I had the 16 boards [Jan. 23], it clicked like, ‘I could be doing this every night.'”

Whenever the Irish offense seemed to stall in the half-court, Diggins got things going. She also pushed the ball in transition off turnovers and missed shots.

“She’s on a roll,” McGraw said. “She’s so hard to guard when the other team wants to come up and try to slow us down. She can just dribble right through. When you’re rebounding like [Peters] is doing and getting the ball in quickly and throwing it ahead to her, good things are going to happen.”

Diggins added she looks for Peters to finish the fast break.

“As [Peters] raised her level of play, getting a rebound, I’m going to be right there, following her, trying to start the break, and she’s going to run,” Diggins said. “Our team is going to run.”

Sophomore Kayla McBride added nine points and five rebounds for the Irish. The win keeps the Irish unbeaten in the all-time series against Providence in 20 meetings.

Providence redshirt senior Teya Wright, Providence’s leading scorer and rebounder, went down early with an injury. She returned with 13:37 to play in the first half and scored just five points in the game.

The Irish continue their Big East schedule Feb. 20 at Louisville.

 

Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu