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Irish open season 1-1

Joe Hettler | Monday, November 17, 2003

Muffet McGraw wanted her team to compete hard against two of the top teams in the country in the WBCA tournament last weekend. After beating No. 22 Auburn 77-64 then falling to No. 20 Colorado 67-63 in overtime, Notre Dame did just that to open the season 1-1.”I was pleased with our attitudes,” McGraw said. “I thought we really competed well.”The Irish opened their season by knocking off the defending WNIT champion Tigers behind Jacqueline Batteast’s 27 points on 12-20 shooting. Katy Flecky added 17 points and made all six of her free throws. One of the keys to Notre Dame’s victory was stopping Auburn star forward Natasha Brackett. Brackett only scored 14 points on 4-10 shooting. McGraw said the team’s zone defense was the key to containing Brackett.”We were in a zone all game and did a great job on her the whole game,” McGraw said. “We always knew where she was on the court.”Batteast led Notre Dame’s first half charge as she scored 11 points in the first nine minutes to help give the Irish a 36-27 halftime edge. Flecky put the game away with a 3-pointer with under five minutes to play to push the game out of reach for Auburn.Notre Dame jumped on Colorado from the opening tip and took a 12-0 lead. But the Buffaloes battled back to cut the lead to 37-33 at halftime.The Irish lead by three with less than ten seconds left in the game, but Colorado’s Veronica Johns-Richardson drilled a three-pointer as time expired to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, the Buffaloes’ Emily Waner hit a three-pointer with 12.6 seconds remaining and the Colorado defense held on Notre Dame’s next possession to clinch the win and the tournament championship.Batteast had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Le’Tania Severe had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead the Irish.Notre Dame had several opportunities to finish off the Buffaloes but could not capitalize. Megan Duffy missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw chance with 19 seconds left in regulation with Notre Dame up three points. Batteast also turned the ball over on the Irish last possession.Overall McGraw said she liked what she saw during the weekend’s games and looks forward to improving during this week’s practices. The Irish play next against Valparaiso at home Friday. “We need to really bear down now and work on the little things,” McGraw said. “We’re on the right track.”Contact Joe Hettler at [email protected]