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Irish suffer letdown in loss to West Virginia

Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, January 19, 2004

After defeating two top-25 opponents in four days, Notre Dame was unable to sustain that momentum against West Virginia Saturday, losing 64-51. Notre Dame was led once again by Jacqueline Batteast, who registered her third consecutive double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting. Batteast has been dominating in Big East play this season (four games), averaging 19.3 points on 63.5 percent shooting and 10 rebounds. Her performance Saturday, however, was not enough to catapult her team to victory.After jumping out to a 10-4 lead after about seven minutes, the Irish fell apart. West Virginia (11-5, 3-2 Big East) went on a 24-0 run in the next eight minutes, putting them ahead 28-10.Notre Dame (9-7, 2-2 Big East) committed 17 turnovers in the first half alone, and took 18 fewer shots than the Mountaineers in the first half. This poor performance allowed West Virginia to build a 36-17 halftime lead, as they scored 17 of their 36 points off Irish turnovers.However, last year in Morgantown, the Mountaineers built a 13-point halftime lead, only to lose to the Irish 66-59. For a while it seemed as though history might repeat itself, as the Irish started the half with a 6-0 run. Jeneka Joyce proceeded to hit a three to make it 41-33, West Virginia. A Teresa Borton layup cut the lead to six with 11:53 to play, but a pair of Mountaineer jumpers put the lead back into double digits.”In the locker room everybody just said, ‘Guys this is exactly what happened last year,'” West Virginia senior Michelle Carter told msnsportsnet.com. “We came out and laid down for them and they beat us. We just said we’re not going to let that happen to us this time.”The Irish cut the lead to eight again with 5:24 remaining, but a West Virginia putback boosted the lead into double digits again. Notre Dame got it to single digits on more time at 3:32, but West Virginia answered with a layup to give them a double digit lead for good.Notre Dame outrebounded West Virginia 33-32, and the Mountaineers took 16 more shots than the Irish, negating the good shooting of Notre Dame (22-for-44). West Virginia was automatic at the foul line, hitting 17-of-18 attempts, compared to the Irish who only made 3-of-12 from the stripe. The Mountaineers only turned the ball over nine times on the game.Kate Bulger led three Mountaineers in double digits with 20 points, while Yolanda Paige had 14 points and six assists. Janell Dunlap added 10 points.Meanwhile, Courtney LaVere was the only other Irish player in double digits, with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting.It was the first win in 12 games for the Mountaineers against the Irish, Notre Dame’s seventh road loss. This year, the Irish are 2-7 away from the Joyce Center.”This is a great win, but like I told our girls after the game, ‘This is a great win, enjoy it tonight, we’re off tomorrow and it is back to business on Monday,'” West Virginia coach Mike Carey told msnsportsnet.com.But as disappointed as the Irish were, the Mountaineers were twice as happy with their key Big East win.”This is a great win for us,” Carey said. “Notre Dame has had a lot of great wins and it’s about time for us … it’s our turn to have a great win.”