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Women face No. 23 Boston College

Heather VanHoegarden | Friday, January 30, 2004

So much for enjoying a win.Just two days after defeating No. 16 Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., Notre Dame will face another ranked opponent, No. 23 Boston College, at the Joyce Center Saturday at noon. The Irish (12-7, 5-2 in the Big East) are 5-3 against ranked opponents this season.The Golden Eagles (14-4, 4-3) are fresh off a 76-42 pounding of Providence Wednesday, where guard Amber Jacobs scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting.Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said stopping the guard trio of Jacobs, Jessalyn Deveny and Claire Droesch will be her team’s first priority.”Boston College’s guards are just really good,” McGraw said. “They don’t beat themselves. They’re a little like Villanova in that they’re very smart and good shooters.”Deveny averages 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and Jacobs tallies 15.7 points and 4.6 assists a contest. Droesch comes off the bench to score 7.9 points per game.Those three are the center of an Eagles offense that shot 54 percent against Providence Wednesday night.Meanwhile, the Irish will look to win their fifth straight game against a ranked opponent. Notre Dame has beaten Virginia Tech, Connecticut, Villanova and Miami since Jan. 10. Those wins have put Notre Dame in a tie for second place in the conference, with Miami and West Virginia at 5-2. Connecticut, whom Notre Dame defeated 66-51 on Jan. 13, leads the Big East at 6-1.On Wednesday, Notre Dame faced a 16-1 Miami team averaging 75 points a game. But the Irish defense, which has suffocated opponents for the past three weeks, used a zone to hold the Hurricanes to a mere 50 points, including just 22 in the second half.McGraw praised her team’s defense after the game but said she was even more excited about the performances of bench players Crystal Erwin, Katy Flecky and Breona Gray.”We’re playing with a lot of confidence, and the good news is we’re getting a lot more contributions with [Erwin], [Flecky] and [Gray] coming off the bench,” McGraw said. “They’re just playing great, and that’s a big boost for our offense. That’s something we’ve been missing – to see our benching scoring so many points is a great thing.”In the Miami victory, Notre Dame’s bench outscored the Hurricanes’ bench 33-8. Gray and Flecky each had seven points, while Gray added four points. Courtney LaVere led the team with 15 bench points.Irish forward Jacqueline Batteast continued her outstanding play; she has either reached or been just short of a double-double in her past eight games, dating back to Jan 4. She has averaged 15.3 points and 8.5 rebounds this season. Guard Megan Duffy also averages in double figures in points with 11.2 per game.Notre Dame’s greatest advantage Saturday will be the Joyce Center. The Irish are a perfect 8-0 at home this season.”We’re hoping for a big crowd, because that’s what’s really been helping us at home,” McGraw said.