Heather VanHoegarden | Thursday, February 26, 2004
Wednesday night, the Irish gave fans a glimpse of just what they are capable of.
They played their best game of the year at a time when they had to. Notre Dame couldn’t go wrong and Miami couldn’t do right.
The Irish forced 37 turnovers and held the usually fast breaking Hurricanes to four points on the break.
But that wasn’t the most staggering statistic. Notre Dame’s bench scored almost as many points as the entire Miami team, dropping 40 to Miami’s two.
Wednesday night was an indication – an indication of just how good this team can be. The Irish first gave a glimpse Jan. 13 when they beat then-No. 4 Connecticut.
And, against Miami, Notre Dame was not to be stopped. They shot a staggering 57.9 percent and put up 93 points – 35 more than the Hurricanes.
The win would be one thing if it was against a team like Providence, Pittsburgh or Seton Hall. But it wasn’t.
The Irish blew out a top-25 team that had only four losses coming into the game, with none of those losses coming by more than nine points. Miami was tied for fourth in the Big East, but that changed the minute they set foot on the court of the Joyce Center.
Notre Dame ran circles around No. 21 Miami. Senior Chanivia Broussard, who averages 14.6 points per game, turned the ball over 13 times, while junior point guard Yalonda McCormick turned it over 10 times. Talk about double-doubles.
Meanwhile, Irish junior Jacqueline Batteast had a double-double of her own with 23 points and 10 rebounds, in addition to mention six steals.
Notre Dame did what they had to do to win and more. They beat a good Miami team at their own game, as the Irish were the ones scoring in transition for most of the contest.
Everyone was in on the action, unlike the Connecticut game when Batteast took over the game. Instead, everyone with a Notre Dame jersey on made a significant impact on the court. It was the epitome of a team win.
Even the Joyce Center crowd didn’t know what to think of the blowout – they just watched in awe as the Irish kept building a greater lead.
But for Notre Dame, it couldn’t come at a better time. After coming off a tough road stretch that saw the Irish play down to the level of their opponents (they only beat Pittsburgh, who is 2-12 Big East, by four), Notre Dame couldn’t have picked a better time to play like they know they can.
So with two regular season Big East games remaining before the conference tournament, the Irish hope that their intensity and desire can carry over to the road Saturday at Rutgers. And, now that they know how to play their game, Notre Dame should have no problem making a good showing in their final games.
It just took them 93 points to realize what they can do.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Heather Van Hoegarden at [email protected]