Irish stumble on the road
Heather VanHoegarden | Monday, February 9, 2004
After allowing only 17 points in the first half, Notre Dame gave up 34 points and blew its six-point lead in the second half to lose to Seton Hall 51-45.
The No. 23 Irish (14-8, 7-3 Big East) found themselves unable to score in the second half, as they tallied only 22 points in the frame and didn’t have a player in double-digits.
Meanwhile the Pirates (13-8, 5-5 Big East) were led by reserve center LaNedra Brown, who scored all 10 of her points in the final 9:21 on 4-for-7 shooting. In the second half, Seton Hall shot 54.5 percent after only shooting 22.2 percent in the first 20 minutes of play.
The loss puts the Irish at an abysmal 3-8 on the road this season and drops them into a tie with Rutgers for third place in the Big East behind Connecticut and West Virginia.
“Basically it was just one of those games where we couldn’t catch a break,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “We had a lot of shots that would normally go down that just didn’t seem to fall today.”
Notre Dame’s leading scorer Jacqueline Batteast was hampered by foul trouble, and was limited to only nine points on 3-for-15 shooting. Le’Tania Severe also scored nine points, and Courtney LaVere added eight off the bench.
“I thought we played pretty good defense, but our offense really struggled today,” McGraw said.
In the first half, the Irish went on a 10-0 run, led by two power moves by Crystal Erwin, to put them up 14-10 with 11:50 remaining in the half. They extended the lead to 21-13, the biggest lead of the game, before finishing the half with a 23-17 lead.
However, the second half was another story, as the game went back and forth. The Irish gained a 33-29 lead on a three-point play by Severe. But Seton Hall hit two free throws to put them ahead 41-40 with 4:40 remaining.
Ashley Bush (nine points, six rebounds, five steals), scored on a drive to put the Pirates ahead 43-41 with 3:21 left. Batteast then hit one of two free throws with 2:11 remaining to cut the lead to one.
But Brown was too much, as she hit a 14-foot jumper with 43 seconds left and the shot clock winding down. Seton Hall’s Melissa Langelier (13 points) made four free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the win.
For the Pirates, it was their first win over a top-25 opponent since 1994 when they defeated then-No. 25 Texas in the NCAA Tournament.
“Give a lot of credit to Seton Hall, they played us very tough and were in our faces for the whole 40 minutes,” McGraw said.
Now the Irish must regroup after yet another disappointing road loss.
“Right now we’re just going to have to get together and refocus for Providence next Saturday,” McGraw said.