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Batteast named MVP of WNIT in Irish win

Joe Hettler | Monday, November 22, 2004

On the best offensive night of her career, it was Jacqueline Batteast’s defense that sealed Notre Dame’s victory.

Batteast tallied a career-high 32 points and made a critical block of a potential game-tying 3-point attempt from Ohio State’s Caity Matter with two seconds left to secure No. 11 Notre Dame’s 66-62 victory against the No. 10 Buckeyes in the final of the preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Saturday evening at the Joyce Center.

“I think the biggest play of the game was Jackie’s block,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “She had to run about 20 feet to get that. She had a spectacular night, a career night. I think in every huddle we said ‘Go to Jackie,’ no matter what play we’re running.”

The Irish trailed 62-54 with 5:18 remaining when Matter made a layup. The Buckeyes did not score the rest of the game as Notre Dame went on a 12-0 for the come-from-behind win.

Batteast started the run by sinking two free throws and then converting a 3-point play with 3:59 left. The All-American had her back to the basket and defender Stephanie Blanton on the left side of the court before spinning toward the baseline and banking in the field goal. Batteast’s free throw made it 62-59.

After freshman Charel Allen grabbed the rebound on Ohio State’s next possession, Notre Dame guard Megan Duffy drilled a tough 3-point shot with a defender’s hand in her face to tie the game at 62-62 and send the almost 4,000 fans at the Joyce Center into a frenzy.

“I was most proud of when we got down eight late in the game and we made our run,” McGraw said. “We didn’t give up. We didn’t panic. We tightened up on defense and we were able to get the ball to Jackie and Megan hit a three. We did a lot of smart things. We didn’t turn the ball over a lot during that stretch.”

Batteast agreed with her coach.

“We were at home, we had the crowd behind us,” the senior forward said. “We were very determined. There was a lot of time left to just be down by eight. Everyone on this team is so confident. We knew as long as we had no more mental lapses, we could start to swing things our way.”

Appropriately, Batteast put the Irish ahead for good at the 2:45 mark when she hit a jumper. Notre Dame had the ball and a three-point lead with just 11 seconds left, when Duffy turned it over. Ohio State’s Tamarah Riley grabbed the ball and fired it to a seemingly free Matter in the right corner of the baseline.

But Batteast anticipated the pass and dashed over just in time to stuff the shot and finalize Notre Dame’s fourth victory of the season.

“I was thinking I didn’t want this game to go into overtime,” said Batteast, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and to the all-tournament team moments after the game ended. “Matter was wide open, and I just did my best to get in her way; I just happened to hit the ball.”

Duffy, who was also named to the all-tournament team, finished the game with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting and added six assists. She also had an uncharacteristic nine turnovers. No one else for the Irish scored more than six points.

Ohio State was led by center Jessica Davenport, who was nearly unstoppable for much of the game, en route to 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting. But Notre Dame didn’t allow her to take a shot during the final four minutes of the game.

Notre Dame finished the preseason WNIT with wins against two top-10 teams and an all-but-guaranteed spot in the top-10 rankings when the newest poll comes out. But the Irish won’t have much time to enjoy the 4-0 start. Colorado State visits the Joyce Center tonight for a 7 p.m. tip.


u Batteast moved into 10th place on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list with 1,401 points during her career.

u The Irish have won 24 straight games at the Joyce Center, which is the second-longest streak in school history.

No. 11 NOTRE DAME 66, No. 10 OHIO STATE 62 at the JOYCE CENTER

NOTRE DAME (4-0, 0-0)

Batteast 11-23 10-12 32, LaVere 1-7 1-2 3, Borton 1-4 2-2 4, Duffy 5-7 2-2 15, Gray 1-2 2-3 4, Allen 3-3 0-0 6, D’Amico 1-2 0-0 2, Erwin 0-5 0-0 0

OHIO STATE (3-1, 0-0)

Munoz 3-4 0-2 6, Davenport 7-10 9-9 23, Hoskins 3-6 0-0 6, Wilburn 3-6 0-1 7, Matter 5-15 3-3 13, Howe 0-0 0-0 0, Battle 0-1 0-0 0, Packer 0-0 0-0 0, Dark 0-2 0-0 0, Allen 2-5 0-0 5, Blanton 0-0 0-0 0, Riley 0-3 2-2 2

1st 2nd Total

NOTRE DAME 29 37 66

Ohio State 25 37 62

3-point goals: Notre Dame 3-6 (Duffy 3-4, Batteast 0-2) Ohio State 2-12 (Allen 1-2, Wilburn 1-2, Matter 0-6, Dark 0-1, Hoskins 0-1) Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Notre Dame 36-22 (Gray 6), Ohio State 28-19 (Davenport 7). Assists: Notre Dame 12 (Duffy 6), Ohio State 15 (Wilburn 6). Total fouls: Notre Dame 16, Ohio State 20.