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Irish preparing for final exhibition game

Joe Hettler | Friday, November 5, 2004

Notre Dame will play in its final preseason tune-up on Saturday before opening the regular season against Illinois State on Nov. 12 at the Joyce Center.The Irish, who defeated the Premier Sports All-Stars 84-52 on Wednesday, face the Hoosier Lady Stars at noon inside the Joyce Center.The team was led by all-American forward Jacqueline Batteast, who netted 23 points and five rebounds in just 25 minutes. Guard Megan Duffy added 16 points and three second half 3-pointers as Notre Dame improved to 21-1 in exhibition games. “Everybody just seems to have a more aggressive tone this year,” Batteast said after Wednesday’s victory.Despite an overall solid performance, head coach Muffet McGraw said she wants her team to play better on Saturday.”We want to see improvement from game-to-game,” said McGraw, who played all her bench players during the first preseason victory. “Saturday, we expect to start out with a little bit better pace. I thought we really started out very slowly [in Wednesday’s game], although defensively we did some good things. We want to keep that pace up a little bit and keep the pressure up, so we might sub a little bit more at the beginning of the game.”In the win over Premier, Irish fans saw a glimpse of McGraw’s talented freshman class. Guards Tulyah Gaines and Charel Allen scored four and nine points, respectively, while center Melissa D’Amico added 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting.”I think our freshman are going to add a tremendous amount of good things,” McGraw said Wednesday.Notre Dame had Thursday off from practice after six straight days of workouts. After Saturday’s game, the Irish will have a week before the Preseason National Invitational tournament begins. Notre Dame will host the first round against Illinois State and could play up to four games, if the team continues advancing.