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Team beats Huskers by 73-57 score

Joe Hettler | Monday, November 15, 2004

For the second straight game, Notre Dame didn’t solely rely on Jacqueline Batteast to win. The rest of the Irish held their own just fine.Teresa Borton had 13 points and a car-eer-high 11 rebounds, Breona Gray added a career-high 12 points and Batteast tallied 24 points to help Notre Dame advance to the semifinals of the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament with a 73-57 win against Nebraska on Sunday night at the Joyce Center. It was the second game where Notre Dame had numerous players contribute to the win. The Irish had six players score in double figures in beating Illinois State 92-73 on Friday.”It’s really great to see different people stepping up and today Teresa and [Breona] stepped up to help Jackie,” Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said.The win means the Irish will face No. 6 Duke at the Joyce Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the semifinals. Notre Dame’s Courtney LaVere had 11 points in just 12 minutes of play, thanks to foul trouble. With LaVere stuck on the bench, Borton said she knew someone needed to pick up the slack.”Courtney had fouls, and I knew that I would be playing more, and I tried to contribute more to the team to get the win,” Borton said.Borton and Gray’s play, along with the rest of the team, took pressure off Batteast. To no one’s surprise, Nebraska double-teamed Notre Dame’s All-American on nearly every possession. Batteast didn’t force her shot, but instead found an open teammate.”I knew someone would be open if they double-teamed me,” said Batteast, who finished the game with a career-high seven assists.Notre Dame used a 49 to 37 rebounding advantage and some crisp passing to pull away from the Cornhuskers early in the second half, after leading 35-26 at intermission. The Irish, led by Borton, played aggressively in the paint and muscled their way for positioning against undersized Nebraska. Notre Dame routinely converted open lay-ups thanks to nifty passing.The Irish couldn’t shake Nebraska in the first half as the Cornhuskers drilled 6-of-12 3-point attempts. But Notre Dame’s stifling defense took away the 3-point shot in the second, holding Nebraska to just 1-for-7. “I thought we really did a better job in the second half [defending the 3-point shot],” McGraw said. Nebraska’s Kiera Hardy scorched the Cornhuskers’ first opponent Western Illinois for 28 points Friday, but was a non-factor Sunday. She was 0-of-9 in the first half, and fouled out late in the second half after shooting just 2-of-16 from the field for only four points.”I thought Breona and Charel [Allen] both did a great job on her,” McGraw said. “I think we frustrated [Hardy] early. She didn’t get a lot of open looks.”Nebraska’s Chelsea Aubry led the Cornhuskers with 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting. The Irish opened the game with a 10-3 run, but after a Nebraska timeout, the Cornhuskers charged back to take a 14-12 lead on Jessica Gerhart’s 3-pointer.Notre Dame then slowly took over the game by outrebounding Nebraska and scoring inside. Two free throws from Batteast with five seconds left put the Irish ahead by nine at half.The Irish started the second half on a 13-5 run, capped off with a Borton free throw with 15:22 remaining. Notre Dame led by as many as 20 points on six different occasions. Notes:u Allen logged 28 minutes while also adding eight rebounds, good for second on the team. u Fellow freshman Tulyah Gaines did not dress for the game because of a neck injury she sustained against Illinois State. McGraw said Gaines is doubtful for Wednesday’s contest.u Students interested in purchasing tickets for Wednesday’s game against No. 6 Duke may do so Tuesday by going to the ticket booth at the Joyce Center. Tickets are $7 for anyone 21 and under. The Preseason WNIT mandates ticket prices for the semifinal matchup, not Notre Dame. Notre Dame students showing a student ID will be admitted for free to all regular season women’s games this season.Notre Dame 92, Illinois State 73Notre Dame used a late first-half run to pull away in the first round game of the preseason WNIT against Illinois State Friday night by the score of 92-73, despite playing for the majority of the first half without Batteast, who was in foul trouble.”I thought we broke the game open when we figured out how to attack the press,” McGraw said.Six players scored in double-digits for the Irish, led by LaVere’s 18 points. LaVere saw increased playing time when Batteast picked up two fouls with more than 17 minutes to play in the first half.”In the first half, I tried to come out with a lot of intensity,” LaVere said. “With Jackie in foul trouble, I felt like I had to step up and score some points.”Batteast finished with 13 points in just 17 minutes, but the real story was the other Irish players. Megan Duffy scored 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-4 beyond the arc, and freshman Allen had 14 points and six rebounds in her collegiate debut.”I was really pleased with Courtney and Charel tonight,” McGraw said. “I thought they both played really well. Megan is going to be steady for us, we expect Megan to do what she did, but I was really pleased with Courtney and Charel.”Notes:u Gaines was injured after she hit her head on the floor Friday night. She did not play Sunday and was wearing a neck brace. McGraw said she suffered a neck injury.u Every Irish player scored Friday with the exception of Gaines. The last time the Irish had six players in double digits was in 1999.

Heather Van Hoegarden contributed to this report.