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Irish fall to Michigan State

Heather VanHoegarden | Friday, December 3, 2004

Home was no longer sweet Thursday night for the Irish.After opening the second half with a 17-2 run, No. 3 Notre Dame lost its momentum and lost its home winning streak at the end in an 82-73 loss to No. 15 Michigan State (5-1) in overtime. The loss was the first for the Irish at home in 25 games and their first of this season.Crystal Erwin, who finished with a career-high 20 points and five rebounds, led the Irish.Notre Dame made a comeback in the second half after falling behind 41-30 at the half. The Irish played poor defense in the first half and struggled on offense.”I thought that we got down at halftime – we played really, really poorly in the first half,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “I thought we were able to come back, and I think mostly thanks to Crystal Erwin. She had just an outstanding game.”After a poor first half, Notre Dame came to play in the second half, giving up just 29 points and scoring 40.”We made some adjustments in the second half,” McGraw said. “I was pleased with the offense in the second half.”The Irish were up 62-56 with just under three minutes to play when Michigan State came back, cutting the score to 69-65 with 22 seconds left.But Irish freshman Charel Allen fouled Lindsay Bowen when she was shooting a 3-pointer, and Bowen made all three free throws, to get the Spartans within two.”I thought we should have won the game in regulation,” McGraw said. “We were up six, and the foul call on the three-point shot, I thought turned the entire game around. That was the difference in the game.”With the Irish up 69-67, Megan Duffy hit one of two free throws to put the lead at three. But with 14 seconds to play, Bowen hit a 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 70. Preseason All-American Jacqueline Batteast missed a turnaround jumper to win the game for the Irish.McGraw said she was disappointed with the way the Irish played down the stretch.”Unfortunately they executed better than we did,” McGraw said. “They showed some poise down the stretch that we didn’t. They’re a great team, and they played a great game.”It’s all mental. I think you’ve got to be mentally tough. I think we definitely caved in mentally in the last couple minutes of the game.”Duffy finished with 19 points for the Irish to go along with five assists. She played all 45 minutes for Notre Dame. Batteast, however, shot 6-for-25 from the field, good for 16 points. She also had a team-high nine rebounds.For Michigan State, Bowen finished with 23 points and five rebounds. Kristin Haynie was 6-for-10 for 17 points and 10 rebounds. Kelli Roehrig added 14 points and nine rebounds. McGraw said she was a big part of the Spartan win.”She’s huge,” McGraw said. “We didn’t have anybody who could guard her really. I thought Teresa [Borton] did a decent job for the most part, but she just takes up so much space, you can’t get around her. I thought when she was out of the game, that was part of when we made our comeback.”For the Irish (7-1), the loss was disappointing after they had played so well in the first seven games of the season.”We fought back in the second half and played pretty decent,” Duffy said. “The end of the second half was completely our fault. We made too many mental mistakes.”Notes:u Courtney LaVere did not play Thursday as she suffered a torn meniscus in her left knee during the Irish win over Duke. She had successful arthroscopic surgery Tuesday and is expected to be out four-to-six weeks.