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Joe Hettler | Wednesday, February 16, 2005

After Boston College dominated Notre Dame in the first half of Tuesday’s game, coach Muffet McGraw turned to the team’s top leadership for help.

Jacqueline Batteast and Megan Duffy responded.

Batteast’s 15 points and seven rebounds, combined with Duffy’s 14 second-half points, helped the Irish overcome a 15-point first half deficit to down Boston College for the second time this season – this one by a 54-47 score.

“I thought we came out of the locker room with a little different attitude,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “I thought we played harder and more aggressive, and I thought that was the difference.

“But it started with Megan and Jackie.”

Batteast carried the Irish in the first half, scoring eight of the team’s 15 points. She continued to hit critical shots during the second 20 minutes, but it was Duffy who ignited Notre Dame. The junior tri-captain made all eight of her free throw attempts and had all her points in the second half.

“I had some words at halftime with the team and told them, ‘We have to get our act together,'” Duffy said. “We only have three games left in the season, and this is a huge one that we need to get. I was just like, if no one is going to take it to the basket and be aggressive I was going to try it.”

Notre Dame struggled shooting the ball early, making just one of its first 12 shots, which allowed Boston College to take a 16-3 lead at the 9:12 mark. Batteast and LaVere each missed their first three shots, while Kindyll Dorsey drained two 3-pointers to help push the Eagles to a double-digit advantage.

Boston College opened a 26-11 lead on Dorsey’s third 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining. But the Irish ended the half with four much-needed points when Batteast hit a jumper and Borton sank two free throws to trim the Eagles’ advantage to 26-15. The Irish scored a season-low 15 points on 5-of-23 shooting in the opening 20 minutes, which was five fewer points than their previous futile mark, set against Rutgers Jan. 23.

Notre Dame cut the Boston College lead to 32-26 when Megan Duffy hit a baseline bankshot, drew the foul and sank the ensuing free throw at 16:58. Duffy, who was scoreless in the first half, caught fire after the break, with eight points and three assists during the first three minutes of the second half.

But the Eagles came storming back and scored seven of the next nine points to regain their halftime edge of 11. Notre Dame refused to fold and cut the lead back down to just five, at 39-34, when Duffy assisted Tuylah Gaines on a layup.

The teams battled back and forth for the next several minutes until the Irish took the lead 43-42 on a Charel Allen layup. It was Notre Dame’s first lead since 3-2.

Boston College responded with a field goal, but the Irish took the lead for good when Duffy sank two free throws with 2:23 left to put Notre Dame ahead 44-43.

The Irish held Boston College to just 21 second-half points, forcing the Eagles to take tough shots.

“I think defensively we played a pretty good game, especially in the second half,” McGraw said. “That’s what we have to do. We just have to play solid defense.”