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Joe Meixell | Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Despite some early first-half struggles, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team started the preseason off on the right foot Tuesday with an 84-59 exhibition win over the University of Indianapolis at the Joyce Center.

Senior captain Megan Duffy led the way for the Irish, scoring 18 points and dishing out seven assists while turning the ball over just once in 32 minutes. Duffy connected on four of her eight attempts from three-point range in the game.

Center Melissa D’Amico added 16 points and seven rebounds for Notre Dame, while freshman guard Lindsay Schrader recorded 13 points and seven rebounds in her collegiate debut.

The Irish started the game off strong, jumping out to a 13-3 advantage. Five minutes into the game, though, Indianapolis switched from man-to-man to a zone defense. Notre Dame struggled to score and the Greyhounds capitalized, going on a 21-9 run.

“We were unprepared for the zone,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “That was our biggest problem. They played all man-to-man last year.”

The Indianapolis spurt was led by the hot shooting of junior point guard Mandy Geryak. Geryak scored 14 in the first half and finished the game with 23 points and five assists. Her layup with 9:54 remaining gave the Greyhounds their first lead of the game at 24-22.

“I thought the player of the game was [Geryak],” McGraw said. “I thought she played really well.”

Notre Dame bounced back, though, and began to pull away from Indianapolis with a 22-7 run to close out the first half.

Sophomore guard Amanda Tsipis entered the game with 4:10 left in the period and provided an immediate boost for the Irish. Tsipis had two points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in the four minutes before intermission to help Notre Dame regain control of the game.

McGraw was thrilled with what she saw out of the reserve guard, who finished the game with four points and three rebounds.

“[She was] a great spark,” McGraw said of Tsipis. “She’s really worked on her shot all summer. And that’s one thing that she feels that is a good role for her, because we don’t have a lot of three-point shooters on the team.

“I was really pleased with the way she came off the bench.”

The first half ended when Duffy found Courtney LaVere inside, and the senior forward hit a turnaround in the paint as time expired. Notre Dame took a 44-31 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, Indianapolis was unable to make up any ground. Freshman Chandrica Smith scored six points for the Irish in the second period, while sophomore guard Charel Allen – slowed by a recovering knee – added seven points of her own after the break.

Despite the victory, McGraw came away from the game concerned about certain aspects of the team’s play.

“We don’t rebound, and we need to be better defensively,” McGraw said. “We’ve got to really address that. We don’t have anyone on the team we can really count on to rebound.”

Notre Dame will look to improve in these areas in its next exhibition game against Ferris State on Nov. 10 at the Joyce Center.