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Irish rebound against Cincinnati

Bill Brink | Monday, February 2, 2009

To senior guard Lindsay Schrader, no rebound was too far away, no loose ball too much effort, and no shot too difficult.

Schrader had 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds during No. 17 Notre Dame’s 66-50 win over Cincinnati Saturday at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame’s offensive rebounding and ability to force turnovers sealed the win, which snapped its two-game losing streak.

The Irish (16-4, 5-3 Big East) grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and forced Cincinnati (13-7, 3-4) to turn the ball over 26 times. They scored 26 points off turnovers and had 16 second-chance points.

“We’re just sick of losing, and we’re sick of talking about losing,” Schrader said. “We have to go out there and let our actions show.”

Sophomore forward Becca Bruszewski finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, junior guard Ashley Barlow had a career-high eight steals and junior guard Melissa Lechlitner had seven assists and eight rebounds.

Freshman forward Kellie Watson had 10 points and hit three 3-pointers, two within 40 seconds of one another in the final minutes, and had five rebounds.

“[Watson] hit two daggers back to back that ended it,” Bearcats coach J. Kelley Hall said.

Schrader set her previous career high of 14 rebounds on Nov. 18, 2005, against Michigan in her first collegiate game. She said the team needed rebounds because it enabled the offense to operate effectively.

“I think it was in everyone’s mindset to rebound because when you get to rebound, you get to run,” she said. “And that’s our game, transition and running.”

Bearcats junior guard Kahla Roudebush finished with 13 points and had six turnovers in the game. Senior guard Angel Morgan scored 10 points and had nine rebounds. Irish coach Muffet McGraw said she liked the defensive effort, both on Roudebush and the team as a whole.

“We held [Roudebush] to 13, she’s a great player, she’s one of the better players in the conference, so to be able to shut her down I thought was a very encouraging sign,” McGraw said. “And the way they shot from the 3-point line, we had not done that in Big East play.”

The Bearcats were 4-for-17 from beyond the arc.

Notre Dame led 52-33 with 12:01 remaining in the second half. The Bearcats went almost five minutes without a field goal until Morgan picked up a bucket and the foul. Senior forward Jill Stephens’s 3-pointer capped an 8-3 Bearcats run and pulled Cincinnati within 13 with 8:12 to play.

Junior guard Stephanie Stevens made a layup with 4:49 left, but was fouled after the shot and was awarded two free throws. She made them both, and the Bearcats cut the lead to single digits. But Watson hit two 3-point shots in 40 seconds, putting Notre Dame ahead by 15 and ending Cincinnati’s hopes of a comeback.

Watson hadn’t made a 3-pointer since Jan. 13 against Marquette and was 0-for-10 in her last three games, but once she hit her first on Saturday, the others started falling.

“The first one was always the toughest to get down, after you get the first one down you get in rhythm,” she said. “It felt really good to finally start hitting them again. I just wanted to be productive and help the team score some points.”

Cincinnati went 4:38 without scoring late in the first half, when Stevens converted a 3-point play to make the score 23-19 Irish. By then, however, Schrader decided to bury the Bearcats.

In the final 2:49 of the first half, Schrader scored seven points and ignited a 13-2 Notre Dame run. She had a chance at two 3-point plays but missed the free throw both times. She had 13 points and 11 rebounds at the half, when the Irish led 36-26.


u Freshman guard Fraderica Miller did not dress for the game and had a walking boot on her right foot.