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ND Women’s Basketball: A different kind of streak

Jared Jedick | Monday, February 22, 2010

With a 76-66 loss at Georgetown Saturday, Notre Dame’s second defeat in a row, the No. 4 Irish fell to fourth in the Big East, behind the No. 14 Hoyas.

Irish coach Muffet McGraw said she saw a perfect storm of circumstances coming together last week to cause to the Irish to stumble for one of the few times this season.

“It’s a combination of things: we are playing good teams, we are going on the road and we don’t have our go-to player,” McGraw said. “But we still could have won both games, but these are certainly not the best circumstances for us in a tough week.”

McGraw attributed much of the team’s recent losses to the absence of senior guard Lindsay Schrader, who missed her second consecutive game with an ankle injury. Schrader did not play in either the St. John’s or Georgetown defeats.

“We really missed Lindsay Schrader,” McGraw said. “That’s been a problem this week with both games. She is our leading rebounder, and we got out-rebounded. We’ve gotten out-rebounded two games in a row. She is also our go-to player when we need a bucket. That has been a problem that no one has been able to step up into her role and rebound more.”

Schrader is the team’s third leading scorer with 11.3 points per game and top rebounder with 7.3 rebounds per game. McGraw was hopeful that Schrader will be able to play Tuesday against Marquette, but said her status is still uncertain.

In the absence of Schrader, the Irish (22-3, 10-3 Big East) were not able to get production out of their big players, as junior forwards Becca Bruszewski and Devereaux Peters failed to pick up the slack in the paint. Bruszewski played only 13 minutes and scored four points, while Peters played 17 minutes with two points. Neither player had a rebound.

“Devereux did not have her best game, so I decided to play someone else, and Becca was in foul trouble,” McGraw said.

With the lack of production from the frontcourt, the Irish gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Hoyas (22-4, 11-2) in comparison to only eight of their own.

The bright spot in the game was senior captain Ashley Barlow, who led the team with 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists. long with Barlow, McGraw was pleased with the game senior center Erica Williamson gave her. Williamson had only eight points and four rebounds, but McGraw considered that great production based on the amount of time she was on the floor.

“I was really happy with Erica Williamson, that was more minutes than she usually plays,” McGraw said. “She played the best. She was able to score, and she had four rebounds, and in 16 minutes that is pretty good.”

The turnover differential was also an area of concern for Notre Dame, as it lost that battle 21-10. This stat was of particular concern to McGraw, as she prides herself on her team’s ability to control the ball.

“We didn’t take care of the ball as we could have against the press,” McGraw said. “Their transition baskets off of our turnovers were a big difference in the game.”

When asked about her team’s inability to cause turnovers, McGraw was at a loss.

“I don’t know what happened in that regard. I was disappointed in that too,” McGraw said. “We played pretty good half-court defense, but we weren’t able to force any turnovers.”

Looking to the future, McGraw hopes that the team will be able to bounce back against Marquette (14-12, 5-8).

“It will just be good to be home,” McGraw said. “We need to have our home crowd back, we really do.”

The Irish tip off against Marquette at 7 p.m. Tuesday.