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ND Women’s Basketball: Last, then first

Laura Myers | Friday, February 26, 2010

No. 7 Notre Dame will travel to South Orange, N.J., to take on Seton Hall Saturday in the team’s final regular-season road game.

The game against the Pirates (9-18, 1-13 Big East), who are currently last in the conference, comes two days before the Irish face No. 1 Connecticut at home.

“It’s all the same for us in terms of every game is important,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “We’ve really got to come in with a lot of focus and be ready for whatever Seton Hall throws our way.”

Notre Dame has lost its last two road games, against then-No. 22 St. John’s and then-No. 12 Georgetown, but is coming off of an 82-67 home win Tuesday over Marquette.

“It was great to get us back on track,” McGraw said. “I think the whole team got a nice shot of confidence.”

The win marked the return of senior guard Lindsay Schrader, who had been out due to a sprained left ankle. She made her presence felt immediately, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds in 20 minutes of play. McGraw said Schrader’s playing time will still be limited Saturday. 

“She’s going to be playing more I think,” she said. “I haven’t spoken with the trainer, I don’t know how many minutes she’s allowed. I’m hoping for more. I think she’ll play at least as much.”

Seton Hall has lost its last five games and has just one conference victory, a Jan. 30 win over Villanova.

The Pirates are led by guard Ebonie Williams and forward Kandice Green, who each average 13 points per game.

Notre Dame is currently fourth in the Big East standings and could move up with a win this weekend. They have already clinched a two-round bye for the Big East tournament, which begins March 8.

“Heading into the last two games we’re trying to position ourselves for not just the Big East tournament but for the NCAA Tournament,” McGraw said. “We’ve done a great job all year of taking care of what we need to do and now we’re coming down the stretch.”

The Irish will tip off against Seton Hall at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, N.J.

Senior captain Ashley Barlow is one of 30 midseason candidates for the 2010 Naismith Trophy award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday. The Trophy is given to the women’s basketball player of the year and will be awarded in April at the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.

Barlow averages 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Her 67 steals this season make her just the third Irish player to grab 60 steals in each of her four seasons. The other two were Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey (1997-2001) and current Penn State head coach Coquese Washington (1988-93).

“She’s done so many great things for us. … I think all year long, we need a big play, Ashley Barlow’s going to make it,” McGraw said. “It’s a great honor for her to be mentioned as one of the top players in the country.”