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ND Women’s Basketball: Road Redemption

Laura Myers | Friday, February 19, 2010

After suffering only its second loss of the season, both on the road, Notre Dame travels to the nation’s capital to take on No. 14 Georgetown Saturday.

The No. 4 Irish had not lost in eight straight games before they fell to No. 22 St. John’s Tuesday, and that was following a 15-game winning streak separated by a loss to top-ranked Connecticut. Now, Notre Dame (23-3, 10-2 Big East) looks to build up another streak.

“We’ve just got to bounce back,” senior captain Ashley Barlow said. “We have to come in and work hard and get after it in practice. We practice hard. We’ve just got to transfer that stuff into the game.”

Senior guard Lindsay Schrader, who injured her left ankle Sunday against DePaul, is an uncertainty to play against the Hoyas, Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. Though Schrader did well in Wednesday’s practice, McGraw said, the final decision will be made at game-time.

“That will affect us a lot. [Schrader] is a big part of our offense, and with her defense and rebounding,” Barlow said. “It makes us a much smaller team with her out of the lineup, we have to play four guards most of the time. I mean, we can do it. We’ve just got to get back to playing the way we know how.”

Junior guard Brittany Mallory replaced Schrader in the starting lineup Tuesday and took full advantage, tallying 17 points and five rebounds. Junior forward Devereaux Peters also stepped in to fill the void and added 9 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.

“They step up in big moments,” Barlow said. “When they’re needed, they rise to the occasion. I would expect nothing less from them. They know that when they’re called upon, they produce for us.”

The game at Georgetown (21-4, 10-2) is Notre Dame’s second straight road game against a ranked team. McGraw said the schedule’s toughness could work in her players’ favor as they prepare for the tournament season.

“The Big East is going to be tough all the time,” she said. “You’ve got to be ready for it. We’re at the time of year when we have to start peaking.”

The Irish will need to do so against a Georgetown squad that resembles their own — the Hoyas specialize in forcing turnovers (25.8 per game to Notre Dame’s 23.9) and even have a standout freshman in guard Sugar Rodgers. She leads the team with 17.9 points per game and has garnered Big East freshman of the week honors four times, the same number as Irish freshman guard Skylar Diggins.

Georgetown is coming off of a 54-50 win over South Florida Wednesday. Saturday’s game will be the Hoyas’ senior game, as well as their Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness. Notre Dame’s Pink Zone game was Sunday.

The game will have important implications for Notre Dame in the Big East — if the Irish win, they will secure a two-round bye in the conference tournament. Additionally, the Irish and Hoyas are currently tied with West Virginia for second place in the league and a win could give either team sole possession of the second slot. 

“Every game is important from here on out,” McGraw said. “We’ve got four games left. We’ve got to finish strong.”

Tip-off is at 3 p.m. Saturday at McDonough Arena.