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ND Women’s Basketball: Pirates plundered

Laura Myers | Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Notre Dame fans aren’t used to getting Big Macs against the Big East, but the Irish managed the promotion’s required 88 points — plus one more — in an 89-38 defeat of Seton Hall Tuesday night.

It was the ninth time this season No. 8 Notre Dame (21-4, 10-1 Big East) has defeated an opponent by more than 35 points, adding one more to its school record number of routs.

The win came just two days after the Irish struggled to beat South Florida on the road Sunday, ultimately defeating the Bulls 76-68.

“I think this game was somewhat of a statement,” sophomore guard Skylar Diggins said.

Diggins paced her team with 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

“She’s doing everything,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “And she’s just beginning to peak.”

Led by Diggins and a 16-point performance by junior guard Natalie Novosel, six total Irish players scored in double-digits, as Notre Dame shot 64 percent from the floor.

Senior guard Brittany Mallory scored 13 points, freshman forward Natalie Achonwa scored 12 and senior forwards Devereaux Peters and Becca Bruszewski each added 12.

“We played a really good team game today,” Novosel said.

The Pirates (7-16, 0-10) won the tip-off but could not score despite three offensive rebounds in the first minute of the game. Bruszewski grabbed the rebound off of the Pirates fourth shot and fed the ball to Diggins, who scored the first layup of the game.

The Irish raced to a 26-7 lead and were up 44-23 at halftime.

“We finally got the ball, we got it going, … people were just really finding each other today,” Diggins said.

Seton Hall forward Kandice Green went down with a left ankle injury after 3:34 and did not return to the game. Pirates coach Anne Donovan said Green’s loss was a big blow to the team.

“All confidence at that point was gone,” she said. “… We had a lot of different defenses we wanted to try but Kandice is the catalyst in most of those.”

Pirates guard Jasmine Crew led her team with 10 points.

The game marked a turn for Notre Dame’s defense, which McGraw had been unhappy with after the South Florida game. Seton Hall shot just 24.6 percent from the floor and committed 24 turnovers, which Notre Dame took advantage of for 36 points.

“Me personally, I get more upset giving up a basket than making one, because you let your team down that way,” Novosel said. “When everybody’s working together, it really feeds into your offense.”

Donovan said she expected Notre Dame to put pressure on her team, but still wasn’t prepared by the Irish defense.

“We showed tape, we practiced it for two days, and it went completely out the window,” she said.

Notre Dame faces Rutgers (13-9, 6-3) Saturday in its annual Pink Zone game, which raises funds for organizations that focus on breast cancer education, screening, support and research. According to the Pink Zone website, www.und.com/pinkzone, the effort has already raised $59,985 this season. Last season’s total eclipsed $100,000.

A silent auction for Pink Zone begins at 12:30 p.m., and tip-off is at 2 p.m.