ND Women’s Basketball: Big East beginnings
Molly Sammon | Tuesday, December 6, 2011
No other team in the country has played Notre Dame as many times as Marquette, and the Irish are on a 17-game win streak at home against the Golden Eagles. They will meet on Irish territory Wednesday at the Purcell Pavilion for both teams’ Big East Conference opener.
“Starting the Big East [conference games] makes this game a lot more exciting than a non-conference game,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw. “And it’s nice to be playing it at home.”
Overall, the No. 3 Irish are 30-6 overall against Marquette, 18-1 at home and currently have a four-game win streak in 2011. Notre Dame started the streak at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas on Nov. 27, highlighted by a last second basket from senior forward Natalie Novosel against No. 6 Duke in the championship game.
Two more wins against Penn on Friday and Creighton on Saturday brought the Irish to 7-1 for the fourth time in five seasons. The Irish lost to No. 1 Baylor on Nov. 20.
Marquette head coach Toni Mitchell has a .632 record in her 16 years with the Golden Eagles and is 2-10 against the Irish.
“They’re an incredibly well-coached team,” McGraw said. “They’re a young team, bigger and have a different style this year. They’re always good, every year.”
The Golden Eagles (5-4) have six new freshmen on their roster since the Irish saw them last and will also play a new starting point guard. They return two of their starters.
In Saturday’s game, the Irish shot .6 from the field against Creighton and took 25 turnovers from the Bluejays.
“We need to work on rebounds and defending,” McGraw said. “We were impressed with our rebounding in the last game. That’s one of our goals, rebounding better, and Creighton was a good start for us. That’s been one of our goals the entire season.”
The Irish are sixth in the nation and at the top of the Big East in steals.
Graduate student forward Devereaux Peters scored 18 points in Notre Dame’s 73-55 win over Marquette the last time the teams played each other on Jan. 5, 2011.
Notre Dame is 12-4 in Big East Conference openers and won 10 of the last 12 since joining the conference in 1995.
“We’re looking forward to our first conference game,” McGraw said. “It comes at a tough time of the year. It’s a tough time to be playing with finals. Hopefully we can focus and win.”
Tip-off against the Golden Eagles is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight.
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