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ND Women’s Basketball: Standing their ground

Molly Sammon | Monday, January 30, 2012

The Irish are one win away from keeping January clean of losses for the first time in 10 years. A win also moves their win streak up to 19 games as they play their eighth ranked opponent this season, No. 12 Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J., on Tuesday.

The second-ranked Irish (20-1) stand undefeated in the Big East, 7-1 against ranked teams and are on their way to breaking the program-record 23 straight wins.

In practice this week, McGraw said the Irish worked on offensive clarity and avoiding turnovers as they had 19 in their 71-56 win against St. John’s on Saturday.

“We’ve been working on a lot of things, we’ve been getting better defensively, so we’re concentrating a little more on our offense now,” McGraw said. “We had lots of turnovers in the last game.”

After the Irish beat Tennessee on Jan. 23, McGraw highlighted rebounding as an area where the Irish could improve to continue their streak.

“I thought in the last game [against St. John’s] we did a great job on boards, and we did a very good job working those things out,” McGraw said. “That is especially important going into this game. Rutgers is a very athletic team and rebounds extremely well.”

Rutgers (17-4) has lost to Georgetown, Tennessee and St. John’s this season, three teams Notre Dame beat earlier in the year, each by at least 15 points.

The Scarlet Knights lead the series 16-11 overall, though the Irish do hold an active two-win streak. In the 2010-11 season, the Irish beat Rutgers 71-49 and both graduate student forward Devereaux Peters and junior guard Skylar Diggins scored at least 20 points for the Irish.

“Rutgers is a really good defensive team, they work extremely hard rebounding. They press, and their press is a big part of their defense,” McGraw said. “They have a talented group and [senior] April Sykes is a big guard who can really play inside. They’ve got the inside and outside game and a good bench. They’re an exceptionally athletic team.”

Notre Dame announced this week Irish freshman guard Madison Cable will sit out the rest of the season and tack on another year of eligibility due to an injury.

“She has a stress fracture in her foot, and it hasn’t healed the way we expected,” McGraw said. “She’s taken quite a bit of time off. We have decided to redshirt her until she’s 100 percent healthy. We look forward to having her back next year.”

Tip-off against the Scarlet Knights is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Rutgers’ Lewis Brown Athletic Center.



Contact Molly Sammon at [email protected]