2:00 PM ET, January 23, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame had the better second half Sunday. Jacqueline Batteast made sure of that.After Rutgers (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) held Notre Dame (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) to its lowest scoring half of the season (20 points) in the first half, the Irish held the Scarlet Knights to their lowest scoring half (16 points) in the second. Batteast had two more points in the second half than the Knights, finishing with 27 points to lead the Irish to a 63-47 victory on Sunday."I think Batteast decided they weren't going to lose. She put this team on her back," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said.Batteast scored the first 12 points of the second half to get the Irish (16-3, 4-2 Big East) back into the game and then added six more points during a 23-0 run that put the game away."Twenty-three points? That's crazy," Stringer said. "It was like, 'What the heck is going on?'"The Scarlet Knights (13-4, 4-1) looked to be too quick for the Irish in the first half, jumping to a 13-point lead. But in the second half, Notre Dame's zone defense was too much for the Knights, repeatedly forcing them to take bad shots to avoid shot-clock violations."Once we took care of the ball better and locked down on 'D,' the game seemed to go our way," Batteast said. "For as bad as we played, we could have been blown out in the first half. We made the adjustments, and that was enough to win the game."The victory was the 400th for Irish coach Muffet McGraw at Notre Dame. She improved her record at Notre Dame to 400-152 and is 488-193 overall."It feels great to win this game," McGraw said. "It was a really important win."In the first half it looked as if she would have to wait a game to get it. The Scarlet Knights turned 16 turnovers into 19 points. But the Irish turned the ball over just five times in the second, while the Knights turned it over eight times, leading to 10 points for the Irish.But Stringer said the biggest problem was that the Knights didn't play good team basketball."We needed help on Batteast," she said.The Scarlet Knights, who shot 47 percent in the first half and led by as many as 13, shot just 17 percent in the second."We didn't take control of the game," said Chelsea Newton, who led Rutgers with 18 points.Batteast was the only Irish player in double figures, but Megan Duffy had a career-high 11 assists, including eight in the second half, and Crystal Erwin added nine rebounds. Cappie Pondexter added 17 for Rutgers.Stringer stayed in the locker room 45 minutes after the game talking with her team."It was instructional, informative and getting into them," Stringer said. "I'm not happy with this."She blamed her seniors for the loss."You don't have an 11-point lead and have this happen, and it did," she said. "I blame my leadership."
|FG Made-Attempted||20-58 (.345)||21-34 (.618)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-20 (.150)||2-5 (.400)|
|FT Made-Attempted||4-6 (.667)||19-22 (.864)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||7 (0/0)|