7:30 PM ET, February 9, 2005
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- A second-half defensive adjustment saved Notre Dame (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) from falling to the Big East's last-place team.Unable to slow Providence in the first half despite a variety of defenses, Notre Dame switched to a zone in the second half. It paid off as the Fighting Irish rallied for a 75-57 win over the Friars on Wednesday night.Jacqueline Batteast had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Notre Dame. She scored seven points during a 21-3 second-half run that broke a 46-all tie and gave Notre Dame a 67-49 lead with 5:50 left.Notre Dame (21-3, 9-2 Big East) extended its winning streak to nine games while Providence (1-20, 0-10) lost its 10th in a row.Shauna Snyder scored 16 of her 18 points in the first half for Providence, which led 36-30 at halftime. It was only the third time the Friars led at the break this season.Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw criticized her team's preparation and defensive effort, calling the first half "probably the worst defensive half of basketball we have (played) all year."The Friars shot 50 percent in the first half, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range."We generally play a lot of zone but (Snyder) was killing us," McGraw said. "She did a great job in the first half of getting open and getting free and just making shots.""(The Friars) shot probably better than they have all year," she added. "Credit their offense because we were nowhere near them."The second half was a different story, with the Fighting Irish holding Providence to 21 points on 25-percent shooting (6-for-24).Teresa Borton and Courtney LaVere scored 10 points apiece for Notre Dame. Kristina Baugh added 11 for Providence.