HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Missing her first four shots didn't shake up Jacqueline Batteast.
The Big East player of the year found other ways to help No. 10 Notre Dame early in the Fighting Irish's 70-59 Big East quarterfinal win over West Virginia. She grabbed a couple defensive rebounds and stole the ball until she found her shot.When she finally did, Batteast scored 16 points, including seven straight during a late second-half run Sunday to help the Irish reach the semifinals for the sixth time in nine years."That's how it's been for a while. You have to keep shooting," Batteast said. "It's going to fall eventually, so you can't stop."The Fighting Irish will face Connecticut on Monday. Notre Dame has made four trips to the final, losing each time to UConn.Yolanda Paige led the Mountaineers (17-12) with 23 points.Notre Dame has the Big East's best winning percentage (81.5) in the regular season but hasn't made it pay off in the postseason. The Irish have just one regular-season title in school history, sharing the crown with Connecticut in 2001, the year Notre Dame won its lone national championship.The game pitted the conference's top scorers in Batteast, the Big East player of the year, and West Virginia's Meg Bulger, who averaged a league-high 19.6 points. Batteast was second at 17.4.Bulger struggled all night, making just 3-of-15 shots and finishing with eight points."I think we are where we want to be defensively. We've done a pretty good job in that all year long," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I think we're pretty steady. You can't really count on the ball going in the basket for you every night, so you have to be sharp defensively."The second-seeded Irish were in control from the start and led by as many as 14 in the second half, shooting 61 percent in the period. Batteast made sure they kept the cushion, scoring seven points in a two-minute stretch.The Mountaineers would get no closer than eight the rest of the way.Sherell Sowho added 11 points for West Virginia, and Olayinka Sanni grabbed a team-high seven boards.Notre Dame controlled the boards, outrebounding West Virginia 32-23. The Irish also got 20 points from its backup players. Guard Charel Allen led the Notre Dame reserves with 11 points.That's something Mountaineers coach Mike Carey said his program must focus on in the future."We've got to get deeper. I'm happy with what we've got the floor. We're not getting off the bench with much scoring," Carey said.