2:00 PM ET, November 20, 2005
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) -- Megan Duffy scored 19 points, including four straight free throws in the final minute, for Notre Dame. But Western Michigan's Casey Rost almost stole the show.Rost had 29 points in her first game in a year. Rost, who also made a career-high seven 3-pointers, had been sidelined by a knee injury.Duffy hit all eight of her free-throw attempts and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Notre Dame (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) to a 71-68 victory and its fourth consecutive 2-0 start to a season."They've got a great team," Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw said of Western (0-1), adding special praise for Rost. "I think she's a great player, and she's someone who's really hard to guard."Notre Dame only trailed once, in the game's first minute, but twice had its lead trimmed to one point in the second half -- including on a 3-pointer by Rost with 11:50 left."We thought we were on her," Duffy said, "and she just shot right over us.""What can you say about her?" Western coach Ron Stewart said. "I certainly didn't think Casey Rost would be playing 40 minutes in the first game."But not even Rost could save the Broncos from their eighth consecutive loss to Notre Dame.Freshman Lindsay Schrader scored 11 points for Notre Dame, reaching double figures in her second consecutive start, and reserve Courtney LaVere came off the bench to score eight of her 10 points in the second half.Western's Lindsey Brown had 16 points and Tiera Delahoussaye had 11.The Irish, who won 27 games last year, have only one senior in their starting lineup: Duffy."We have to play hard no matter who we play," McGraw said. "That's the way our team is going to go this year. We don't really have a go-to post player that we had in the past. And that makes it tougher on the guards. For us to win, we have to play great defensively and we have to rebound."The Irish outrebounded Western 39-37, although Western's Amanda Parker had a game-high nine rebounds. Notre Dame also held Western to 34.3 percent shooting in the first half before Rost warmed up with 21 points in the second half and forced 18 Western turnovers."Notre Dame is good, no question about it," Stewart said.
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