7:00 PM ET, November 29, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw missed her milestone 700th career game as coach Tuesday night because of illness. Luckily for her, though, Megan Duffy was feeling just fine.Duffy scored 13 of her 21 points during a decisive 16-4 run early in the second half, pacing Notre Dame (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) to a 74-55 victory over Iona, giving the absent McGraw her career 504th victory."It's just one of those nights where it's tough when you play without your head coach," associate head coach Coquese Washington said. "In the first half, we were all a little nervous."Duffy, who was just 2-of-10 shooting in the first half, hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to get the Irish (5-0) and herself going. She hit her next four shots as well, including a pair of 3s, to extend Notre Dame's lead to 52-36."I just had to keep being aggressive," Duffy said. "I missed a few shots in the first half, good shots, wide open, and Coquese told me to stay aggressive."Washington, a Notre Dame assistant since 1999, said she didn't know McGraw wouldn't make it to the game until shortly before the start. Asked what she thought when she heard she would be running the Irish, she said: "I can't say that in public. Needless to say, I miss coach McGraw."The Irish (5-0) led by as many as 12 in the first half, but the Gaels (2-1) scored the first two baskets of the second half to cut the lead to 36-32. That's when Duffy got the Irish going."Our goal was obviously to have Notre Dame shoot the ball from the outside," Iona coach Anthony Bozzella said. "That was our plan and certainly at that point Duffy said, 'I'll shoot it' and made a few which opened it up. It forced us out of a couple of things we wanted to do defensively."Lindsay Schrader added 14 points and Courtney LaVere and Melissa D'Amico had 10 points each for the Irish. Toni Horvath led the Gaels with 14 points and Martina Weber had 11 points and nine rebounds, although she had just two points and two rebounds in the second half."Part of it was fatigue. Part of it was good defense," Bozzella said.Washington thought Notre Dame's defense was key in the second half after leading just 36-28 at halftime."I felt like we came out and played a lot more pressure defense and that defense led to offense in the second half," she said.