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Second-half run pushes Notre Dame past Iona

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.