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Strong finish helps Notre Dame edge past DePaul

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Megan Duffy did a bit of everything to
help Notre Dame (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) avoid another loss.

After Suzanne Morrison scored on a layup to cap an 18-0 run for
No. 10 DePaul and give the Blue Demons a 12-point lead, Duffy had
two assists, a defensive rebound and a steal in the span of 51
seconds to get the Irish going again, sparking their own 18-0 run.

Duffy finished with 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds
to lead Notre Dame to a 78-75 victory Tuesday night over the Blue
Demons, who cracked the Top 10 for the first time the previous day.

"Megan. What can you say about Megan? Almost a triple double,"
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "That's the best point guard
in America right there."

DePaul (16-2, 3-2 Big East), which saw its nine-game winning
streak end, had a chance to tie it at the end, but a half-court
shot by Allie Quigley bounced hard off the back of the rim.

"We had some moments, but we didn't have enough consistent
moments," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.

It was just the second win in six games for the Irish (11-5,
2-3). McGraw grabbed the courtside microphone and thanked the crowd
of 5,311.

"You know we've been struggling the last couple of weeks. I
want to thank you because you made it happen," she said.

Early in the second half it appeared the Irish, who led 37-33 at
the half, wouldn't have a chance to win.

Jenna Rubino, who had a career-high 25 points, started DePaul's
18-0 spurt with three straight 3-pointers and Rachel Carney, who
had 12 points, added another 3. Quigley had 19 points for the Blue
Demons, who made a season-high 13 3-pointers while shooting a
season-best 45 percent from beyond the arc.

Duffy blamed Notre Dame's defensive problems on poor
communication.

"We were switching defense so much and they would kind of get
it and run," she said. "In that uptempo style of play we just
weren't finding their shooters. They have a lot of people who can
score."

But the Irish finally found DePaul's scorer, holding them
scoreless for 8:29. The Blue Demons went 0-for-12 during the
stretch.

"When the second half began Notre Dame was one and out," Bruno
said. "It allows us to ignite our fastbreak."

The Blue Demons made some substitutions and the Irish began
getting more chances.

"We were careless with the basketball and the game turned back
around Notre Dame's way," Bruno said.

Crystal Erwin scored six of her 10 points during the run. Breona
Gray added 10 points,

DePaul closed to 65-64 on a 3-pointer by Carney, but Duffy
answered with a basket. The Irish made 9-of-12 free throws in the
final 1:37 to hold on.

McGraw said she wasn't too worried when the Irish fell behind.

"We've had a lot of practice in getting behind big," McGraw
said. "I don't think it bothered us. We've done it so much. This
time we just didn't dig ourselves quite as big a hole."