7:00 PM ET, December 6, 2006
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame had advice from Digger Phelps and an offensive reminder on their jerseys.That one-two combo, coupled with a career-high 22 points by Breona Gray, helped the Irish overcome an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat Purdue (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) 67-58 Wednesday night."I just took the shots when I was open and I just felt confident," Gray said.Gray was 8-of-12 from the field and made a career-high four 3-pointers -- the only 3-pointers the Irish had. Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said she decided to have the team wear the jerseys with green borders to remind her team to shoot 3s after going 1-of-14 in its last game.It was the first time the Irish wore those jerseys in a home regular-season game.But McGraw said the key to the victory was the Irish using a 1-3-1 defense that Phelps, Notre Dame's longtime men's coach, had taught her staff before practices started."We were talking that the 2-3 is good, but we wanted something else, so we talked about that," she said. "I had a couple questions yesterday, so I called him, said we had put it in in practice. It looked pretty good. He was definitely kind of the master behind it."Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said the Boilermakers hadn't practiced well, which has been a continuing problem."We haven't played well for four games and you just can't show up and play and not be prepared," she said.Purdue (7-2) led through most of the game, opening a 41-30 lead when Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton scored nearly eight minutes into the second half. The Irish (6-3), who shot 58 percent in the second half, answered with a 14-4 run to cut the lead to 45-44 when Tulyah Gaines scored inside on a pass from Gray."Late in the game, I thought they were a little unsure against the 1-3-1 and were able to really attack them," McGraw saidVersyp said her team just didn't play gritty enough."We weren't as aggressive as we were in the first half, and I think that really set the tone," she said.Gray hit a 3-pointer with 2:59 left to give Notre Dame its first lead, 53-52. Katie Gearlds then threw up an air ball from 12 feet along the baseline and Purdue was called for its second shot-clock violation. The Irish extended the lead to 59-52 on a fast break basket with 1:17 left by Gray, who finished with 20 points.Wisdom-Hylton and Gearlds led Purdue with 15 points each and Jodi Powell scored 11.It was a sloppily played game by both teams. Notre Dame turned the ball over a season-high 23 times and Purdue had 20 turnovers -- one shy of the season-high it had in its only other loss this season, 66-55 to No. 7 Connecticut last week. The Boilermakers made just 1 of 9 shots in the final four minutes.Wisdom-Hylton said the Boilermakers weren't ready for the game."We came off a pretty good win the other night, and then we just kind of weren't really focused and we weren't concentrating as hard and going at it in practice like we needed to," she said. "We kind of faded at the end."
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