7:00 PM ET, November 13, 2007
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- One dominating half was enough for Notre Dame.Ashley Barlow scored 13 of her 18 points in the first half, making all three of her 3-point attempts, to lead the Fighting Irish (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) to a 50-23 halftime lead en route to an easy 78-59 victory over Western Kentucky in the second round of the Preseason WNIT."I was really pleased with the first half," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I thought we executed well, we shot the ball well, we defended well, we rebounded well. We played our game in the first half."She wasn't pleased with the second half. After holding the Lady Toppers to 31 percent shooting in the first half, Western shot 46 percent in the second half. The Irish, who shot 51 percent in the first half, shot 36 percent in the second half."We got a big lead and we got complacent," McGraw said.Western coach Mary Taylor Cowles said she challenged her team at halftime to play with pride in the second half."I'm very encouraged by the attitude and the effort we came out in the second half. I didn't think we played well, but at the same time our young ladies didn't give up," she said. "If we could have put two halves together like we did in the second half then it might have been a little bit of a different story."The story for the Toppers, though, was foul trouble for its top two players, Crystal Kelly and Dominique Duck.Kelly, the Toppers' leading scorer last season at 24.1 points, had seven points in 21 minutes, ending a 49-game streak of scoring at least 10 points. Duck, who averaged 11.8 points, was held to seven points in 26 minutes.Kelly was 1-of-7 shooting, her only shot from the field being a 3-pointer.McGraw said Kelly being in foul trouble was key."We had a lot of different things we were looking at and all of them looked good in practice. But my favorite one was when she was on the bench," she said.The Lady Toppers fell to 2-12 against ranked opponents since the start of the 2002-03 season.Notre Dame was in control from the start, with Barlow hitting a 3-pointer 28 seconds in to ignite a 15-3 run by the Irish. The two teams then traded baskets for the next seven minutes, but the Irish used a 15-2 run to put the game away.The Irish went ahead by as much as 66-34 when Brittany Mallory scored on a fastbreak layup. The closest the Toppers got was 76-58 in the final minute.Kenzie Rich led the Toppers with 15 points and Whitney Ballinger added 14. Charel Allen had 16 points for the Irish and Melissa Lechlitner added 12 points.The Irish will play No. 3 Maryland on Friday. The Terrapins beat Delaware 91-43 on Tuesday night.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||21-55 (.382)||30-68 (.441)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-14 (.214)||4-13 (.308)|
|FT Made-Attempted||14-18 (.778)||14-19 (.737)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||19 (0/0)||20 (0/0)|