SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Charel Allen scored 22 points and No. 14 Notre Dame made all eight of its free throws in the final 1:25 to beat Seton Hall 70-55 on Saturday.
The Fighting Irish (23-6, 11-4) clinched a bye in the first round of the Big East tournament with the victory. The loss knocked the Pirates (13-14, 3-12), losers of nine straight, out of the tournament. Seton Hall fell to 8-104 all-time against ranked opponents.But the Pirates, who had lost two straight by at least 28 points, managed to put a bit of a scare into the Irish.Notre Dame led by as many as 14 in the first half, but the Pirates closed to 36-27 at halftime when Ebonie Williams hit a 15-foot jumper with a second left. Then Nicole Emery hit a pair of 3-pointers for the Pirates to start the second half and cut the lead to 36-33.The Irish extended the lead back to seven later when Melissa Lechlitner hit a 3, but Emery answered with another 3 to cut Notre Dame's lead to 46-42.The Irish regained control with a 12-2 run. Lechlitner started it with a drive inside, followed by a 16-foot jumper, and capped it with a long pass to Tulyah Gaines for a fastbreak layup to give Notre Dame a 58-44 lead.The Pirates closed to 62-54 on a three-point play by Emery and another free throw by her with 1:26 left. But the Irish went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line while Seton Hall went 1-of-4 and failed to make another basket.Lechlitner finished with 11 points, six assists, five rebounds and came up with some big plays. Lindsay Schrader added 10 points for the Irish.Emery led the Pirates with a career-high 23 points, 11 more than her previous high of 12 points against Georgetown last season. Ebonie Williams finished with 20 points.The Irish outrebounded Seton Hall 39-30 and outshot the Pirates 48 percent to 34 percent, helping to overcome 19 turnovers.