(3) Notre Dame 85

(11-0, 2-0 away)

UCF 52

(3-6, 2-4 home)

    12:00 PM ET, December 29, 2009

    1 2 T
    #3ND 44 4185
    UCF 29 2352

    Top Performers

    Notre Dame: B. Mallory 16 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Stl

    Ucf: M. White 12 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Stl

    Notre Dame's 11th victory continues torrid start

    Associated Press

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ashley Barlow scored 17 points, Brittany Mallory had 16 and No. 3 Notre Dame overcame a slow start to beat Central Florida 85-52 on Tuesday.

    The Fighting Irish hadn't played in nine days. They spent time at a theme park during their trip to Florida and with family over the holiday break.

    It took some time, but they eventually shook off the rust.

    Barlow's layup as time expired in the first half highlighted a 13-0 run by Notre Dame that turned a tight game into a blowout, smothering the Knights with a full-court press that forced 36 turnovers. Notre Dame (11-0) extended the second-best start in the program's 33-year history.

    "I guess I was in the right place at the right time," Barlow said. "I think it was our defense that changed things. We stepped it up, we got some steals and we got easy layups."

    Marshay White had 12 points, and D'Nay Daniels added 10 points for the Knights (3-6), who were going for one of the biggest wins in school history. Instead, they lost for the third time this season to a ranked opponent.

    The sparse black and gold crowd were treated to a fast start by the Knights, with the home team trading baskets for most of the first half. White's 3-pointer cut Notre Dame's lead to 31-29. But the celebration was short-lived.

    The relentless full-court pressure by the Fighting Irish overwhelmed the Knights. Notre Dame's backcourt caused errant passes, quick shots and turnovers.

    "It was almost fool's gold in the beginning," UCF coach Joi Williams said, "because they didn't capitalize on our turnovers."

    Skylar Diggins had five points as the Fighting Irish scored 13 straight before intermission, including Barlow's layup that came at the buzzer.

    "I thought it was a huge momentum boost for us going into halftime," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.

    Her team scored the next two baskets of the second half, going ahead 48-29 as some of the fans who traveled with Notre Dame for the holiday break cheered "Let's Go Irish."

    "I knew we were capable of playing with them," said Knights forward Emma Cannon, who surpassed 1,000 points for her career. "But we just made too many mistakes."

    Notre Dame also got a boost with the return of forward Devereaux Peters, who hadn't played since tearing a ligament in her left knee on Nov. 23, 2008. She scored two points in 10 minutes.

    Only the 2000-01 Notre Dame team got off to a better start, beginning the season with 23 wins en route to a 34-2 record and the program's first national championship.

    The Fighting Irish remained at No. 3 in the AP Poll this week even after second-ranked Stanford lost to top-ranked Connecticut last week. Stanford fell from being a unanimous No. 2, but still remained 19 points ahead of Notre Dame.

    "Frankly, I don't really care where we're ranked," McGraw said. "We are a team that's in control of our own destiny. We're the masters of our fate."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 85 52
    FG Made-Attempted 31-61 (.508) 21-49 (.429)
    3P Made-Attempted 1-9 (.111) 3-9 (.333)
    FT Made-Attempted 22-34 (.647) 7-12 (.583)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 34 2

    Game Leaders

    PointsB. Mallory 16M. White 12
    ReboundsL. Schrader 7E. Cannon 8
    AssistsM. Lechlitner 6E. Cannon 3
    StealsB. Mallory 5E. Cannon 3
    BlocksD. Peters 2A. Mealing 2

    2009-10 Season

    » Dec 29, 2009 ND 85, @UCF 52Recap | Box Score