SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) raced out to a huge lead by putting on a defensive clinic.
The Irish scored the first 36 points of the game and easily beat Southeast Missouri State 97-21 on Sunday. They set numerous school records, including allowing the fewest points in a game, eclipsing the mark of 25 points they gave up to Grace College in 1978.Even as the early point spread grew, the Irish dug in defensively."You don't want to be the first one scored on," said Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins, who led the team with 18 points. "Then after they scored we wanted to improve our execution."Southeast Missouri State (5-9) missed its first 18 shots and got its first basket, a 3-pointer by Katie Norman with 5:20 to go in the first half."Everybody knows that the Big East is not a joke and that every team is a good one," Diggins said. "You can never take anyone lightly. So when you get up on a team like we did today, you have to focus on what is coming next and you can't let up."The Irish visit Marquette on Wednesday night in a Big East matchup.Devereaux Peters had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Her improvement over the last few games has really helped the Irish, who outscored Southeast Missouri State 58-0 in the paint."Dev has just come alive in the paint," Diggins said. "She has such great hands that we are not afraid to throw anything to her."Kayla McBride added 17 points and Becca Bruszewski had 12."We are shooting the ball really well now," she said. "Our field goal percentage is really good and I think that shows that speaks to the growing maturity of the team. We work really hard on defense and our transition game is good. We are definitely on a steady upswing."Jasmine Davis led the Redhawks with six."When you go against a team with the length and quickness that Notre Dame has, you really have a battle on your hands and we knew that coming in," SEMO coach John Ishee said. "I am most disappointed in my team because we did not come out really intense and I think we were intimidated and I don't care who you play, you can't do that."