Kayla McBride powers Notre Dame to easy win over Marquette

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame guards Skylar Diggins and
Brittany Mallory are competing to see who can get the most steals
in the season.

And while coach Muffet McGraw didn't want to reveal what the
prize was, she could not have been happier with both players'
performance in Notre Dame's 95-42 victory over Marquette in the Big
East opener for both teams.

The No. 3-ranked Irish (8-1, 1-0) beat the Golden Eagles (5-5,
0-1) by forcing 37 turnovers, 18 of which were steals. Diggins had
six of those steals and Mallory two. For the season, Diggins leads
the competition 32-26.

"I gotta beat Brittany," Diggins said. "We take that (steal
competition) very seriously. But really, our defensive mindset is
pretty much that you don't be the one that messes up so we put a
lot of effort into it."

Kayla McBride led Notre Dame with 19 points. Diggins added 17
points, and Natalie Novosel and Mallory each had 11. Devereaux
Peters had 10 rebounds to go with nine points. Sarina Simmons led
Marquette with 14.

Notre Dame was efficient with their turnovers, scoring 46
points. They were also able to pass the ball inside at will,
scoring 52 points in the paint.

McGraw had an easy explanation for that.

"Our 3-point shooting showed up tonight," she said of her
team's 7-for-13 effort from beyond the arc. "That opens up the
paint for us."

Marquette coach Terri Mitchell was visibly angry at her team's

"I'm going to remember this game for a long time," she said.
"I am completely embarrassed by our performance. I don't expect
anyone who puts on a Marquette uniform to perform the way we did. I
know we are young, but this is unacceptable. I'm not happy in any
way. I am very disappointed in the way that we did not fight
tonight and had three games worth of turnovers."

McGraw said that playing at top-ranked Baylor (a 94-81 loss on
November 20) showed her team the things they needed to work on and
that a lot of that improvement showed up against Marquette.

"This was the closest we have been all year to playing a
perfect game," she said. "We played hard for all 40 minutes, even
when our bench players came in there was no let up."

Notre Dame forced four early turnovers and used a 9-0 run to
jump out to an early 11-3 edge at the 17:15 mark. The defensive
intensity continued to pay dividends in the next six minutes, as
the Irish forced another five turnovers and converted most of them
into easy layups for a 29-12 lead.

Notre Dame had 15 points off turnovers in the first nine
minutes. Notre Dame set up in the Marquette paint for the rest of
the half and went into the intermission with a 51-23 lead.

Novosel and Diggins each had 11 at halftime while the Golden
Eagles' Simmons also had 11.

At the half, Notre Dame had 15 assists on 21 field goals. The
Irish had forced 17 turnovers, including nine steals. Notre Dame
shot 58 percent while holding Marquette to 36 percent in the first

Notre Dame forced the Golden Eagles into eight consecutive
turnovers early in the second half, building the lead to 65-25.