(2) Notre Dame 71

(22-1, 9-0 Big East)

(13) Rutgers 41

(17-5, 6-3 Big East)

    7:00 PM ET, January 31, 2012

    Louis Brown Athletic Center, Piscataway, New Jersey

    1 2 T
    #2ND 40 3171
    #13RUTG 23 1841

    Top Performers

    Notre Dame: S. Diggins 18 Pts, 1 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Rutgers: M. Oliver 17 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Devereaux Peters, Skylar Diggins powers No. 2 Notre Dame past Rutgers

    Associated Press

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Devereaux Peters has stepped her game up in the last week, helping Notre Dame run over its opponents.

    Peters had 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lead second-ranked Notre Dame to a 71-41 victory over Rutgers (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) on Tuesday night.

    "Devereaux was simply amazing," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "She's playing like an All-American and that's why we're playing so well."

    The fifth-year senior became the first Irish player to have three straight double-doubles since Jacqueline Batteast did it in the 2004 NCAA tournament. Peters can see the end of her run at Notre Dame in the offing.

    "I'm realizing my time's almost up," Peters said. "I want to make the most of it. I'm a fifth-year senior, I want to get our team winning and go as far as we can."

    The Irish lost only once this season, falling to No. 1 Baylor. They have won 19 straight games -- the third longest streak in school history. They ran through Tennessee, St. John's and now Rutgers the last three games.

    "Dev stepped up not only defensively, but also on the boards," McGraw said. "She runs the floor well and is scoring on offensive rebounds. That might be the biggest shift in our game."

    Skylar Diggins scored 18 points and Natalie Achonwa added 15 as the Irish had a balanced offense. Kayla McBride had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame. The Irish controlled the boards against the Scarlet Knights, outrebounding them 52-24.

    "You can't really key on one person, we're a team that has a lot of different weapons," McGraw said. "It could be anyone's game. Natalie coming off the bench, provided a spark for us."

    Notre Dame (22-1, 9-0 Big East) completed a perfect January for the fifth time under McGraw and the first since 2001.

    Trailing 9-8 early on, Notre Dame went on a 22-6 run over the next 7 minutes to take control. The Irish hit five 3-pointers during the spurt, including three by Diggins.

    "We had opportunities early, knocked some 3s down and started our run," Diggins said.

    They led by 17 at the half and blew Rutgers away in the second half, winning by the largest margin in the series' history.

    Notre Dame is just four victories short of the school record set by the 2000-01 team that won the school's lone national championship and shared the Big East title. If the Irish can beat DePaul on Sunday they will match the 20 straight victories done by the 2000 squad.

    Monique Oliver scored 17 points to lead the Scarlet Knights (17-5, 6-3).

    Rutgers was missing second leading scorer Khadijah Rushdan, who sustained a concussion in Sunday's 18-point loss to Georgetown. The senior guard had been playing really well lately, rescuing the Scarlet Knights from a 16-point deficit in the second half to beat DePaul last Tuesday. She scored the final 11 points of that game including the game-winning lay-in with 1.5 seconds left.

    With Rushdan out and the Scarlet Knights not playing well, coach C. Vivian Stringer started four freshmen and Oliver. It's the first time she's had four freshmen in the starting lineup since 2005.

    "I was particular proud of our (freshmen)," Stringer said. "They kept their heads up."

    Sparked by the young group, Rutgers hung with Notre Dame for the first 7½ minutes. Oliver had the Scarlet Knights first seven points, including her first career 3-pointer. A layup by Briyona Canty a minute later gave the Scarlet Knights a 9-8 lead.

    Then the Irish got hot from the outside and Oliver picked up her second foul, heading to the bench. Diggins ditched her trademark white headband and started connecting from the outside. She hit back-to-back 3s in the corner during the run.

    "There's no formula to that," said Diggins laughing at tossing her headband. "I was sick of it, threw it off to change gears."

    Leading 40-23 at the half, Notre Dame extended its advantage to 35 in the second half. Diggins hit one of two free throws with 11:30 left to move into a tie for 10th place on the school's career scoring list.

    It was the biggest win for Notre Dame in the series, surpassing the 28-point victory in 1997.

    This was the Irish's second trip to the Tri-State area in the past week. They beat St. John's on Saturday afternoon, returned to South Bend for class Monday then flew back to New Jersey later that night.

    It was the second straight poor offensive output by the Scarlet Knights. They only had 36 against Georgetown.

    Life doesn't get any easier for the Scarlet Knights as they visit No. 3 Connecticut on Saturday.

    "The Big East is not a joke," Stringer said. "This is the last third of our season. We played Georgetown, Notre Dame and Connecticut is right behind that. Doesn't get any rougher than that."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 71 41
    FG Made-Attempted 24-58 (.414) 16-53 (.302)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-16 (.375) 1-7 (.143)
    FT Made-Attempted 17-21 (.810) 8-10 (.800)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 11 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 35 1

    Game Leaders

    PointsS. Diggins 18M. Oliver 17
    ReboundsD. Peters 17M. Oliver 9
    AssistsD. Peters 4B. Canty 2
    StealsK. McBride 2B. Canty 3
    BlocksD. Peters 2M. Oliver 2

    2011-12 Season

    » Jan 31, 2012 ND 71, @RUTG 41Recap | Box Score