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    Following Flynt - Irish Refuse to Lose On Senior Day

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    After squandering a 12-point first half lead, and even falling behind for a bit in the second half, Notre Dame took control down the stretch, on the way to a 80-68 victory over South Florida on Senior Day at Purcell Pavilion.

    The Irish will visit Connecticut on Monday night at 9 pm ET on ESPN2, but today's win clinches at least a share of the regular season BIG EAST title.

    Committing 22 turnovers, Notre Dame did not play its best game, but the Irish hit 26-for-30 (86.7%) from the line and made several important free throws down the stretch to put the Bulls' upset hopes to rest.

    Fittingly, it was senior guard Natalie Novosel who led third-ranked Notre Dame with a career-high 32 points in her final regular season home game. Fifth-year forward Devereaux Peters added 17, and had a career afternoon on the glass, pulling down 18 rebounds in the victory.

    Though she has one more season left in an Irish uniform, junior guard Skylar Diggins also played as if it was her last collegiate home game. The South Bend native scored 18 points and dished out nine assists, coming back from a minor leg injury late in the second half to help lead Notre Dame to its 27th win of the season.

    Notre Dame now improves to 27-2 overall and 14-1 in the conference, with one regular season game remaining.

    After the game, the Class of 2012, including Novosel, Peters, Brittany Mallory and Fraderica Miller, as well as student managers Lucy Eckard and Nick Sigmund, was honored on the court. During the past four seasons, this group has compiled an impressive 109-24 record, but they hope to add another nine or ten victories to that resume before it's all said and done.

    Monday will be an important night for both Irish basketball teams - the men play at 7 pm ET on ESPN at Georgetown, while the women tip off at 9 pm ET on ESPN2 against the UConn Huskies. Both teams are looking to vie for positioning in the upcoming BIG EAST tournaments, on their way to March Madness.

    Stay tuned to UND.com for post-game coverage and highlights from today's game.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

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