Following Flynt - Mountaineers Stun Irish at Purcell

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It started as a great afternoon. A celebration of cancer survivors, and those fighting the illness. Over $204,000 were raised for breast cancer research. Cathy Richardson in the house to sing "Here Come The Irish." The sellout crowd was electric.

But at the end of the day, the Irish were stunned, falling to the West Virginia Mountaineers, 65-63 on their home floor. It's the first loss for Notre Dame since Nov. 20, and it snaps the 20-game home winning streak for Coach Muffet McGraw's team.

Skylar Diggins led the way with 32 points and Natalie Novosel contributed 16, but Notre Dame got little from anyone else offensively. The Irish shot just 64% from the line, and several missed free throws down the stretch cost them an opportunity to put the Mountaineers away.

After forwards Natalie Achonwa and Devereaux Peters fouled out, Notre Dame had a difficult time containing West Virginia center Asya Bussie, who made three key baskets in the closing minutes. The junior finished with 22 points to lead the Mountaineers to the upset road victory.

Combining for 45 personal fouls and 38 turnovers, neither team played particularly well. Notre Dame shot 40.7% from the field, slightly higher than West Virginia's 38.5%. It was a sloppy game from both teams, but in the end, West Virginia stepped up when it mattered most, closing the game on a 8-1 run and making key shots both from the field and at the free throw line.

Notre Dame (24-2, 11-1 BIG EAST) will look to bounce back on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm ET vs. Providence at the Purcell Pavilion. Follow the action right here on UNDerground, as the Irish gear up for the home stretch of the regular season and seek to start a new home winning streak.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

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