Jan. 2, 2011
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame raced out to a huge lead by putting on a defensive clinic.
The 16th-ranked 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."
"We are shooting the ball really well now," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw 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."
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame set six school records on Sunday in the following areas:
Notre Dame also posted the second-largest margin of victory in school history (76 points), topped only by a 78-point margin in a 113-35 win over Liberty on Nov. 24, 1989, at the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando ... the Fighting Irish pulled down 66 rebounds, the fifth-highest total in school history and most since Nov. 21, 1998, when they had 67 boards against Duke in an 84-57 home win ... this was Notre Dame's eighth 90-point game of the season, erasing the old school record of seven that was set three times (1996-97, 1998-99 and 2007-08) ... the Fighting Irish registered their ninth 30-point win of the year, one shy of the school record set in 2000-01 ... Southeast Missouri State was the seventh different first-time opponent for Notre Dame this season; the Fighting Irish are 5-2 against new foes this season, as well as 26-3 (.897) since the start of the 2000-01 season and 46-7 (.868) since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 ... Notre Dame also now has won 23 consecutive home games against first-time opponents, dating back to Jan. 18, 1996 ... the Fighting Irish are 10-1 all-time against schools from the state of Missouri and 3-0 all-time against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference ... Notre Dame is 14-2 (.875) in its first game of a new calendar year, having now won five in a row and seven of their last eight January openers ... senior forward Devereaux Peters recorded her third career double-double and second this season (both in the past three games) ... junior guard Fraderica Miller pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds.