Jan. 6, 2009
CHICAGO (AP) -- Erica Williamson scored 20 points to lead No. 12 (AP)/4 (ESPN-USA Today) Notre Dame to an 86-62 win over DePaul on Tuesday night.
Natalie Novosel added 18 points, Ashley Barlow had 12 and Lindsay Schrader chipped in 11 for Notre Dame (13-1, 2-0 BIG EAST), which held DePaul's Deirdre Naughton, who averaged about 18 points, scoreless on 0-for-11 shooting.
Notre Dame never trailed after going ahead 11-10 about six minutes into the game and led 44-30 at the half.
DePaul (12-4, 0-2) shot just 36 percent from the field, compared with 49 percent for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame also outmuscled DePaul underneath, with 20 second-chance points compared with 10 for the Blue Demons. The Fighting Irish outrebounded DePaul 50-29.
Felicia Chester led DePaul with 20 points. Keisha Hampton added 19 points for the Blue Devils, who were undefeated at home this season before Tuesday.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame's 13-1 start matches the second-best debut in school history, as the 2004-05 Irish also began 13-1; the only better start for Notre Dame came in its 2000-01 national championship season, when the Irish opened 23-0 ...
Notre Dame still trails the all-time series with the Blue Demons, 18-13, while trimming its deficit in Chicago to 10-6; Notre Dame also takes a slim 4-3 edge in games played since DePaul joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005-06 ... the Irish post back-to-back series wins over DePaul for only the second time in series history and first since they won three in a row from 1985-86 ... the Irish earn consecutive series wins over DePaul in Chicago for the first time since 1986 and 1987 (the latter season being the year before head coach Muffet McGraw arrived at Notre Dame) ... Notre Dame's 86 points are the most it has scored against DePaul since Jan. 31, 1995 (a 96-87 loss to the Blue Demons at their old arena, Alumni Hall) ... the Irish held DePaul to its lowest series point total since Dec. 31, 2001, when they downed the Blue Demons, 79-50 at the Joyce Center (which also represents the last time the Irish had a larger winning margin than Tuesday night) ... Notre Dame improves to 18-5 in its last 23 true road games, including 8-1 this season ... the Irish complete a sweep of their four-game, 10-day road swing from Dec. 28-Jan. 6, the first time they have won four consecutive games, all on the road (opponent's home court), since Jan. 7-19, 1991, when they capitalized on the first AP Top 25 ranking in program history by toppling Butler (80-64), DePaul (81-66), Loyola-Chicago (66-55) and Marquette (91-73) in succession ... Notre Dame rises to 11-1 this season when leading at halftime, as well as 157-15 (.913) since the start of the 2000-01 season ... the Irish move to 13-0 this season when having at least three double-figure scorers (7-0 with four or more) ... Notre Dame is 6-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points and 120-4 (.968) in its BIG EAST era (1995-96 to present) ... the Irish have held 13 of 14 opponents this season to 63 points or fewer (only exception was 78-72 win over #24 Michigan State on Nov. 29 at the Joyce Center) ... junior center Erica Williamson becomes the eighth different Irish player to lead the team in scoring this season, while also becoming the first to score 20 points in a game this year ... Williamson's career-high 20 points topped her old standard of 16, set three times before (most recently on Notre Dame's last visit to DePaul on Feb. 24, 2008) ... Williamson also pulled down a season-high nine rebounds, finishing one shy of her third career double-double ... freshman guard Natalie Novosel tied her season (and career) scoring high with 18 points, a mark she first established on Dec. 2 at Eastern Michigan ... Novosel's seven rebounds also were one off the season high she set at EMU ... earlier in the day, Notre Dame rose to No. 4 in the latest ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, its highest ranking in that survey in almost exactly four years (Jan. 5, 2005), when the Irish were third in the coaches poll.