Jan. 16, 2005
By TOM COYNE
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame found the answers to its problems. Purdue simply found more questions.
Megan Duffy sparked seventh-ranked Notre Dame by scoring 17 of her 19 points in the first half and Jacqueline Batteast finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Irish past No. 20 Purdue 86-69 Sunday.
"It's been these two who have gotten us to where we are now, and I think the team thought it was time for them to step up," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.
Batteast was held to eight points and Duffy six in Notre Dame's 17-point loss to No. 16 Connecticut on Wednesday. But they surpassed those numbers in the first 15 minutes against the Boilermakers.
"Coming off two losses, we were angry more than anything," Duffy said. "Whatever it takes to get a win, we did it tonight."
The Irish (14-3) beat the Boilermakers for the first time since the 2001 NCAA championship game, ending a four-game losing streak to Purdue.
The Boilermakers (10-6), beaten by 20 points on Thursday by No. 11 Minnesota, lost consecutive games for the first time since December 2001, when they lost to the Irish and LSU.
Purdue coach Kristy Curry said her team didn't play well enough to win.
"You lose by 17, but you have to understand when you're playing someone as good as Notre Dame you can't have lapses defensively or offensively," Curry said.
It was the 36th career double-double for Batteast, tying her with Ruth Riley for second place on Notre Dame's career list. Teresa Borton added 18 points, and Notre Dame outscored the Boilermakers 38-24 in the paint.
McGraw said Duffy's play in the first half was the key.
"Once Megan got started, that opened up everything for everyone else," she said.
Erin Lawless led Purdue with 16 points, Katie Gearlds had 14 and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Emily Heikes and Tyeisha Jackson had 10 points each.
The Irish led 54-38 at halftime, scoring four more points than they had in the entire game against UConn. Duffy shot 4-for-4 in the first half, including three from 3-point range, and 6-of-6 from the line.
"It felt good out there," Duffy said. "It's been a little tough for me to find my shot and I've been working on that."
The Irish made seven free throws in the final 63 seconds to take a 16-point halftime lead - matching their biggest of the season.
Purdue cut the lead to 62-51 when Heikes stole the ball and hit a fast-break layup with 14:32 left. But Duffy answered with a pair of free throws, Borton scored inside and Tulyah Gaines scored on a 15-foot jumper as the Irish regained control, leading by 21 points late in the game.
The six losses for the Boilermakers are the most at this point in the season since they had six by Jan. 5, 1997, and finished 17-11.
Curry said the game was pivotal, especially with the teams coming off big losses.
"Somebody is feeling really good tonight and somebody is trying to stay above water," she said. "It's a tough spot to be in."
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame snaps a four-game series losing streak vs. Purdue, defeating the Boilermakers for the first time since the 2001 NCAA championship game (68-66) ... it's also the first regular-season win for the Irish over Purdue since Dec. 9, 2000 (72-61 at the Joyce Center) ... Notre Dame's 86 points are the most it has ever scored against the Boilermakers, and are one shy of the most by either team in the 18-game series (both marks set in an 87-83 Purdue win on Nov. 30, 1994 at Notre Dame) ... the 17-point margin of victory also is the largest by Notre Dame in the series (previously: 73-60 on March 15, 1996 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Lubbock, Texas) ... Sunday's win is the third of the season for Notre Dame vs. a top 25 opponent and the 33rd victory over a ranked opponent for the Irish in the past seven seasons (1998-99 to present) ... the Irish posted their second-highest point total of the season (92 vs. Illinois State on Nov. 12) ... Notre Dame's 54 first-half points were a season high for markers in EITHER half, and were the most in the opening period since a school-record 61 points vs. Cleveland State on Nov. 26, 2002 at the Joyce Center ... the Irish are 12-0 this season when leading at halftime and 89-7 (.927) since the start of the 2000-01 season when they have the lead at the break ... Notre Dame is 90-3 (.968) during the past 10 seasons (1995-96 to present) when scoring at least 80 points ... Notre Dame is 10-0 this season when its reserves outscore the opposition's bench (19-15 vs. Purdue) ... the Irish tallied a season-high six three-point field goals, all in the first half, to top the mark of five set against both Illinois State (Nov. 12) and No. 6 Duke (Nov. 17) ... Notre Dame is 6-0 this season when shooting at least 45 percent from the floor ... the Irish are 35-5 (.875) in "bounce back" games -- the first contest after a double-digit loss -- and 22-1 (.957) in home "bounce back" games since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96 ... Notre Dame finishes the regular season with a winning record (2-1) vs. the Big Ten Conference for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign, when it would up going 4-0 against Big Ten teams (1-0 vs. Georgia and Michigan, 2-0 vs. Purdue) en route to the national championship ... senior All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast collected her fourth double-double of the season and 36th of her career, tying her with Ruth Riley (1997-2001) for second place on the Irish career double-doubles list; Katryna Gaither holds the record with 40 double-dips from 1993-97 ... Batteast also notched the 28th 20-point game of her career, pulling her within one of Trena Keys (1982-86) for fourth place on the Notre Dame all-time 20-point game list ... junior guard Megan Duffy scored 19 points, one off her season high (20 at Valparaiso on Nov. 30) ... Duffy also dished out a team-high six assists, giving her 28 handouts (7.0 apg.) in her last four games ... senior center Teresa Borton narrowly missed her second double-double of the season, finishing with a season-high 18 points; in her last four games, Borton is averaging 14.8 ppg. with a .742 field goal percentage (23-of-31) ... sophomore guard Breona Gray delivered a career-high five assists.