Jan. 27, 2010
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Although No. 3 Notre Dame didn't solve its problem of starting slow, it looked a lot better in the first half against Providence than in its past three games.
The Fighting Irish (18-1, 5-1 BIG EAST), who had fallen behind by double digits in their previous three games, trailed for just 13 seconds after Providence scored the first basket and broke the game open with a 13-2 run midway through the first half en route to an 84-59 victory Wednesday night.
"I thought we were a little sloppy. I didn't think we had quite the intensity maybe that we needed to start the game," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "But overall, offensively, I thought we did some good things."
"I don't know what's the deal," Schrader said. "Our team doesn't really kick it into second gear until the second half, that's me included. I don't know."
Notre Dame's backups outscored Providence's 31-13.
"We're wearing people down in the second half because of the depth we have," McGraw said.
Providence coach Phil Seymore said the Irish are a joy to watch except for when on the opposing bench.
"They do a wonderful job of passing. They all have a lot of intangibles individually with that team. They're very skilled, shoot the ball really well. I think that's what makes them a very good basketball team," he said. "It's not like they have enormous height or anything like that. They really are one unit. They really play together."
The Irish had 23 assists on 32 baskets while the Friars had nine assists on 22 baskets with 26 turnovers.
When Providence (12-8, 3-4) tied the game at 12 on a basket inside by Trinity Hull, Novosel answered with a 3-pointer to spark a 13-2 run by the Irish. The Irish led 35-22 at halftime, then opened the second half with a 5-0 burst to take an 18-point lead.
"They did a lot of different things to disrupt the way we play," Seymore said. "They threw a lot of different things at us that threw our rhythm off. We never had a chance to settle in."
Chelsea Marandola, Providence's leading scorer at 18.3 points a game, was held to three shots and two points in the first half. She scored five of her 18 points during a 7-0 run by the Friars that cut the lead to 50-38.
"They did a real good job of getting out on her," Seymore said. "They were forcing her to put the ball on the floor and make plays."
Emily Cournoyer added 12 points for Providence and Mi-Khida Hankins had 10. The Friars, who had been leading the BIG EAST in 3-point field goal percentage in league games at 37.1 percent, was 0-for-9 in the first half and 3-for-16 for the game.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame improves to 18-0 all-time against Providence, including a 9-0 record against the Friars at Purcell Pavilion; PC and Cincinnati (5-0) are the two BIG EAST Conference programs the Fighting Irish have not lost to (with a minimum of five games played) ... Notre Dame has scored at least 80 points in 10 of the 18 series games with Providence, while holding the Friars to 60 points or fewer for the 12th time in the past 15 series games (after PC topped the 70-point mark in its first three matchups with the Fighting Irish in 1996 and 1997) ... Notre Dame has won 15 of the 18 series games with Providence by double figures, including eight of nine in South Bend ... the Fighting Irish fielded at least five double-figure scorers for the third time this season, and first since Dec. 8 vs. IPFW ... Notre Dame forced at least 20 opponent turnovers for the 15th time in 18 games this season (eighth 25-takeaway night), while logging double-digit steals for the 13th time this year ... sophomore guard Natalie Novosel tied her season high with 12 points, matching her output against Valparaiso (Dec. 12) and South Florida (Jan. 12) ... fifth-year senior guard/tri-captain Lindsay Schrader took over sole possession of eighth place on Notre Dame's career rebounding list with 751 boards, passing Shari Matvey (742 from 1979-83) ... Schrader also narrowly missed becoming the first Fighting Irish player in six years to record three consecutive double-doubles, a feat last pulled off by Jacqueline Batteast in the 2004 NCAA Championship (vs. Missouri State, Middle Tennessee and Penn State) ... senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow notched her 71st career double-digit scoring game, moving all alone into 10th place on the Fighting Irish all-time list (Matvey and Sheila McMillen [1995-99] each had 70 double-figure scoring nights) ... senior guard/tri-captain Melissa Lechlitner posted her 22nd career five-assist game (fifth this year) and jumped into ninth place on the Notre Dame career assist chart with 336 helpers, one more than former teammate Tulyah Gaines had from 2004-08 ... senior center Erica Williamson played a season-high 18 minutes and turned in her best offensive output since a 10-point game vs, Charlotte on Dec. 20 ... Williamson also nabbed three rebounds, putting her 10 away from becoming the third active Fighting Irish player with 500 career rebounds (Connecticut is the only BIG EAST school with three active 500-rebound players).