Jan. 29, 2011
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Not only has Notre Dame been winning, but the high-scoring Irish have been blowing opponents out.
It wasn't quite as easy on Saturday night, but the result was the same as Devereaux Peters scored 20 points to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 58-43 victory over Villanova.
Skylar Diggins added 13 points and Natalie Novosel had 11 for Notre Dame (18-4, 7-1 BIG EAST), which has won five straight and 13 of its past 14. The Irish won despite scoring a season low in points - nearly 25 points under their average (82.9 ppg).
"This feels like a blowout against Villanova," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "They're going to hold the ball. I feel like that was a lot of points to beat them by."
Laura Sweeney scored 14 points to pace Villanova (8-12, 0-7), which has lost four in a row.
With four sophomores in its starting lineup, Villanova is in a rebuilding mode this season and Wildcats coach Harry Perretta was pleased with his squad's effort.
"It was maybe the best game we've played all year," Perretta said.
Villanova twice sliced Notre Dame's 12-point halftime lead in half early in the second half, but the Wildcats never could get closer than six.
"It was high, very high," McGraw said of her concern level when Villanova was within six. "We missed some easy shots, some layups, some just rolled off. (But) we kept our composure. It was good for us. We haven't been in a close game in a while. So it was good for us to be on the road, with some adversity and I thought we handled it well."
Villanova led by five points early, but the Irish took control midway through the first half and led 32-20 at the break.
The Irish were upset by Villanova on their last trip to the Pavilion on Jan. 24, 2009.
POST GAME NOTES: For the seventh time in its 16-year membership in the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame is off to a 7-1 start in conference play, having also done so in 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-2000, 2000-01 and most recently last season ... while Notre Dame was held to a season-low 58 points at Villanova (fewest since March 8, 2010 - 59-44 loss to top-ranked Connecticut in BIG EAST Championship semifinals), the Fighting Irish also held their 10th opponent of the season to 50 points or fewer, including four of their first eight BIG EAST opponents ... Notre Dame registered double-digit steals for the 17th time in 22 games this season ... the Fighting Irish also outrebounded their opponent by double digits for the 11th time this year ...Notre Dame fielded at least four double-figure scorers for the 14th time this season, improving to 12-2 in those games ... the Fighting Irish move to 17-10 all-time against Villanova, including a 7-6 record at The Pavilion ... the 15-point margin was the largest for Notre Dame at Villanova since Feb. 13, 2007 (a 75-58 win), and only the fourth double-digit Fighting Irish victory on the VU campus in 13 career visits ... the Wildcats' 43 points were their fewest against Notre Dame since Jan. 24, 2004 (a 38-36 Notre Dame win at Purcell Pavilion) ... the Fighting Irish held Villanova to season lows of two three-pointers and 16 three-point attempts ... Saturday's game marked the eighth time this season Notre Dame limited an opponent to a three-point percentage of 20 percent or lower (VU shot .125 vs. the Fighting Irish) ... Notre Dame set season lows for three-pointers made (0), three-point attempts (4), three-point percentage (.000), field goals made (21) and assists (9) ... the Fighting Irish had their streak of 74 consecutive games with a three-pointer snapped, going scoreless from beyond the arc for the first time since Jan. 3, 2009 (a 66-60 win at Seton Hall) ... Notre Dame shot below 25 percent from the field in a single half (.231 in the second half) for the first time since Jan. 16, 2010 (.229, 8-of-35 in the first half at top-ranked Connecticut) ... senior forward Devereaux Peters finished one rebound shy of becoming the first Fighting Irish player with 20 points/10 rebounds in a game since Feb. 6, 2010 (Skylar Diggins had 23 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Pittsburgh at Purcell Pavilion) ... Peters recorded the second 20-point game of her career, having scored a career-high 23 points in the season opener vs. New Hampshire on Nov. 12 at Purcell Pavilion ... senior forward Becca Bruszewski collected her second double-double of the season and fourth of her career, having previously chalked up 12 points and 13 rebounds against No. 15 UCLA on Nov. 18 at Purcell Pavilion ... Bruszewski also moved within five points of becoming the 27th Fighting Irish player to tally 1,000 career points ... Bruszewski tied her career high with four steals, a mark she had set twice before, most recently on Dec. 8, 2009, against IPFW at Purcell Pavilion ... Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw worked her 750th game at Notre Dame, rising to 543-207 (.724) in 24 seasons under the Golden Dome.