Jan. 30, 2008
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- The first time Notre Dame pressed full-court, Providence guard Kendria Holmes threw a long pass to Mi-Khida Hankins for an easy layup.
It was the only basket for the Friars in a span of nearly 7 minutes as the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish used a 20-2 run to take control Wednesday night en route to an 85-54 victory.
Notre Dame (16-5, 4-3 BIG EAST) forced Providence into a season-high 29 turnovers, including 23 steals -- the most by the Irish in 13 years and one shy of the BIG EAST Conference record.
Irish coach Muffet McGraw credited forward Devereaux Peters for giving the Irish a spark off the bench. Peters had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, but McGraw said it was Peters' play on defense that was key even though she had just one steal and one blocked shot.
"She just brings instant energy. She helps us to press," McGraw said. "She rebounds. She got some baskets. She immediately comes in the game and is a huge difference in how we're playing. We're running more, we're pressing more, we're rebounding more."
Providence coach Phil Seymore said it was the worst his team has played against a press.
"Once they started pressing, that just changed the game and changed our approach in how we attacked offensively," he said. "I expected us to take care of the ball a little better than we did."
The Irish who gave up 81 points against DePaul and Connecticut to lose back-to-back games at home for the first time in five years, had little trouble in improving to 16-0 all-time against Providence (11-9, 1-6).
The Irish scored 34 points off Providence turnovers, outrebounded the Friars 45-32 and outscored them inside 38-28.
"They really pounded us inside," Seymore said.
Notre Dame started slowly, making just one of its first 10 shots to fall behind 9-3. But Tulyah Gaines got the Irish going with a steal, behind the back dribble and layup to ignite the 20-2 run.
"I thought she played really hard and got us going a little bit," McGraw said. "Then the press finally kicked in and we were able to get some turnovers for baskets."
Lindsay Schrader had 15 points for the Irish, Peters and Charel Allen had 12 points each and Gaines and Melissa Lechlitner added 10 points. Allen also had a career-high six steals and Gaines and Ashley Barlow added four each. Hankins led Providence with 15 points and Shantee Darrian had 10.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame improved to 16-0 all-time against Providence (8-0 at home), with the Friars remaining the lone current BIG EAST Conference team the Irish have never lost to (minimum of five games played) ... the 85 points were the most for Notre Dame in the series since Feb. 1, 2000 (a 90-60 win in Providence) ... the 31-point margin was the largest in the series since Jan. 30, 1999 (a 97-59 Irish victory, also in Providence) ... Notre Dame picked up its eighth 30-point win of the season, two shy of the school record set in 2000-01 ... the Irish also register their 12th 80-point game of the season ... Notre Dame collected a season-high 23 steals, its highest total since Jan. 28, 1995, when the Irish nabbed 23 steals in a 98-50 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the Joyce Center (during Notre Dame's final season in the old Midwestern Collegiate Conference, now the Horizon League) ... the 23 steals also were one short of the BIG EAST record held by three teams, most recently by Georgetown against Notre Dame on Jan. 29, 2000 at the Joyce Center ... Notre Dame forced 29 turnovers, matching its second-best defensive effort of the season (33 by Boston College on Nov. 24; also 29 by Canisius on Nov. 27) ... the Irish caused at least 20 turnovers for the 15th time in 21 games this season and recorded at least 15 steals for the eighth time ... the 20-2 first-half run was Notre Dame's second-best this season in the opening 20 minutes; the Irish went on a 20-0 run late in the first half at Central Michigan on Nov. 20 ... Notre Dame held Providence to 19 first-half points, one short of the Irish opponent season-low for the opening period, held by Michigan (Dec. 2) ... Notre Dame had five double-figure scorers for the sixth time this season (6-0 record) ... the Irish bench now has outscored its counterparts in all 21 games this season (36-16 vs. Providence) ... senior guard Charel Allen had a career-high six steals, one more than her previous best that had been set five times before (most recently on Dec. 21 at IUPUI) ...Allen now is 16 steals away from becoming the first player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists and 200 steals in her career ...Allen also notched her 70th career double-figure scoring game, tying Shari Matvey (1979-83) and Sheila McMillen (1995-99) for ninth place in school history ... junior guard Lindsay Schrader scored in double digits for the fourth time in five games and 12th time this season, just missing her fourth career double-double and second this year (17 points and 12 rebounds on Dec. 5 at Bowling Green).