Feb. 4, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior forward Courtney LaVere (Ventura, Calif/Buena HS) scored a season-high 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting to pace four Notre Dame players in double figures, as the Irish pulled away from Providence late in the first half and posted a 66-48 BIG EAST Conference win over the Friars Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 6,800 at the Joyce Center.
LaVere knocked down all four of her shots in the first half before her only miss of the day came 30 seconds into the second half. She then made her final five shots en route to her second consecutive double-digit outing and eighth of the season. Senior All-America guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS) added 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while sophomore guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen HS) and junior guard Breona Gray (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS) chipped in with 10 points apiece for Notre Dame, which won its second consecutive game and improves to 14-7 on the season (5-5 in BIG EAST play).
Shauna Snyder was the lone double-figure scorer for Providence, tallying 14 points, nine coming in the first half. Gayle Nwafili grabbed a game-high nine rebounds for the Friars, who were held to a .283 field goal percentage, including a .188 mark (6-of-32) in the second half.
Notre Dame scored seven of the first 10 points in the contest, before PC came back with a 7-2 run of its own to take a brief 10-9 lead. However, Allen canned a three-pointer on the next Irish possession to put the hosts back ahead, and after a Snyder jumper tied the game, LaVere gave Notre Dame the lead it would never relinquish on a jumper at the 14:26 mark.
LaVere's basket ignited a 16-6 Irish run that also included four points from sophomore center Melissa D'Amico (Manorville, N.Y./William Floyd HS). Gray capped the charge with her second three-pointer of the day for a 28-18 Notre Dame lead with 7:16 left before halftime.
Providence (6-15, 1-9) came back with five consecutive points on a triple by Ashley Etheridge and a jumper by Nwafili. The Irish then scored 11 of the last 16 points in the period, taking their largest lead just before the intermission at 39-28.
Notre Dame then put the game on ice with a stout defense that was the catalyst in a 22-7 run early in the second half. The Irish forced three shot clock violations and LaVere scored eight points in the spurt, ending with a layup that produced a 62-37 lead with 7:57 to play. Notre Dame was able to clear its bench shortly thereafter, and although the Irish did not post a field goal over the final 6:15, they also limited the Friars to a single bucket in that time (Chelsea Marandola's layup with 22 seconds left).
Notre Dame returns to the hardwood Tuesday at 6 p.m. (ET) when it plays host to Villanova at the Joyce Center. The game will be broadcast to a nationwide cable television audience on ESPNU.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame posts its largest margin of victory since a season-best 77-54 win over Arkansas State on Dec. 17 at the Duel in the Desert in Las Vegas ... Providence's 48 points are the second-fewest list allowed by the Irish this season, topped only by a 45-point defensive lockdown against Michigan in the season opener on Nov. 18 at the Joyce Center ... PC's .283 field goal percentage also was the second-lowest by a Notre Dame opponent this year, trailing just a .255 mark by Arkansas State on Dec. 17 ... the Irish had their largest rebound total (44) since that ASU game, when they corraled 47 boards ... Notre Dame had four double-figure scorers for the first time all five starters cracked double digits in a 68-55 win over No. 22/21 Utah on Dec. 18 in the Duel in the Desert (Gray Division) championship game; the Irish are 12-3 this year when at least three players score in double figures ... Notre Dame is 14-0 all-time against Providence and has won 12 of 14 series games against the Friars by double-digit margins; PC's 48 points are its third-lowest in the series and fewest since a 64-44 ND win on Jan. 31, 2001 at the Joyce Center ... the Irish are 62-14 (.816) in the month of February since joining the BIG EAST 11 seasons ago, including a 36-1 (.973) mark at home ... for the 13th consecutive year, Notre Dame won its final game before the Super Bowl and the Irish are now 21-8 (.724) all-time in the last pre-Super Bowl game, including a 12-2 (.857) mark at home ... Notre Dame is 11-2 this season when leading at the half (108-10, .915 in the past six seasons) ... the Irish are 8-0 this season when holding opponents to less than 60 points (158-9 .946 in the past 11 years) ... Saturday marked the 850th game in the Notre Dame women's basketball program's history, with the Irish having compiled a lifetime record of 589-261 (.693) ... Courtney LaVere's 18 points were not only a season-high, but the most she has scored in a game since Nov. 12, 2004 (18 points vs. Illinois State in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at the Joyce Center) ... LaVere's nine field goals tied a career high she had set three times before (last against Wisconsin on Dec. 4, 2003) and her .900 field goal percentage was a career best, exceeding the .857 mark (6-of-7) she had on Feb. 21, 2004 at Pittsburgh ... LaVere now has 1,059 career points, one behind Carrie Bates (1981-85) for 19th on the Irish all-time scoring list ... LaVere's two blocks vs. Providence give her 124 career rejections, tying Trena Keys (1982-86) for seventh on the Notre Dame all-time blocks chart ... Charel Allen had a career-high three steals (previous: 2, three times, last at Louisville on Jan. 14) and tied her personal best with four assists (also: twice, last at Indiana on Nov. 23) ... Megan Duffy tied her career high with eight rebounds (also: twice, last vs. DePaul on Jan. 17), and posted her ninth 5+-assist game of the year (45th of her career) ... Tulyah Gaines had a season-best eight rebounds, one short of her personal standard set on Feb. 26, 2005 vs. West Virginia.