Feb. 11, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Junior guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) poured in a game-high 25 points and snared a career-high 13 rebounds, leading Notre Dame to a 78-70 BIG EAST Conference win over DePaul on Sunday night before an ESPN2 national television audience and an enthusiastic crowd of 7,579 at the Joyce Center. The victory completed an unblemished three-game homestand for the Irish (16-8, 7-4 BIG EAST), who are now 13-1 at the Joyce Center this season.
Allen, who registered her third career double-double (all this year), chalked up five key points during a 14-5 second-half run as Notre Dame turned back a determined Blue Demon squad down the stretch. Freshman guards Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) and Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph's) scored 13 points apiece, while junior guard Tulyah Gaines (North Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne) added 12 points and a team-high five assists for the Irish.
Allie Quigley led four DePaul players in double figures with 20 points, scoring 17 of those in the first half. China Threatt came off the bench to chip in 16 points and a game-high six assists, while Caprice Smith and Sam Quigley each tossed in 10 points for the Blue Demons (15-10, 5-7).
Behind Allie Quigley's 11 consecutive points to start the game, DePaul moved out to a six-point lead on four occasions in the first half, the last coming at 19-13 on Quigley's transition layup with 7:45 remaining in the period. Notre Dame came out of the gate slowly, missing on 10 of its first 12 shots from the floor, but the Irish came back and used a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the day, extending out to a 22-19 edge on two foul shots by Gaines at the 5:42 mark. A trey by Allie Quigley tied the game 28 seconds later, but Allen's two free throws with 4:51 left put the hosts back in front for good. The Notre Dame lead ballooned to six points twice in the closing moments of the half, including a 32-26 spread by the intermission.
DePaul halved the deficit on its first possession of the second half, as Missy Mitidiero knocked down her lone three-pointer of the game. However, the Irish answered with an 11-2 run during the next two and a half minutes, capped by Allen's layup off a pretty Gaines assist at the 16:25 juncture. The Blue Demons came back with a run of their own, using a 10-2 spurt to get as close as 47-43 when Threatt hit a jumper in the lane with 10:13 to play.
That's when Allen came through with her biggest plays of the night, converting an old-fashioned three-point play and adding a long jumper in a span of 21 seconds to help Notre Dame rebuild a nine-point lead. The Irish opened their advantage to as much as 13 points twice, the second at 68-55 with 2:42 to play, before DePaul began a frantic last-minute rally that included three consecutive three-point baskets. Smith buried the final two treys in the surge, getting the Blue Demons to 71-66 with 47 seconds to go. But, the visitors would get no closer, as Notre Dame made 7-of-8 free throws in the last 38 seconds to preserve the win.
Notre Dame will have a short turnaround as it heads back on the road Tuesday night for a BIG EAST contest at Villanova -- tipoff time from The Pavilion is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (ET).
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame wins its fourth consecutive game over DePaul at the Joyce Center, although the Blue Demons still lead the all-time series, 15-11 ... the two teams have alternated victories in the last eight meetings, each successfully defending their home court four times ... neither side has won consecutive series games since 1993, when DePaul won the second of two in a row over the Irish ... in each of the past seven series games, the winning team has scored at least 75 points ... Notre Dame is 40-3 (.930) in February home games since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 ... the Irish are 9-4 in games decided by 10 points or less, including all three games of the recently-completed homestand ... Notre Dame is 12-3 this season when fielding three or more double-digit scorers ... the Irish topped the 75-point mark for the 11th time in 14 home games this season ... Notre Dame's 46 second-half points were the most the Irish have scored vs. a BIG EAST opponent in the final 20 minutes of a game this season ... for only the fifth time all season, Notre Dame's bench was outscored by the opposition (2-3 record) ... the Irish changed their starting lineup for the first time all year, inserting freshman guard Ashley Barlow in place of junior center Melissa D'Amico ... Charel Allen topped the 20-point mark for the fifth time in the past eight games, scoring at least 25 points four times in that span ... Allen's 13 rebounds broke her old personal best of 10, set on two occasions (most recently vs. Syracuse on Jan. 20) ... Melissa Lechlitner turned in her first double-digit scoring night since that same Syracuse contest ... Tulyah Gaines dished out at least five assists for the seventh time in 10 games ... Crystal Erwin collected a season-high eight rebounds ... the Irish were held without a three-point field goal for the second time this season (also 0-1 vs. Prairie View A&M on Dec. 28) ... the crowd of 7,579 was Notre Dame's second-largest home audience of the season.