Feb. 21, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame jumped to a 20-2 lead less than nine minutes into Wednesday night's game with Georgetown and never looked back, rolling to a 73-48 BIG EAST Conference victory over the Hoyas at the Joyce Center. The Irish (19-8, 10-4 BIG EAST) also extended their winning streak to a season-long six games and posted at least 10 conference wins for the 11th time in their 12-year BIG EAST membership.
Junior center Melissa D'Amico (Manorville, N.Y./William Floyd) led another quartet of Notre Dame players who scored in double figures, with the 6-5 post registering a game-high 15 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) and a team-best seven rebounds. Junior guard Tulyah Gaines (North Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne) added 14 points, four assists and four steals, while junior guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) and freshman guard Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph's) each contributed 11 points.
As a team, the Irish turned in one of their best defensive efforts of the season, holding Georgetown (12-15, 2-12) to an opponent season-low 48 points while forcing 29 turnovers. Kate Carlin was the lone Hoya to score in double figures on Wednesday night, finishing with 15 points on five three-pointers. Notre Dame also clamped down on GU's leading scorer, Kieraah Marlow, who came into the contest averaging 16.2 points per game, but ended up with just six points and one field goal (which came with 6:44 to play).
The Irish wasted little time in taking control of the game, scoring the first 11 points of the night, with Gaines tallying five markers and two steals during the opening spurt. A jumper in the lane by Georgetown's Shanice Fuller got the visitors on the board at the 15:01 mark, but Notre Dame answered with nine more points, taking a 20-2 lead on the first of two Lechlitner free throws with 11:10 remaining in the first half. During that time, the Irish made four of their first six shots, while limiting the Hoyas to one field goal on 11 attempts and causing 11 GU turnovers.
Georgetown didn't wither and clawed its way back into the game with a 16-3 run over the next six minutes. A jumper by Kristin Heidloff trimmed the Notre Dame lead to 23-18 with 4:46 to go, but the Hoyas couldn't draw any closer. The Irish weathered the storm and rebuilt a 33-23 edge by halftime when freshman guard Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) canned a jumper in the lane with 1:24 on the clock.
Notre Dame went on a 7-2 run to start the second half, but Georgetown again battled back and got as close as 10 points on two occasions, the last at 43-33 on Carlin's fourth trey of the night with 13:50 left. However, Allen stepped forward and scored five consecutive points, igniting a 14-0 Irish charge during the ensuing five minutes that staggered the Hoyas for good. Notre Dame maintained a lead of at least 19 points the rest of the game, getting the margin as high as 25 points twice, including the final score.
The Irish will wrap up their 2006-07 home schedule Saturday with a noon (ET) contest against No. 21/22 Rutgers at the Joyce Center. Prior to the game, which will be broadcast as part of the BIG EAST Regional Sports Network television package (check local listings), Notre Dame will pay tribute to its departing seniors -- forward Crystal Erwin, guard Breona Gray, and student managers Alison Guengerich and Cheron Wilson. Tickets for that Saturday's game are still available and can be purchased through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), on-line by clicking here, or by visiting the Joyce Center Gate 10 ticket windows on game day.
POST GAME NOTES: With the exception of last year's 8-8 BIG EAST record, Notre Dame has never registered fewer than 10 conference wins since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 ... the six-game Irish winning streak matches the success string Notre Dame put together to start last season ... the Irish are 21-2 all-time vs. Georgetown, the fourth-highest win total vs. one opponent in school history (topped only by 27 vs. Marquette and 22 each vs. Dayton and Detroit) ... Notre Dame is 17-1 vs. Georgetown since joining the BIG EAST, including a 17-0 mark when holding the Hoyas under 70 points ... the Irish held GU to its lowest point total in the series since March 4, 2001, when Notre Dame downed Georgetown, 89-33 in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at Storrs, Conn. ... the 25-point margin of victory is the most for Notre Dame in the series since a 74-49 victory on Feb. 5, 2003 at the Joyce Center ... the Irish now have had four double-figure scorers in each of their last five games (9-1 record this season) ... the 48 points allowed by Notre Dame were a season-low (previous: 54-51 loss to Indiana on Dec. 3) ... Georgetown's .333 field goal percentage was the second-lowest by an Irish opponent this year (.325 by Providence on Feb. 17), and the Hoyas' 29 turnovers were the second-most caused by Notre Dame this year (30 by Michigan on Dec. 1) ... the Irish improve to 14-1 at home this season, including a current 10-game winning streak -- in fact, the Notre Dame men's and women's basketball programs are a combined 31-1 (.969) in front of the Joyce Center faithful this season ... Notre Dame is 41-3 (.932) in February home games since joining the BIG EAST and has won nine February games overall, dating back to last season ... Melissa D'Amico scored in double figures for the third consecutive game, the first time she has done that since Dec. 16-28 ... Tulyah Gaines registered her highest point total since a career-high 27-point night vs. Cincinnati on Jan. 10 ... Melissa Lechlitner was a double-digit scorer for the third time in four games and is averaging 12.0 ppg in that time.