March 23, 2004
By TOM COYNE
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Jacqueline Batteast tied her career-high with 27 points, 14 during a decisive 22-1 run, leading Notre Dame to a 59-46 victory over Middle Tennessee State in the NCAA tournament second round.
The 13th-seeded Lady Raiders (24-8) were leading 26-25 when Batteast got the fifth-seeded Irish (21-11) started on their run with a 14-foot jumper from the baseline. Monique Hernandez then scored on a layup to give the Irish a 29-26 halftime lead.
Batteast scored the first six points of the second half and 12 of Notre Dame's first 18 points, with Jeneka Joyce adding a pair of 3-pointers. The only point for Middle Tennessee during that span was a free throw by Krystle Horton; the Lady Raiders went 10:34 without a field goal.
The Irish advanced to the final 16 for the sixth time in eight seasons. They will play top-seeded Penn State on Saturday in Hartford, Conn. The Lady Raiders failed in their attempt to become just the second No. 13 seed to advance to the final 16.
The Irish shot 55 percent for the game, including 58 percent in the second half, and outrebounded the Lady Raiders 36-30. The Irish also had six blocked shots, including three by Courtney LaVere, who also had two steals.
Horton, who along with Notre Dame's Crystal Erwin was ejected for pushing with 1:02 left, led the Lady Raiders with 18 points. Patrice Holmes, Middle Tennessee State's leading scorer at 15.8 points a game, was held to nine on 4-of-15 shooting.
Middle Tennessee played tight defense through much of the first half,
scoring 17 points off 13 Irish turnovers and leading by as many as five points.
But Batteast finally got the Irish going, hitting from both inside and outside.
She was 13-of-17 from the floor, including 7-of-8 in the second half, matching the 27 points she had in the season opener against Auburn. She also had 12 rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal.