Nov. 5, 2007
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Senior guard Tulyah Gaines (North Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne) scored a team-high 16 points to lead six players in double figures as No. 24 Notre Dame defeated Hillsdale, 96-64 in an exhibition game on Monday night before a crowd of 5,325 at the Joyce Center. With their 23rd consecutive preseason victory, the Irish improved to 31-5 (.861) all-time in exhibition play, including a 28-1 (.966) mark in the past 15 years.
Gaines connected on eight of 11 shots from the floor, helping Notre Dame to a .506 field goal percentage for the night. Sophomore guard Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) matched her stat line from last week's exhibition opener vs. Southern Indiana, ending up with 13 points, five rebounds and a game-high five steals. Freshman guard Brittany Mallory (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh School) came off the bench to toss in 11 points, while three veteran guards added 10 points apiece -- senior Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen), junior Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) and sophomore Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph's).
Katie Cezat scored a game-high 23 points on 11-of-22 shooting, and grabbed eight rebounds for NCAA Division II member Hillsdale, which was making its season debut on Monday. Julie Slot chipped in 20 points for the Chargers before fouling out with six minutes to play.
Following much the same pattern as its first exhibition outing, Notre Dame jumped to a 6-0 lead in the first 91 seconds, as Schrader stuck back a pair of offensive rebounds and added a jumper in the lane. Hillsdale answered with four consecutive points, but the Irish countered with an 11-2 run, including seven points from freshman forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick), to push their lead into double figures, where it would remain the rest of the way.
Yet, the Chargers stayed within striking distance, playing Notre Dame even for the next six minutes before Barlow reeled off seven consecutive points to push the Irish on top, 42-22 with 3:35 to go in the first half. Hillsdale got the lead back to 16 points, but Notre Dame went over the half-century mark just before halftime on two Mallory free throws, going to the locker room with a 51-32 edge.
The Irish began the second half like they did the first, ringing up eight unanswered points in the opening 2:37 of action. The Chargers then put together their best offensive surge of the night with an 11-3 spurt, capped by a three-pointer from Kara McCormick at the 12:43 mark that trimmed the Notre Dame lead to 62-43. The Irish then put Hillsdale away for good with a 16-5 run during the ensuing five minutes and the Chargers never got closer than 27 points the rest of the way.
Notre Dame will open the 2007-08 regular season Friday at 9 p.m. (ET) against Miami (Ohio) in the first round of the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) at the Joyce Center. Free live video of the contest will be available on the official Irish athletics web site, UND.com. Tickets for that game, and all Notre Dame women's basketball contests this season, are on sale through the Irish Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356) or on-line at UND.com.
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POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame's 96 points were its highest output in an exhibition game since a 96-45 victory over Ferris State on Nov. 10, 2005 ... Hillsdale's 64 points were the most allowed by the Irish in the preseason since Nov. 3, 2003, when Notre Dame defeated Northwest Sports, 85-65 ... the Irish now have scored at least 80 points in their last nine exhibition games, and tallied at least 90 points in back-to-back preseason contests for the first time since 1999 and 2000, when they did so in three consecutive games (94-85 vs. Premier All-Stars in 1999; 98-53 vs. Finnish Select Team and 91-56 vs. Ohio All-Stars in 2000) ... had it been a regular season game, Monday's contest would have marked the first time Notre Dame had six double-digit scorers since Nov. 12, 2004, when the Irish also had six in double figures against Illinois State in the first round of the 2004 Preseason WNIT ... all 11 players scored for Notre Dame in Monday night's win, with senior guard Amanda Tsipis (Perry, Ohio/Perry) the last to find her way into the scorebook after banking in a three-pointer with 11 seconds left.