Nov. 13, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) - Kayla McBride scored 16 points Sunday, and No. 2 Notre Dame placed six players in double figures in a 99-34 victory over Indiana State in the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament.
Skylar Diggins, Devereaux Peters and Markisha Wright had 14 points apiece for the Irish (2-0), who will play Long Island or Hartford in the tournament semifinals at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday. Wright also had 11 rebounds, and Fraderica Miller and Natalie Novosel each scored 10.
Anna Munn scored 13, but Indiana State (1-1) committed 36 turnovers.
Using a technique brought to the squad by Diggins, Notre Dame continuously stole the ball off the dribble.
"We really work hard on (stealing off the dribble) in practice," coach Muffet McGraw said. "I think Skylar brought that, and then we saw how it changed the game. Fraderica had that when she came in and was doing the same thing and I think that Whitney (Holloway) is doing the same thing. She is watching them and learning from them and now she can get up on the ball."
Notre Dame, which finished with 25 steals, used its stellar defense to get off to a quick start for the second consecutive game. The Irish jumped to an 18-0 lead in the first six minutes, forcing eight early turnovers. Deja Mattox converted a layup at the 14:32 mark to get Indiana State on the board, but Notre Dame reeled off another nine straight to build a 27-2 advantage at the 12:27 mark.
The Irish carried a 58-15 lead into halftime. They forced 21 first-half turnovers while committing only four, and Diggins had 11 points at the break.
Indiana State was without starting point guard Taylor Whitley.
"We got word late last night that our starting point guard was not going to be available to us today," coach Teri Moren said. "We will learn early this week if she will be back this season. It is too early to tell. There is nothing like putting a freshman (Natasha Zurek) into the starting lineup against a team like this on the road. That was an unfortunate circumstance, but we dealt with it the best we could."
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame has won 28 of its last 31 regular-season tournament games, while the Fighting Irish have advanced to the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT for the fourth time in as many appearances in that tournament (also 1996, 2004 and 2007) ... Notre Dame's 65-point margin of victory is the fourth-largest in school history, and third 65-point win in less than a calendar year (95-29 vs. IUPUI on Nov. 26, 2010; 97-21 vs. Southeast Missouri State on Jan. 2, 2011 - both games played at Purcell Pavilion) ... the Fighting Irish scored 58 points in the first half, tying for the third-most points in one half in school history (and matching the second-most in the first half of a game) -- Notre Dame last scored that many points in a half on Nov. 15, 2009, with a similar 58-point first half in a 102-54 win over visiting Arkansas-Pine Bluff ... the 99 points were the most by the Fighting Irish since last year's season opener, when they downed New Hampshire, 99-48 on Nov. 12, 2010, at Purcell Pavilion ... Notre Dame's .581 field goal percentage was its best since Feb. 8, 2011 (.640 vs. Seton Hall at home), and its .571 three-point percentage was the best (min. 10 attempts) since Jan. 18, 2011 (a similar 8-of-14 effort from distance in a home win over #16/17 Georgetown) ... for the second consecutive season, the Fighting Irish opened with consecutive 25-steal efforts (29 vs. Akron on Friday; 25 vs. Indiana State on Sunday) -- last year, Notre Dame had a school-record 36 steals vs. New Hampshire, followed three days later by 26 steals in a win over Morehead State, also at Purcell Pavilion ... the Fighting Irish had six double-figure scorers for the first time since they also had six in last year's Seton Hall win (Feb. 8, 2011) ... Notre Dame is 48-7 (.873) against first-time opponents since joining the BIG EAST Conference (1995-96), and 28-3 (.903) since the start of the 2000-01 season ... the Fighting Irish have won 25 consecutive home games against new opposition, dating back to January 1996 ... Notre Dame is 27-2 (.931) against the current Missouri Valley Conference alignment (18-1 in the 25-year Muffet McGraw era), including a 14-1 (.933) record at home (11-0 in the McGraw era); Notre Dame also has won nine consecutive games overall and 13 in a row at home against MVC teams ... Indiana State was the 21st different in-state opponent the Fighting Irish have faced, with Notre Dame rising to 122-32 (.792) against other Indiana schools and a 61-11 (.847) record at home and an active 17-game winning streak against the Hoosier State ... ISU is the eighth of the other nine NCAA Division I schools in Indiana that Notre Dame has played, with the lone exception being Ball State ... Notre Dame improves to 55-1 when leading at the half during the past two-plus seasons (2009-10 to present), and 218-18 (.924) in such games since the start of the 2000-01 season ... the Fighting Irish are 32-1 in the past two-plus seasons when scoring at least 80 points, and 155-5 (.969) in such games dating back to its entry in the BIG EAST 17 years ago ... Notre Dame jumps to 232-15 (.939) when holding its opponent below 60 points since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 ... senior guard Natalie Novosel became the 29th player in school history to score 1,000 points, passing the milestone on a pair of free throws with 14:20 remaining (she now has 1,001 points) ... Novosel is the second current Fighting Irish player in the 1,000-Point Club, joining junior guard Skylar Diggins, who is 24th all-time with 1,104 points (two behind Danielle Green, who scored 1,106 points from 1995-2000 before graduating, enlisting in the U.S. Army and ultimately being injured while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and earning a Purple Heart - she was honored during Friday's Veterans Day events at the Notre Dame-Akron game) ... Novosel also tied her career high with six assists, matching her total for the third time, and first since March 6, 2011, vs. Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals at Hartford, Conn. ... freshman forward Markisha Wright registered her first career double-double (14 points/11 rebounds) in her second college game, the earliest a Fighting Irish rookie has posted a double-double in her career since Nov. 13, 2006, when Ashley Barlow chalked up 19 points and 10 rebounds in an 85-81 overtime win over Bowling Green at Purcell Pavilion ... for the first time this season (including the exhibition game), Notre Dame went over the 88-point mark, earning Big Mac coupons for the 8,157 fans in attendance -- it's the 27th "Big Mac" game in the promotion's five-year history, with sophomore forward Ariel Braker putting the Fighting Irish over the mark on two free throws with 5:14 left (it was Braker's first career "Big Mac Basket") ... Sunday's win was No. 558 of McGraw's career at Notre Dame, tying her for third on the Fighting Irish athletics all-sports coaching victory list with former baseball skipper Jake Kline (558 from 1934-75) -- former men's tennis/wrestling coach Tom Fallon coached 579 wins from 1957-87, while longtime men's & women's fencing coach Michael DeCicco was at the helm of 774 Fighting Irish wins from 1962-95.