Nov. 13, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame charged back from an 11-point deficit with 10 minutes to play, ousting Bowling Green, 85-81 in overtime on Monday night before a boisterous crowd of 5,746 fans at the Joyce Center. The Irish actually trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, but held the Falcons to two field goals during an eight-minute stretch late in the second half and then limited BGSU to three points in the extra session to pull out the victory.
Junior guard Tulyah Gaines (North Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne) had a career night, scoring 25 points and collecting six rebounds. Junior guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) also had a career-high with 21 points, while also snaring six boards and coming up with a team-high four steals and two blocks. Freshman guard Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) played a pivotal role off the bench for Notre Dame, registering her first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, not to mention scoring six of the seven Irish points in overtime.
Notre Dame ended up successfully winning the war on the glass by a 45-33 margin (32-17 after halftime), and also shot well from the foul line for the second consecutive game, hitting 23-of-28 charities (82.1 percent). The Irish also forced 19 Falcon turnovers, with 14 of those coming from steals.
The veteran Bowling Green squad, which had all five starters back from last year's 28-3 club, saw those five players each score in double figures. Guard Kate Achter had a team-high 20 points and nine assists, while Megan Thorburn tossed in 17 points, including 5-of-6 three-pointers. As a team, the Falcons made 11-of-23 triples (47.8 percent), with the last being a right-wing jumper by Liz Honegger at the horn in regulation that resulted in bonus basketball.
Notre Dame (2-0) looked sharp in the opening minutes, scoring the game's first six points behind their two seniors, guard Breona Gray (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) and forward Crystal Erwin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./St. Paul). Yet, that lead didn't last long, as BGSU went on a 16-2 run over the next 5:25, with Carin Horne scoring nine of her 16 points consecutively during that stretch. The Irish then trimmed down the margin with six in a row off buckets from Barlow, Gaines and Erwin. But that only briefly stemmed the tide.
Bowling Green ripped off 11 consecutive points, highlighted by a pair of treys from Thorburn, to take its largest lead of the night at 27-14 with 6:15 to go in the first half. A nine-point Irish run seemed to take the bite out of the Falcon run, but in what would be a recurring theme for much of the game, BGSU never let Notre Dame get closer than four points before ballooning its lead back to a comfortable length. By halftime, the Falcons had a 38-31 lead, thanks to a sizzling .565 field goal percentage (13-of-23), including a .556 three-point ratio (5-of-9), over the first 20 minutes.
Bowling Green (1-1) made a bid to ice the game early in the second half, moving out to a double-digit lead on four occasions, including a 61-50 edge when Honegger canned a three-pointer with 10:04 to play. Little did they know it at the time, but the Falcons would find the range from distance only once the rest of the way.
Slowly and methodically, Notre Dame began chipping away at the BGSU lead, finally getting within one possession at 66-63 on Gaines' jumper at the 6:49 mark. Less than two minutes later, the Falcons' edge was gone, as Erwin converted an old-fashioned three-point play for a 68-68 ballgame and five minutes to go. The teams then essentially traded baskets down the stretch before Gaines came up with a critical steal inside the final minute and set up Allen on the ensuing possession for a 15-foot jumper that put the hosts in front, 77-75 with 26.4 seconds to play.
Horne missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer on BGSU's next possession and Thorburn fouled Gaines on the rebound, sending the Notre Dame co-captain to the line to try and seal the comeback. However, she missed the front end of two shots (one of only two misses in 11 tries on the night), opening the door for the Falcons. Honegger took advantage of the opportunity, wriggling free on the right wing and stepping into a game-tying three-pointer that just beat the regulation horn.
Bowling Green took the early overtime lead when Achter made one of two free throws 34 seconds in. From there, the Notre Dame defense clamped down, forcing four consecutive missed shots by the Falcons. Meanwhile, Barlow put back an Allen miss midway through the extra session to lift the Irish ahead, 80-79. She then hit two foul shots with 21 seconds to play, pushing the lead out to three points. After allowing Achter a virtually uncontested layup, Gaines made one of two charities at 0:14, then Barlow came up with a steal as BGSU was maneuvering for a game-tying or game-winning shot inside of five seconds to go. The Irish rookie then walked to the west end of the Joyce Center court, stepped to the stripe and calmly buried two free throws to dismiss the delirious home crowd with smiles on their faces.
Notre Dame will tip off the road portion of its 2006-07 schedule Thursday when it travels to Penn State for a 7 p.m. (ET) contest at the Bryce Jordan Center. College Sports Television (CSTV) will broadcast the game live nationally, marking the first of 10 televised games for the Irish this season.
POST GAME NOTES: The double-digit comeback was Notre Dame's first since Feb. 28, 2006, when the Irish climbed from a 15-point hole to defeat Pittsburgh, 72-65 on Senior Night at the Joyce Center ... this was Notre Dame's fifth overtime game in its last 19 outings, with the Irish going 3-2 in extended play over that span ... Notre Dame is 7-5 all-time in overtime games at the Joyce Center, but this win snapped a two-game home OT losing streak for the Irish (first win since Jan. 10, 2006 -- a 67-65 conquest of Marquette) ... Notre Dame improves to 3-0 all-time against Bowling Green, including a 2-0 mark in South Bend ... in their three series wins over the Falcons, the Irish have shot a combined .605 from the field (52-of-86) in the second half, with a .500 percentage (15-of-30) on Monday night ... Notre Dame is 64-16 (.800) lifetime against Ohio schools, including a 31-7 (.816) record at the Joyce Center; the Irish also have won 12 consecutive home games against the Buckeye State, dating back more than 13 years ... Notre Dame is 29-14 (.674) against the current Mid-American Conference alignment (18-4, .818, at home) and has won its last 12 games against that league's present membership ... during the past 12 seasons (1995-96 to present), the Irish are 93-3 (.969) when they score at least 80 points ... Notre Dame has scored 80 points in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 14 & 21, 2002, when they defeated Temple (84-61) and IPFW (82-54) at the Joyce Center ... the Irish have opened the season with back-to-back 80-point efforts for the first time since Nov. 24 & 26, 1995, when they won at Indiana (82-73) and back home vs. Bowling Green (92-67) ... Notre Dame had two 20-point scorers in the same game for the first time since March 21, 2005, when Megan Duffy scored 24 and Jacqueline Batteast tallied 20 in a 70-61 loss to Arizona State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Fresno, Calif. ... Ashley Barlow's 19 points narrowly missed giving the Irish three 20-point scorers for the first time since Jan. 7, 1999 vs. West Virginia (Danielle Green 28, Sheila McMillen 26, Ruth Riley 23 in 111-90 win) ... Tulyah Gaines' previous career scoring high was 14 points in an overtime win at Cincinnati on Feb. 25, 2006 ... Charel Allen's previous career scoring high was 17 points at Syracuse on Jan. 19, 2005.