Nov. 17, 2004
By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Jacqueline Batteast scored 17 points, including 10 during a decisive three-minute run in the second half, to lead No. 11 Notre Dame to a 76-65 victory over No. 6 Duke in a WNIT semifinal Wednesday night.
Batteast, who got into early foul trouble and had just four points in the first half, was 6-of-12 shooting in the second half. With Duke ahead 56-55, Batteast made two free throws, then hit four straight shots and assisted on Charel Allen's basket in a 12-2 run that put the Irish ahead 67-58.
Allen added 16 points, and Megan Duffy had 15 for the Irish (3-0).
Monique Currie led Duke (2-1) with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but made just 2-of-9 shots for seven points in the second half. Alison Bales had 11 points and seven blocked shots, and Mistie Williams added 10 points.
The Irish host Ohio State (3-0) in the WNIT final Saturday.
Duke, which led 28-26 at halftime, opened a 39-30 lead four minutes into the second half. But Batteast, Allen and Duffy each hits 3-pointers as the Irish went on a 20-11 run to tie the game at 50 when Courtney LaVere, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds, hit a 10-foot shot from the baseline. The teams then traded leads four times until Batteast took over.
She started the run with a pair of free throws, then made a 10-foot baseline jumper, then hit an 18-foot shot from the top of the key. She then added a rebound basket and a 15-foot jumper.
The Irish outrebounded Duke 42-39.
POST GAME NOTES: With the victory, Notre Dame advances to the championship game of the Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT, where it will play host to No. 10/9 Ohio State Saturday at 7 p.m. (ET) at the Joyce Center ... it also will mark the 800th game in Notre Dame women's basketball history (551-248, .690) ... tickets for the Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT championship game go on sale Thursday at 8:30 a.m. (ET) at Gate 10 of the Joyce Center or by calling the Notre Dame athletics ticket office at (574) 631-7356 ... the Irish lost their only previous matchup with the Buckeyes, 74-67 on Jan. 4, 1997 in Columbus, Ohio ... Notre Dame and Ohio State both will be making their first-ever appearances in the Preseason WNIT title game ... the BIG EAST Conference also will be represented in the WNIT championship game for the third time in four years (Connecticut won title in 2001; Rutgers lost in last year's final) ... the Irish are now 4-1 all-time against Duke, including a 2-0 mark at the Joyce Center ... Notre Dame extended its home winning streak to 23 games, the second-longest in school history and sixth-longest active run in the nation ... the Irish have won 50 of their last 52 non-conference home games, dating back to 1994-95 ... Notre Dame is now 9-4 (.692) all-time when it is ranked and hosting another ranked team at the Joyce Center ... Duke represents the 19th top-10 opponent Notre Dame has defeated in its history and the first since the Irish downed fourth-ranked Connecticut, 66-51 on Jan. 13, 2004, also at the Joyce Center ... in the past five-plus seasons (1998-99 to present), Notre Dame has defeated 31 ranked opponents ... Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw now needs just seven victories to pass Digger Phelps for the most wins ever by a Notre Dame basketball coach (men's or women's) -- McGraw has a mark of 387-149 (.722) in 17-plus seasons with the Irish ... Notre Dame has won nine of its last 10 in-season tournament games, with the only loss being a 67-63 overtime setback at 20th-ranked Colorado in last year's WBCA Classic final ... the Irish now are 76-8 (.905) all-time when playing at home as a ranked team ... for the third time in as many games this year, the Irish had at least four players score in double figures ... junior forward Courtney LaVere chalked up her seventh career double-double (first this season) with 13 points and 11 rebounds ... with her 17 points tonight, senior All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast now has 1,369 career points, putting her just five markers shy of moving into the top 10 on Notre Dame's career scoring list (passing Shari Matvey - 1,373 points from 1979-83) ... Batteast also tied her career high with seven assists for the second consecutive game ... the Irish set a school and arena record by making all five of their three-point attempts, breaking the old mark of .857 (6 of 7) set against Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 27, 1993 at the Joyce Center (the record requires a minimum of four shots made) ... Notre Dame scored 50 points in the second half, its highest scoring output in one period since Feb. 5, 2003, when the Irish scored 52 points in the second half of a 74-49 win over Georgetown at the Joyce Center ... the 76 points scored by Notre Dame are the most it has posted against a top-10 opponent since March 30, 2001, when the Irish defeated Connecticut, 90-75 in the NCAA Final Four at the Savvis Center in St. Louis.