Nov. 16, 2006
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A poor shooting night on Notre Dame's part and a hot shooting evening for Penn State didn't make for a good combination, as the Irish took their first loss of the 2006-07 season, 75-49 to Penn State on Thursday evening at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. Notre Dame shot a season-low 26.8 percent (15-of-56) from the field, while the Lady Lions connected at a .488 clip (20-of-41) from the floor and an .879 rate (29-of-33) at the foul line to remain unbeaten this season.
Junior guards Tulyah Gaines (North Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne) and Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen) scored a team-high 12 points apiece, while freshman guard Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph's) came off the bench to register a season-best 11 points, including 3-of-4 three-pointers. Tyra Grant led Penn State (4-0) with 19 points, highlighted by a 10-of-10 effort from the free throw stripe.
Notre Dame (2-1) never led in the contest, as PSU made its first five shots from the floor and its initial four free throws while bolting out to a 15-2 lead with five minutes gone. From there, the Irish played the Lady Lions virtually even for the remainder of the half, getting within 26-16 on Allen's jumper with 6:22 left before halftime. However, Penn State answered with six consecutive points and wound up with a 37-22 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, Notre Dame sliced the margin to 13 points on two occasions, the second on Gaines' old-fashioned three-point play at the first media timeout of the period (15:56). But, Grant came back with five straight points for the hosts, and after a three-minute dry spell on both ends, the Lady Lions finished off an 11-3 run that pushed their lead over 20 points midway through the second half. PSU kept the Irish at bay the remainder of the contest with potent free throw shooting, with 14 of its final 20 points coming from the line.
Notre Dame returns home Sunday for a noon (ET) match-up with Western Michigan inside the Joyce Center. Tickets remain available for that game (and all Notre Dame women's basketball games) and may be purchased through the Irish Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356), via the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com) or on game days at the Gate 10 ticket windows in the Joyce Center.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame falls to 0-5 all-time against Penn State and 0-2 in University Park ... the Irish lose their second consecutive game to a Big Ten Conference opponent after winning five of the previous six, dating back two seasons ... Notre Dame suffers a rare November loss, as Thursday's setback snapped a 14-game Irish winning streak in the year's penultimate month (last loss: Nov. 30, 2003 -- an 83-59 defeat at third-ranked Tennessee) ... Notre Dame's .268 field goal percentage was its lowest since Feb. 12, 2006, when the Irish shot 25 percent (17-of-68) at DePaul ... Penn State's .879 free throw percentage was the best for a Notre Dame opponent since March 7, 2004, when Rutgers converted on 88.9 percent of its free throws (16-of-18) in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship at the Hartford Civic Center ... the Lady Lions' 29 free throws made equaled the same number converted by Boston College against the Irish in the opening round of last year's NCAA Tournament (BC was 29-of-36, .806) ... Notre Dame collected 13 steals at PSU, the third time in as many games this season that the Irish have come away with double-digit thefts (averaging 12.7 per game this year); junior guard Tulyah Gaines tied her career high with four steals (done twice before) ... the Irish had a season-low 14 turnovers and are averaging 16.7 giveaways per game this season, with a current 15-game run of less than 20 turnovers in a game since a 22-giveaway night at Rutgers on Jan. 24, 2006 ... conversely, the Notre Dame defense caused 21 PSU turnovers (including two shot clock violations), just topping their season average of 20.7 takeaways ... Gaines scored in double figures for the second consecutive game, the first time in her career she has put together back-to-back double-digit outings ... junior guard Charel Allen has scored in double figures 11 times in the past 15 games, dating back to last season ... freshman guard Melissa Lechlitner became the seventh different Notre Dame player to score in double digits this season, tossing in a personal-best 11 points.