Nov. 27, 2010
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Natalie Novosel scored a career-high 23 points and No. 18 Notre Dame handed Wake Forest its first loss of the season, 92-69 on Saturday in the WBCA Classic.
Novosel scored 15 of her points in the first half, when she was 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. Four other players scored in double figures for the Irish (4-2), including Erica Solomon with 14 points, Devereaux Peters with 12, and Natalie Achonwa and Skylar Diggins with 11 each.
"We need to do better than that when we get into BIG EAST play," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "My mother just told me that I should be happy with this win, but I'm not."
Lindsy Wright led Wake Forest (4-1) with 14 points while Secily Ray added 13.
After breaking out to a 45-28 halftime edge, the Irish quickly established a 26-point lead in the second half and coasted from there. Their largest lead was 77-45 midway through the half.
"We just did not react very well to the moment," Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen said. "Here we are playing in front of 8,294 people and we didn't keep our composure very well.
"I'm not a silver-lining kind of guy, especially when we lose by this much. We never had control of the tempo and Notre Dame forced us to foul. That allowed Notre Dame to set up the 3/4-court trap which depresses our tempo."
Irish senior point guard Brittany Mallory returned to the lineup after missing two games due to an injury sustained against UCLA and added three points.
Novosel was one of the bright spots for Notre Dame, leading the team in scoring for the second time this season. She had 21 points against Kentucky.
"I'm still mad about that one free throw," said Novosel, who was 11 of 12 from the foul line along with 5 of 9 from the field. "I had the mindset at the beginning of the year to come in and be one of our top scorers. I think I am just trying to fit into it."
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame has won 23 of its last 26 regular-season tournament games, dating back to the start of the 1996-97 season ... the Fighting Irish set a school record on Saturday by making 37 free throws, topping the old mark of 33 converted foul shots, set on three different occasions (the last on Feb. 4, 2007, in a win over West Virginia at Purcell Pavilion) ... Notre Dame's 43 free throw attempts tied for the fourth-most in school history, and most since Jan. 15, 2001, when the Fighting Irish went to the stripe a school record-tying 46 times against Connecticut in a 92-76 win at Purcell Pavilion ... Notre Dame also shot a season-best .860 from the foul line and shot at least 50 percent for the field for the fourth time in six games this year ... Wake Forest was the fourth of seven first-time opponents on Notre Dame's schedule this season, with the Fighting Irish improving to 44-6 (.880) against new foes since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96, and 24-2 (.923) against first-time opponents since the start of the 2000-01 season ... Notre Dame rises to 13-2 (.867) all-time against teams from the state of North Carolina, including a 5-0 record at Purcell Pavilion ... the Fighting Irish lift their all-time record against current Atlantic Coast Conference teams to 41-17 (.707), including a 36-11 (.766) record in the 24-year Muffet McGraw era (1987-88 to present) and a 20-1 (.952) all-time record against the ACC at Purcell Pavilion ... Wake Forest was the 10th different ACC opponent Notre Dame has faced, with the Fighting Irish now having played every school in that conference except Clemson and Florida State ... for the third time this season, junior guard Natalie Novosel tied or set a career high for scoring, with Saturday's 23 points being two more than her previous high set on Nov. 21 at No. 9/10 Kentucky ... Novosel also set new personal bests by going 11-for-12 at the free throw line; prior to Saturday, she had never made more than six free throws or attempted more than eight in a game (both marks she most recently hit for the third time in her career on Nov. 15 against Morehead State) ... junior forward Erica Solomon finished one point shy of her career scoring high, which she set on Nov. 23, 2008, at Boston College; Solomon has three double-figure scoring games this season, after posting seven in her first two seasons combined.