Dec. 17, 2005
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Melissa D'Amico scored a career-high 20 points on 10-for-12 shooting to help No. 13 Notre Dame beat Arkansas State 77-54 on Saturday in a Gray Division semifinal game in the Duel in the Desert.
Notre Dame (7-1) will play No. 22 Utah for the Gray Division title Sunday. Arkansas State (5-4) will face No. 23 North Carolina State in the third-place game.
D'Amico, a 6-foot-5 sophomore center, scored 12 of Notre Dame's first 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting as the Irish raced to an 18-5 lead. Notre Dame led 45-25 at the half and the Lady Indians never got closer than 16 points in the second half.
Megan Duffy added 13 points and six assists for Notre Dame, and Breona Gray scored 12 points. Adrianne Davie and Ronnie Maglaughlin led Arkansas State with 10 points each and Davie also had 10 rebounds.
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame was playing its first-ever game in the state of Nevada ... the 23-point margin of victory was the largest of the year for Notre Dame (previously 19 vs. Iona on Nov. 29) ... the Irish now have won 11 of their last 12 regular-season tournament games, dating back to the 1996-97 season ... Notre Dame is 3-0 all-time against current Sun Belt Conference schools (one win each vs. Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee and Florida International) ... the Irish have led or been tied at the half in seven of their eight games this year (all wins) ... it's also the seventh time in eight games this year the Irish have had at least three double-figure scorers (all wins) ... Notre Dame set season bests for points in a half (45; previous was 42 in the 1st half at Wisconsin on Dec. 4), a game (tied - 77; also at Wisconsin on Dec. 4), field goals made (32; previous was 29 vs. Iona on Nov. 29), field goals attempted (73; previous was 66 vs. Iona on Nov. 29), assists (19; previous was 15 on two occasions) and fewest turnovers (11; previous was 12 at Western Michigan on Nov. 20) ... the Irish held Arkansas State to an opponent season-low .255 field goal percentage, the best defensive performance for Notre Dame since Feb. 5, 2005, when the Irish held Pittsburgh to a .250 mark in a 75-47 victory in the Steel City ... sophomore center Melissa D'Amico tallied a career-high 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting in just 18 minutes, breaking her previous scoring best of 13 points vs. USC on Nov. 27, 2005; D'Amico has five double-digit scoring games in eight outings this year after having just one in her rookie season (26 games) ... returning to her hometown of Las Vegas, junior guard Breona Gray posted her second double-digit game of the year with 12 points (season-high is 14 points at Indiana on Nov. 23) ... freshman forward Chandrica Smith set new season bests with four points and four rebounds in 18 minutes; previous marks were three points and two bosrds in six minutes vs. Iona on Nov. 29 ... senior co-captains Megan Duffy and Courtney LaVere inched closer to the 1,000-point mark for their careers with 13 and nine points, respectively; LaVere now has 956 points, while Duffy is hot on her heels with 954 markers.