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    Fighting Irish

    Dec. 6, 1997

    Connecticut Downs Notre Dame

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- For the second straight game, the Notre Dame women's basketball team was plagued by turnovers and poor shooting as the Irish lost for the second time in as many games in dropping a 78-59 decision at home to second-ranked Connecticut.

    Connecticut All-American Nykesha Sales led all scorers with a game-high 21 points as she connected on all 10 of her shots from the field. Sales, who was plagued by foul trouble in the first half, played just 26 minutes of the contest in leading four Huskie players in double figures.

    Mollie Peirick led the Irish with 13 points, while Niele Ivey career highs of 11 points and six steals. They were the only two Notre Dame players in double figures as the Irish shot 36.1 percent for the game, hitting just 10 of 32 from the field (31.3 percent) in the second half.

    Notre Dame, which fell to 3-3 and 0-2 in the BIG EAST, dropped its second straight game for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign. It was the seventh straight loss for the Irish against the Huskies who have won all seven meetings between the two schools. The 59 points scored by the Irish were the fewest at home since a 62-55 loss to Seton Hall on December 11, 1993.

    The Irish trailed by just five at halftime (35-30) after falling behind by 17 midway through the first half. After Stacy Hansmeyer's jumper at the 9:23 mark which put Connecticut up 31-14, the Huskies failed to score a basket for the remainder of the first half, hitting just four free throws and Notre Dame was able to climb back into the game. Sales played only eight minutes in the first half after getting two quick fouls, but left the game with 10 points.

    Connecticut opened the second half by outscoring the Irish 21-10 in the first nine minutes following intermission and led by as many as 19 with 9:10 left to play in the contest. The Huskies shot 56.5 percent in the second half and 49.0 percent for the game.

    Hansmeyer added 13 and a game-high 9 rebounds for Connecticut, which improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the BIG EAST. Also in double figures were Paige Sauer and Svetlana Abrosimova who chipped in 12 points each.

    Notre Dame returns to action on Monday, December 8 when the Irish travel to Madison, Wisc., to take on the 19th-ranked Badgers.

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