May 14, 2009
SESTO SAN GIOVANNI, Italy - Senior guard Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) scored a team-high 15 points to lead four Notre Dame players in double figures, as the Irish women's basketball team picked up its second victory in as many games on its European tour with a wire-to-wire 78-68 win over GEAS Sesto San Giovanni on Thursday evening at the Sesto San Giovanni Municipal Gymnasium outside of Milan, Italy.
Schrader also collected eight rebounds and four steals, while shooting 7-of-12 from the floor. Sophomore guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) turned in a second consecutive solid all-around effort with 13 points, five rebounds and five steals, while senior guard Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) and junior forward Becca Bruszewski (Valparaiso, Ind./Wheeler) added 12 points apiece for Notre Dame.
Sophomore forward Kellie Watson (Ionia, Mich./Ionia) paced the Irish with 10 rebounds off the bench, and senior center Erica Williamson (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg) grabbed nine boards for the Irish, who had 52 rebounds as a team and shot 45.3 percent from the field (34-of-75). Notre Dame also benefited from an aggressive defense for the second consecutive game, as the Irish chalked up 21 steals.
Former Cincinnati standout Karen Twehues led Sesto San Giovanni with a game-high 26 points, while Marta Tresoldi scored 17 points and Annalisa Censini chipped in 13 points for the hosts, who recently finished sixth in the 14-team Italian Lega A1 (the top professional league in the country). The 30-year-old Censini came out of retirement for the game, having starred for Sesto San Giovanni prior to the team's recent promotion to the Lega A1.
Schrader got Notre Dame off and running with a power move inside just 56 seconds into the game, as the Irish would never look back. The Italians trimmed their early deficit to 7-4, but Barlow responded by canning the first of her two three-pointers as Notre Dame scored nine of the next 11 points. Sophomore guard Fraderica Miller (Ellenwood, Ga./The Marist School) capped the run with a fastbreak layup at the 3:12 mark, giving her squad a 16-6 lead.
Sesto San Giovanni got as close as eight points later in the first quarter, but after making one of two free throws with seven seconds left in the frame, the hosts fell asleep on the defensive end. Watson took advantage, rebounding the missed second foul shot and whipping an outlet pass to Bruszewski, who caught the ball in stride and laid it in with one second to go, putting Notre Dame on top, 26-14 after one period. Twehues and Fiorand kept their team in the game with a timely burst of three-point shooting in the second quarter, combining for four triples in the stanza and helping whittle the margin to 32-25 with 5:54 to go before halftime. However, the Irish bounced back with an 11-2 run, ignited by Bruszewski's old-fashioned three-point play. Tresoldi hit a desperation trey just before the horn, giving the hosts some life, but Notre Dame still led 43-30 at the intermission.
The Irish looked to ice the game in the third quarter, using a 9-0 run midway through the frame to hike its advantage to 62-40 with 3:46 left. Novosel scored five of those nine points in the surge, while Miller turned in some critical work on the offensive glass with three rebounds than led to second-chance points for Notre Dame.
Sesto San Giovanni wouldn't go quietly, and managed to get as close as 70-60 when Censini hit a tough runner in the lane with 4:56 left to play. However, Barlow hammered the final nail in the coffin with a three-pointer from the right wing 21 seconds later, as the Italians made just two baskets the rest of the way.
Notre Dame will play the third and final game on its 10-day European tour on Saturday at 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. Eastern in South Bend) when it takes on Italian Lega B squad Athena Basket in Rome.
Notre Dame 78, GEAS Sesto San Giovanni 68
NOTRE DAME (78) - Kellie Watson 6 pts (3-11 FG, 0-5 3FG), 10 rebs, 3 stl, 2 asst; Fraderica Miller 7 pts (3-3 FG, 1-2 FT), 3 rebs, 3 stl, 2 asst; Ashley Barlow 12 pts (5-9 FG, 2-4 3FG), 4 rebs, 2 asst, 2 stl; Natalie Novosel 13 pts (5-12 FG, 0-1 3FG, 3-5 FT), 5 rebs, 5 stl, 3 asst; Melissa Lechlitner 6 pts (3-11 FG, 0-3 3FG), 5 rebs, 4 asst, 1 stl, Lindsay Schrader 15 pts (7-12 FG, 1-2 FT), 8 rebs, 4 stl, 3 asst; Becca Bruszewski 12 pts (5-13 FG, 1-4 3FG, 1-1 FT), 7 rebs, 2 asst, 2 stl; Alena Christiansen 2 pts (1-1 FG), 1 reb, 1 stl; Erica Williamson 5 pts (2-3 FG, 1-2 FT), 9 rebs. TEAM 34-75 FG (.453), 3-17 3FG (.176), 7-12 FT (.538), 52 rebs (14 offensive/38 defensive), 18 asst, 0 blk, 21 stl, 22 fouls.