May 23, 2002
PALESTRINA, Italy -
Guard Le'Tania Severe knocked down seven of 10 shots, including the layup that ignited an 11-0 fourth-quarter run, sparking Notre Dame to a 79-63 win over Acquarino Palestrina Thursday night at the Palestrina Sports Centre. It was the first stop for the Irish on a four-game, 12-day European tour, with all four games coming in a six-day period.
Guard Kelsey Wicks came off the bench to score 16 points and grab six rebounds, while guard Alicia Ratay scored 13 points (11 in the second half), and center Teresa Borton narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. Forward Jacqueline Batteast took game-high rebounding honors with 11 caroms, while forward Katy Flecky pulled down 10 boards for Notre Dame.
"I was really pleased with the way we looked in transition tonight," Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. "I thought Le'Tania executed our offense almost flawlessly and did a great job leading our team. We also played some much better team defense late in the game and everyone contributed to this win."
"I thought we played really well, considered we had not played together competitively in a while (since March 17)," Severe said. "We adjusted well to what they were doing and also did a good job fitting in with the new rules and the different officiating style."
Annalisa Accarino scored 13 points to lead Acquarino Palestrina, an Italian Second Division club comprised of players ranging in age from 16 to 30. Sponsored by a local frozen foods company, the team took on Notre Dame Thursday night as a means of tuning up for a playoff game on Saturday which could result in a promotion to the Italian First Division (Serie A) for the 40-year-old club. Palestrina is located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Rome.
The Irish got their first look at some of the unusual international rules they will be dealing with on this trip. Among the key changes from the American college game are: a longer three-point line (20-6 vs. 19-9), the larger men's ball, a 24-second shot clock, a wider free throw lane, four 10-minute quarters and two bonus foul shots on the fifth team foul in each period.
Notre Dame didn't seem to feel the effects of the rules changes early on, jumping out to an 11-5 lead with 6:42 left in the first quarter. Severe and Batteast scored four points each during the spurt. However, the Italians fought back, going on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes to take their first lead of the game at 13-11. The teams then traded the lead three more times in the closing moments of the period before Monica Cardillo hit a bucket with five seconds left to give Palestrina a 20-18 edge after one.
The tight game continued in the second quarter, with five more lead changes and two ties before the hosts opened up a 28-25 lead with 5:18 to go before halftime. Then, it was the Italian club's turn to go cold from the field, as Notre Dame reeled off 10 unanswered points to take a 35-28 lead at the 2:22 mark. A pair of late Palestrina scores help trim the Irish lead to 37-33 at the intermission. Notre Dame led at the break despite shooting only 34.1 percent (15-44) from the field, including 0-10 from the deeper three-point line.
The two sides played dead even in the third quarter, scoring 23 points apiece to leave the game in Notre Dame's favor, 60-56, heading into the final 10 minutes. At that point, the trademark Irish defense stepped to the forefront and helped put the game on ice. After trading baskets with its Italian foes in the first minute of the period, Notre Dame clamped down and did not allow Palestrina to score for the next 5:23 of the contest. During that time, the Irish went on an 11-0 run, punctuated by their only three-point basket of the game (from Ratay) which helped the visitors build a 73-58 lead with 4:15 to play. The Italian side never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way, while Borton gave Notre Dame its largest lead of the night on a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining.
"We did really well adjusting our style of play down the stretch," Ratay said. "We were pretty tired today after all the sightseeing we did and they were a pretty physical team. They like to come barreling down the lane at you, but we stood in there and didn't back down."
The Irish (1-0) will not have much time to rest as they make the four-hour trek north to Bologna, Italy, for their second game on Friday at 6:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. in South Bend. Notre Dame will take on Faenza-Ravenna Select, a mixed team of players from the Faenza (First Division) and Ravenna (Second Division) teams located outside Bologna. For more information on the Irish and their European tour, click on the button on the right side of the women's basketball page.
NOTRE DAME 79, ACQUARINO PALESTRINA 63
May 23, 2002 -- 8 p.m.
Palestrina Sports Centre (Palestrina, Italy)
NOTRE DAME (79) -- Severe 7-10 3-6 17; Joyce 2-8 0-0 4; Borton 5-9 2-2 12; Batteast 4-11 0-0 8; Ratay 4-10 4-4 13; Krause 0-1 0-0 0; Swanson 1-2 0-0 2; Wicks 6-14 4-4 16; Flecky 2-10 3-6 7, TOTAL 31-75 16-22 79.
ACQUARINO PALESTRINA (63) -- (scoring totals only) Claudia Gatlini 10; Giorgia Bertocchi 5; Annalisa Accarino 13; Anita Meloni 11; Beatrice Consoli 4; Chantal L'Abbate 2; Francesca Bolognesi 7; Rossella Cecconi 4; Monica Cardillo 7.
NOTRE DAME REBOUNDS -- Batteast 11, Flecky 10, Borton 9, Ratay 8, Wicks 6, Severe 4, Krause 1, Swanson 1.
NOTRE DAME ASSISTS -- Severe 4, Flecky 3, Joyce 3, Krause 3, Batteast 2, Borton 2, Ratay 1, Wicks 1.
NOTRE DAME BLOCKS -- Batteast 1, Borton 1, Joyce 1, Ratay 1, Wicks 1.
NOTRE DAME STEALS -- Severe 2, Wicks 2, Batteast 1, Flecky 1, Joyce 1, Swanson 1.
NOTRE DAME TURNOVERS -- Severe 4, Joyce 2, Swanson 2, Wicks 2, Batteast 1, Borton 1, Flecky 1.
-- ND --