May 29, 2002
COMO, Italy -
Forward Jacqueline Batteast erupted for 23 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead five Notre Dame players in double figures as the Irish closed out their European trip with an 82-76 win over Pool Comense 1872 Tuesday night at the Palasampietro in Como, Italy. Notre Dame winds up its four-game circuit of Italy at 3-1, with its only loss a five-point setback on Sunday against Reyer Venezia in Mestre.
Batteast, the reigning United States Basketball Writers' Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year, also collected 12 rebounds and four blocked shots to register her second double-double of the series. Guard Kelsey Wicks charted 15 points, while center Teresa Borton picked up her first double-double on the trip with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Forward Katy Flecky added 12 points and guard Le'Tania Severe contributed 11 points, eight assists and four steals for Notre Dame, which wiped out a double-digit first-half deficit for the second time in as many games, coming out on the right side of the ledger on this night.
Raffaella Masciedri led an equally-balanced attack for Pool Comense, finishing with a team-high 16 points, 13 of them in the first half. Pool Comense is a 14-time Italian Serie A (First Division) professional league champion and has won 11 of the last 12 titles, including the 2002 crown two weeks ago.
"It was great to see the way we responded when we got behind tonight," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "Jackie carried us for a while, but I thought our freshmen, as a group, played really well. They all made big shots and every one of them contributed to this win. Also, Le'Tania Severe is continuing to feel more and more comfortable with her growing role as a leader on this team. She did a great job for us defensively tonight."
Tuesday's tilt was close from the outset, with the Irish taking early leads of 8-4 and 12-11. However, Pool Comense finished the first quarter on a 13-2 run, the last bucket on a baseline runner by Fernanda Zara with one second left, to take a 24-14 lead after one period. The hosts upped their lead to 32-18 when Clara D'Amico banged home a three-pointer from the right wing with 8:18 to go before halftime, seemingly giving the Italian champions complete control.
That's when Notre Dame reversed the momentum, as Wicks dropped in a trey to start a 10-0 Irish run. The visitors wound up scoring 23 of the final 32 points in the opening half and pulled even with Pool Comense when Borton made one of two free throws with 18 seconds left in the stanza.
The Irish charge continued after the intermission, as Notre Dame never led Pool Comense retake the lead. Batteast saw to that all by herself, scoring eight consecutive points in a span of 71 seconds, hitting a three-pointer, a deuce, and another triple to give the Irish a 49-43 lead at the 8:32 mark. Batteast and Wicks then took turns blitzing the Italians, with Wicks firing the last shot, a three-pointer from deep in the left corner, just before the third-quarter horn to hike the Notre Dame lead to 69-57.
Pool Comense made one final charge, opening the fourth period on a 15-6 run and getting within 75-72 when Angela Cerdinale sank two free throws with 4:28 to go. However, as she had done much of the night, Batteast drove a dagger into the hearts of the Italian faithful, burying a foul line jumper on the next possession to stifle the rally. Pool Comense never managed to get closer than five points the rest of the way.
Batteast and Wicks shared team-high scoring honors during the four-game tour, each averaging 14.8 points per game. Severe was third at 13.5 ppg., followed by Borton and Flecky at 10 ppg. As a team, the Irish averaged 79.5 points per game in the series, while holding their opponents to just 66 points per outing.
Borton was the rebounding leader for Notre Dame at 12.3 rpg., finishing in double figures in three of the four contests, including a series-high 16 caroms vs. Reyer Venezia. Batteast was second on the squad at 11.3 rpg., also carding double-figure rebounding totals in three games. Severe recorded a team-high 5.3 assists per game in the series, posting a 1.31 assist-to-turnover ratio (21 assists, 16 turnovers).
All nine players on the European tour will return for Notre Dame next season, along with guard Allison Bustamante, who was unable to make the trip while recovering from a stress fracture in her foot. In addition, the Irish will welcome a pair of newcomers, point guard Megan Duffy and 6-3 forward Courtney LaVere to the fold next season.
"This was a great trip for us for a lot of reasons," McGraw said. "We showed great improvement from one game to the next and our offensive execution was very strong at times. We also did a nice job in the post, which is something we will need to have in order to be successful.
"But, the best thing I saw on this trip was the chemistry developing between these players," she continued. "It doesn't matter what combination we put on the floor; it seems as though we're not losing anything at all. It was also great to see the way the freshmen are maturing. There's certainly room for improvement in all areas, but this trip was a big step in the right direction."
NOTRE DAME 82, POOL COMENSE 1872 76
May 28, 2002 -- 8:30 p.m.
Palasampietro (Como, Italy)
NOTRE DAME (82) -- Severe 3-10 5-7 11; Joyce 2-4 0-2 6; Batteast 9-13 2-3 23; Ratay 0-4 0-0 0; Flecky 4-10 4-6 12; Krause 0-0 0-0 0; Swanson 1-3 0-0 2; Borton 6-9 1-2 13; Wicks 5-11 2-2 15; TOTALS 30-64 14-22 82.
POOL COMENSE 1872 (76) -- (scoring totals only) Francesca Zara 8; Elena Paparazzo 13; Raffaella Masciedri 16; Mariangele Cirone 0; Renata Selvestrini 10; Clara D'Amico 3; Giulia Cesedio 12; Angela Cerdinale 12; Federica Acerbis 2.
NOTRE DAME THREE-POINT FIELD GOALS -- Batteast 3-3, Wicks 3-9, Joyce 2-2, Ratay 0-2, Flecky 0-2, Swanson 0-1, TOTALS 8-19.
NOTRE DAME REBOUNDS -- Batteast 12, Borton 12, Flecky 9, Severe 5, Joyce 4, Ratay 4, Wicks 4, Krause 1, Swanson 1.
NOTRE DAME ASSISTS -- Severe 8, Borton 2, Flecky 2, Joyce 2, Batteast 1, Krause 1, Ratay 1.
NOTRE DAME BLOCKED SHOTS -- Batteast 4, Borton 2.
NOTRE DAME STEALS -- Severe 4, Batteast 1, Swanson 1, Wicks 1.
NOTRE DAME TURNOVERS -- Severe 4, Batteast 3, Joyce 3, Borton 2, Swanson 2, Wicks 2, Flecky 1.
-- ND --