HARTFORD, Conn. — Notre Dame hit the boards, and DePaul’s Blue Demons
hit the deck in the Big East Conference women’s basketball tournament
Sunday at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
No. 1 seed Notre Dame used a dominating 36-23 rebounding advantage,
including a 15-5 edge on the offensive side, to storm past No. 8 seed
DePaul, 69-54, and reach the semifinal round. The Irish outscored
DePaul, 23-4, in second-chance points.
Coach Muffet McGraw’s Notre Dame club (29-2), ranked third in the
nation, takes on No. 5 seed West Virginia (23-8) at 6 p.m. Monday at
the XL Center (ESPNU). West Virginia handed Notre Dame its only loss
in 16 regular-season Big East contests, 65-63, on Feb. 12.
DePaul leaves the Big East Tournament with a 22-10 record. West
Virginia (23-8) beat Georgetown, 39-32, in the lowest-scoring Big East
women’s Tournament game in history.
Devereaux Peters and Natalie Novosel scored 16 points each to pace the
Irish. Peters tied a career high by swatting away six DePaul shots.
The 6-foot-2 post from Chicago also had 12 rebounds.
Skylar Diggins had 12 points, six steals and four assists. Sophomore
sharpshooter Kayla McBride scored 14 points.
Notre Dame handcuffed DePaul star Anna Martin, who scored 33 points in
the Blue Demons’ victory over South Florida, and scored a career-high
36 in the previous game, against Cincinnati. Irish senior guard
Brittany Mallory limited Martin to seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.
Martin leads the Big East in scoring (19.5 points a game) and was one
of two first-team Big East unanimous selections, the other being
“That was the key to the game,” McGraw said of shutting down Martin, a
5-foot-9 guard. “We obviously had to find her all the time. We didn’t
really switch the matchups as much as it happened in transition. I
think we did a really good job of finding her, and if Brittany wasn’t
the first one there, somebody else found her.
“Then, we were able to rest Brittany a little bit, and when she was
out, we were able to use Natalie Novosel and Kaila Turner. I think
everybody guarded (Martin) a little, and to get a fresher defender on
her was a little bit more effective.”
Notre Dame slugged the Blue Demons with a 10-0 run to open up the
second half, building a 12-point lead, 48-36. The Blue Demons didn’t
score in the second half until former Penn High star Kelsey Reynolds
hit a jumper with 17:05 left.
“We were just trying to get off to a good start, a better start than
we got off to in the first half,” Diggins said. “Like coach said, we
finally woke up in the second half. We made some adjustments and came
out and executed better.”
DePaul cut Notre Dame’s lead to 11 points at 56-45 with 7:38 left.
The Irish responded immediately, reeling off a 6-0 run to build the
lead back up to 17 points, 62-45. The Demons cut it to a 10-point
lead, 64-54, with 1:46 left in the game before the Irish used a 5-0
run to wrap up it up.
Peters called the 23-4 advantage in second-chance points a team effort.
“The guards are starting to get in a lot more,” Peters said of the
rebounding. “There’s a lot of focus on me crashing the boards. Teams
have been sending two and three people on me to box me out. The guards
have been crashing a lot more and giving us a lot of second-chance
point opportunities. They’ve been doing a good job of getting in
McGraw wants the guards to be even more involved in the rebounding.
“Devereaux was always all over the boards,” McGraw said. “She did a
really good job. I thought we could have done a little better job
rebounding from the guard spot. Brittany Mallory and Natalie Novosel
and the guards could have chipped in a little bit more. But, overall,
I think they just really rely on Devereaux, and when she’s not in the
game, we’ve got to be able to find out who’s going to rebound for us.”
Katherine Harry, a 6-3 forward, led DePaul with 14 points. Reynolds
finished with four.
“Notre Dame is a great team,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. “They’ve
got a Hall of Fame coach and They’ve got very, very talented
basketball players at every position that are hard to guard … and they
guard you and they’re hard to score against.”
DEPAUL (22-10): Jasmine Penny 5-11 0-0 10, Katherine Harry 7-13 0-0
14, Anna Martin 3-10 0-0 7, Brittany Hrynko 2-7 0-0 5, Deanna Ortiz
2-8 0-0 6, Kelsey Reynolds 2-2 0-0 4, Megan Rogowski 3-3 0-0 8. Totals
24-54 0-0 54.
NOTRE DAME (29-2): Devereaux Peters 8-14 0-0 16, Skylar Diggins 5-14
0-2 12, Natalie Novosel 6-16 3-3 16, Brittany Mallory 2-4 0-0 4, Kayla
McBride 6-11 0-0 14, Whitney Holloway 0-0 0-0 0, Natalie Achonwa 2-5
1-2 5, Fredarica Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Kaila Turner 0-3 0-0 0, Markisha
Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Ariel Braker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-68 4-7 69.
Halftime — Notre Dame 38-26. 3-Point Goals — DePaul 6-16 (Rogowski
2-2, Ortiz 2-6, Hrynko 1-4, Martin 1-4), Notre Dame 5-11 (McBride 2-2,
Diggins 2-5, Novosel 1-3, Mallory 0-1). Fouled Out — Hrynko. Rebounds
— DePaul 28 (Hrynko 7), Notre Dame 41 (Peters 12). Assists — DePaul 15
(Martin 5), Notre Dame 13 (Diggins 5). Total Fouls — DePaul 10, Notre
Dame 5. A — 8,362.