Niles Daily Star photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ Notre Dame junior point guard Skylar Diggins drives around Liberty's Terika Lundsford during the Fighting Irish's 74-43 victory over the Flames in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon. Notre Dame will take on California in the second round Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

Archived Story

Notre Dame blitzes Liberty

Published 6:20pm Sunday, March 18, 2012

When you are the No. 1 seed in your region, you always want to come out and establish you are better than the No. 16 seed you are facing.
That point wasn’t lost on Notre Dame as it blitzed Liberty University in the opening two minutes on its way to a 74-43 victory in the second game of Sunday’s opening round.
The Fighting Irish (31-3) outscored the Flames (24-9) 11-0 in less than two minutes and never looked back.
Natalie Novosel and Brittany Mallory hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game for Notre Dame and give the Irish a 6-0 advantage.
A three-point play by Kayla McBride increased the lead to 9-0 and when Deveraux Peters scored off an assist from Skylar Diggins, it was 11-0 with 18:23 showing on the first half clock.
Liberty finally got on the board with a 3-pointer by Devon Brown, but the Flames were never able to string together a run to make the game interesting.
By the time the first half was 10 minutes old, Notre Dame led 27-12 and was on its way to an easy victory and a date with California in the second round Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
The Bears defeated Iowa 84-74 in the first game Sunday afternoon.
The Fighting Irish led 44-19 at halftime.
While Notre Dame didn’t play well in the final 20 minutes, Liberty was unable to take advantage of it.
In fact, despite the lackluster performance in the second half, the Irish were able to build on their advantage and continue to pull away.
The lead reached 34 points with 5:28 to lead.
That’s when Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw cleared the bench and watched as he team finished out the contest.
McBride led the Fighting Irish with 15 points, while Novosel finished with 12 points. Peters added 10 points. Diggins finished with seven points, a team-high nine rebounds and six assists.
Devon Brown led Liberty with 16 points. Danika Dale added 12 points.
The Flames came into the game as the nation’s top rebounding team, but ended up being outrebounded by the Irish 38-29.

LIBERTY 43

Tolu Omotola 2; Devon Brown 16; Avery Warley 10; Reagan Miller 0; Danika Dale 12; LaKendra Washington 5; Ellee Rollins 1; Jasmine Gardner 0; Terika Lundsford 0; Catherine Kearney 1. TOTALS: 13 13-20 43

NOTRE DAME 74

Devereaux Peters 10; Kayla McBride 15; Skylar Diggins 7; Natalie Novosel 12; Brittany Mallory 7; Whitney Holloway 2; Natalie Achonwa 8; Fraderica Miller 9; Kaila Turner 2; Marisha Wright 0; Ariel Braker 2. TOTALS: 32 6-10 74

Halftime score: Notre Dame 44, Liberty 43. Shooting: Liberty 13-42 (31 percent), Notre Dame 32-66 (48.5 percent). Rebounding Liberty 29, Notre Dame 38. Turnovers Liberty 23, Notre Dame 11. Records: Liberty 24-9, Notre Dame 31-3

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