Three double-doubles win it for Lady Irish

Published 2:14 pm Thursday, January 27, 2005

By By ADAM PAYNE / Niles Daily Star
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Notre Dame women's basketball posted a solid victory over St. John's on Wednesday behind three double-doubles from three of its starters.
Sophomore forward Crystal Erwin carried the load in the first half scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field in just 12 minutes of playing time.
The rest of the team started out flat as St. John's took control early.
The Red Storm's sophomore guard Kia Wright lit it up, scoring 18 first half points including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
Notre Dame struggled from the field, going 12-of-31, but stayed close as St. John's put up virtually identical statistics.
The biggest difference was St. John's 3-point shooting, as it hit four-of-nine first half threes while the Irish hit only one of four.
The Irish fell behind by as many as 8 at 30-22 with 6:24 to play, but they were able to inch up on St. John's as the Red Storm went into the half with a four-point lead at 35-31.
Notre Dame fumbled away 10 first-half turnovers, and Jacqueline Batteast was only 1-of-3 from the floor for two points at halftime.
The second half was a different story as the Irish took charge and went on an early 9-4 spurt to take the lead at 40-39 with 16:23 to go in the game.
Center Teresa Borton gave the Irish the lead collecting an offensive rebound and pounding in a lay-up.
Notre Dame then built the lead to 11 points by outscoring St. John's 23-8 in the first eight and a half minutes to give them a 54-43 lead.
Crystal Erwin's early hot hand cooled off, but she made up for it with seven second-half rebounds to give her 10 for the game to go along with 14 points.
Megan Duffy nearly matched her 5.4 assist per game average in each half Wednesday, collecting five in both for 10 for the game. She also scraped together 11 second-half points, six from the line late in the game, to give her 14 total.
The third double-double came from Batteast who ended the game with 10 points and 10 boards. Her early struggles disappeared as she hit four of her five second half shots.
Notre Dame's lead hovered around eight until their lively defense and tenacity underneath allowed them to pull away slightly. With 9:57 to go, Batteast laid in a third-chance bucket to put Notre Dame up 56-45.
The Irish played a steady, patient game of controlled intensity in the final 20 minutes, improving their field goal percentage for the game to 44 percent by pounding away and earning chances at high-percentage shots inside.
Duffy did air out a handful of her characteristic Hail Mary's, however, including a bomb in transition to Borton who laid it up and in to give the Irish their biggest lead of the night at 15 with two and a half minutes to play.
The Irish then iced the Red Storm from the line the rest of the way to give them a 72-65 victory.
Notre Dame returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Storrs, Conn. to face the Lady Huskies of UConn.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.