Memorable Senior Day for Notre Dame

Published 5:31 pm Monday, February 28, 2005

By By ADAM PAYNE / Niles Daily Star
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame soundly defeated West Virginia Saturday in their final home game of the season.
The biggest crowd of the year and seventh largest assembly of fans in team history (7,935) was on hand for Senior Day, as Teresa Borton and Jacqueline Batteast were honored in a pre-game ceremony.
The Irish would not disappoint the faithful, laying waste to the Mountaineers 82-57.
West Virginia came out hot, building an early 12-6 lead as Notre Dame played zone defense and Mountaineers senior guard Sherell Sowho was able to get open for three quick three-pointers in the first four minutes.
Following a time-out the Irish switched to one-on-one defense, and Sowho's early hot-hand cooled as she would miss her final four shots of the half.
Notre Dame came charging back, going on an 11-4 run to claim the lead at 17-16. West Virginia quickly answered with a three-pointer from Meg Bulger, the Big East's leading scorer (20.5 points per game).
Notre Dame was not phased, however, and kept to their game plan of pounding it inside for high-percentage shots, going on a quick 8-0 run to go up by six at 25-19 with 9:44 remaining in the half.
Suddenly the Irish went dormant and West Virginia went on a 9-0 run of their own, taking back the lead at 28-25. Borton put a stop to the Mountaineers' run with a layup at the 4:27 mark to end Notre Dame's five minute scoring drought.
Borton then led the charge towards halftime as the Irish tacked on 11 more before West Virginia scored three points in the final minute of the half. Notre Dame's 13-3 run to end the period included six from Borton as well as four from freshman guard Tulyah Gaines. Charel Allen also contributed for the Irish in the first half with two steals, two assists, two points, and a block as the Irish led 38-31 at the break.
The second half was a different game entirely, as Notre Dame continued to play aggressively underneath while West Virginia all but disappeared. The teams traded scores for a few minutes until Notre Dame began to pull away, going on a 23-8 run in the first nine minutes of play. Batteast began to get into the swing, scoring 10 points in the second half.
Once again it was Borton leading the way, collecting rebounds and pounding away inside for lay-ups. The Mountaineers' only spurt in the second half came about half way through, going on an 10-1 run to get back to within 13 with 8:22 to play, but they would fail to get any closer as the Irish put the clamps down.
With three and a half minutes to play, seniors Borton &Batteast were replaced in the game so they could receive their ovations from the crowd.
The most cheers, however, went to Amanda Tsipis. The freshman scored her third basket of the year with 41 seconds remaining and the Joyce erupted in thunderous jubilation.
Notre Dame went up by as many as 27 in the final minute but two West Virginia free throws ended the game, giving the Irish a 25-point victory.
The Irish held Meg Bulger to only nine points for the game and 1-for -12 shooting in the last 20 minutes. Notre Dame shot nearly 70 percent from the floor in the second half while the Mountaineers shot an abysmal 33 percent.
Borton led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds, and Batteast ended with 15 points. Junior Megan Duffy also had a very good game, posting the second double-double of her career with 12 points and 10 assists.
The biggest difference statistically was bench scoring, as the Irish bench outscored the Mountaineers' 26-3 including eight each from freshmen Charel Allen and Tulyah Gaines who also collected a career-high nine rebounds.