Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Notre Dame 78, DePaul 75

Women's Basketball

A while back, I promised to be a better source of Notre Dame women's basketball coverage. Finally, I'm getting around to it.
If you didn't catch tuesday night's game against #10 DePaul, you missed a wild game. As I mentioned in my sports update, the #24 Irish have been struggling as of late. After losing four of their last five, and standing 1-3 in the conference, this was a game that could essentially define the season.
The entire first half was even. The biggest lead by either team was five, when DePaul went up 16-11. At the half, Notre Dame led 37-33.
I picked up the game in the second half, after I got back from our local National Slovak Society's annual dinner (ooh, look at me). Notre Dame scored the first basket of the second period to go up 39-33. Then things went crazy-go-nuts. DePaul went on a 18-0 run, highlighed by three threes from Jenna Rubino. The score now stood at DePaul 51, Notre Dame 39. During this run, I was scrambling to get DePaul's radio feed running on my Linux box. It didn't work out too well. So, I scrambled upstairs to try it on a Windows machine. During that time, Notre Dame went on an 18-0 run of their own to go back up 57-51. The Irish lead got up to seven several times before the Blue Demons started to crawl back.
Before I go on to the end of the game, allow me to enter a tangent on the DePaul radio broadcast. I'm assuming this was an Internet-only broadcast. There was only one person doing the game. Instead of going to commercial during timeouts, the announcer was forced to kill time. My favorite late-game timeout filling monologue went like this:
"And the leprechaun is trying to get the the crowd into it. I... can tell you from experience that this is the backup leprechaun.... The 'real' leprechaun does the men's game. Meanwhile, the band is rocking and rolling all night... and partying every day."
Down 69-68 with 1:34 left, DePaul began to foul. Tulyah Gaines hit both freebies for the Irish, but DePaul came right back with a three to tie the score. Predictably, the Blue Demons... fouled Gaines again. Wait, what? Gaines again converted twice from the charity stripe. A pair of missed shots by DePaul led to two more trips to the free throw line, and Notre Dame converted three of four to go up 76-71. After a basket by DePaul, two free throws by Megan Duffy made the lead 78-73. But, two missed free throws and another basket by DePaul made the game interesting with just 1.5 seconds left.
Leading 78-75, all inbounder Courtney Lavere had to do was get the ball to a teammate and the game would be over. But, it wasn't simple. Blue Demon Allie Quigley stole the inbound pass and put up a half-court shot, but it hit back rim and bounced away. It was a madcap finish to a madcap game.

  • Hampered by poor shooting this season, the Irish shot 47% from the field (28-60), including 50% from 3-point range (5-10). They also converted 17 of 24 free throws, compared to just 6 of 8 for DePaul.
  • Duffy nearly had a triple double Tuesday night. She finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds (not bad for a player eligible for the Frances Wooden Award, given to the best senior 5'8 and under), and 9 assists.
  • After the game, Coach Muffet McGraw took the PA microphone and thanked the crowd for sticking with the team despite their recent struggles.
  • Want a visual representation of that crazy start to the second half? Pull up the Gametracker here and click on the "Game Flow" tab. (WARNING: a VERY LOUD ad for MVP 06 plays when you first open the link.)
  • Box Score

Giants Sign Duff

Per Daddy Fitzgerald, per Ellen on the message board, the Giants have signed free agent Vontez Duff for 2006.