Yesterday their were many storylines heading into the game. It was the 1,000th game in the history of Notre Dame women’s basketball. That game also happened to come on Irish coach Muffet McGraw’s birthday. Purdue came into the game 0-4 in the last four meetings against the Irish. They still had to be stinging from the late game collapse against Maryland on Thursday.
The actual game was delayed a bit waiting for television. Right before they got things going it was announced that the Notre Dame Women’s Soccer team won the national title. I am guessing that ESPN was waiting for that game to finish before starting the next game. The players were even ready for the tip before heading back to their benches. When the game did start things looked good for Purdue. Brittany Rayburn scored the first basket for the Boilers on the break to put them up 2-0. Skylar Diggins scored the first six for the Irish to give them a 6-2 lead. The Boilers tied the game up at six before going on a long scoring drought. Turnovers were killing the Boilers. When they did get a turnover themselves they seemed to shoot themselves in the foot. Sam O made a nice play to steal the ball and was all alone for a layup which she missed. To make matters worse she immediately fouled the Irish player who grabbed the rebound. Still the Irish could not put the Boilers away in the first half. Courtney Moses nailed a tough jumper over Skylar Diggins in the closing seconds of the first half to send the Boilers into the break down ten.
The Boilers did not come out of the locker room firing after the half. They really did not seem to understand what drill they were running to warm up. I did like the lineup that the Boilers started in the second half. I called it the Bruiser lineup. Brittany Rayburn, Courtney Moses, Ashley Wilson, Antoinette Howard, and Alex Guyton started for the Boilers. Some of the highlights of the game included Wilson and Howard breaking the press. Howard was doing a great job bringing the ball up the court. She had a nice full court drive for a basket, and then a nice drive and dish to Wilson. The Bruiser lineup did not work though as the Irish went on a 21-10 run to start the second half.My mindset was to keep the game under ten to give the Boilers a chance before that run. After the run I was just hoping that they could keep it under 20 to at least be respectable. The Boiler weaknesses were on full display yesterday. They had 24 turnovers on the day, but for some reason it seemed like they had many more than that. They did force the Irish into 20 turnovers themselves, but could not capitalize on them. They really miss Drey Mingo and KK Houser right now. The Boilers are 0-2 during the first of two very tough stretches they will face this season. They get a trip to #7 Texas A&M to finish this tough series of games. The team just needs to learn to play together, and then come out firing during the Big Ten season. They are a young team that has a lot of potential.
Play of the Game – In a game like this one play really had no bearing on the outcome. Instead I thought that the series of the game was the nearly six minutes that the Boilers did not score a field goal in the first half. They were down 6-4 early when they went almost six minutes without a field goal, and almost five minutes without a point. During that span they turned the ball over six times. This dry spell helped the Irish go on a 15-4 run that put the Boilers in too deep of a hole to come out of. The Boilers made a mini comeback after that run, but just could not make up enough ground.
Gameball – Natalie Novosel scored 16 points for the Irish in a winning cause. She has really been playing well this season. Skylar Diggins had fourteen for the Irish as well. Brittany Rayburn had a sixteen point day as well, but also pulled down seven boards. With little help she has to put the team on her back. She is really working hard to try and give the Boilers a chance.