Diggins leads No. 4 Notre Dame past USC
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw looked at the stat sheet and was
impressed with the zero turnovers her point guard Skylar Diggins
had against Southern California.
Diggins scored 22 points and had five steals in the
fourth-ranked Irish’s 80-58 win over USC on Friday in the Junkanoo
”No turnovers for Skylar,” McGraw said. ”That’s incredible,
against some great pressure, and she had the ball so much. We
really wanted to keep the ball in her hands today, because she was
really making things happen. For a while, she was the only one who
was scoring. I was really, really pleased with just her game
management. I thought she ran the team extremely well.”
Natalie Novosel added 17 points for the Irish (4-1), who will
play the winner of No. 7 Duke and Gardner Webb on Saturday night in
the championship game.
”I’m just trying to stay steady through frustration, through
adversity, through any situation. I was trying to set the tone.
(Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey) and I had a conversation before
the game about defensive pressure. I said, I feel like I haven’t
had a great defensive pressure game since my freshman year.’ She
said, This is where you can get back to it.”’
Notre Dame turned up its defense and held USC (1-3) to one field
goal over the final 7:34 of the first half. The Irish led 42-30 at
the break as Diggins had 16 points. Notre Dame cruised in the
”What gets us going is our defense,” Novosel said. ”If we
were able to get some defensive stops that turn into easy
transition points, it gets us into a better flow offensively.”
The Women of Troy are in the midst of a month-long stretch that
will see them play eight of nine games on the road, including six
east of the Rocky Mountains. USC began that run last week with
losses at Nebraska and No. 10 Georgia.
Ashley Corral scored 17 points to lead USC.
This was the first meeting between the schools since USC beat
Notre Dame 69-58 on Nov. 24, 2006. The Irish have won eight of the
10 all-time meetings.
”You’re playing against a top 5 team in the country in Notre
Dame,” USC coach Michael Cooper said. ”One of the things we
wanted to do was come out and get a good start, and I thought we
did that. We were able to stay focused. But when you play these
elite teams, you have to stay focused for every possession, every
minute of the clock. We were able to fight our way back into it,
but we knew it was just a matter of time before Notre Dame would
try to assert its will on us. They did that. We played well, but it
shows you why they are one of the top teams in the country.”