No. 3 Notre Dame 73, No. 25 West Virginia 45 foxsports Mar 5, 2012 at 9:18p ET West Virginia coach Mike Carey had a feeling Notre Dame would try for an early knockout blow. He was just surprised by how little fight his team was able to put up in its final Big East game. Article continues below ... Natalie Novosel scored 18 points and Kayla McBride added 15 to help third-ranked Notre Dame beat No. 25 West Virginia 73-45 on Monday night in the semifinals of the Big East tournament. Carey knew that the Irish were looking to avenge a 65-62 loss to the Mountaineers in South Bend on Feb. 12 that ended Notre Dame’s 21-game winning streak and was the lone blemish on its Big East slate. ”There was a lot of talk and stuff,” Carey said. ”We knew they were going to come out the first 8 minutes and try to bury us. I don’t know how we weren’t excited about playing this game.” The Mountaineers are headed off to the Big 12 next season and Carey admitted he was sad to leave the Big East which the school joined in 1995-96. ”I mentioned it to the players, this wasn’t the way you wanted to go out,” Carey said. ”I love coaching in the Big East. I love the friendships I made in the Big East. Now we’re moving to the Big 12. That’s a big challenge also. That’s a great league and another challenge for us. we’ll move forward.” Notre Dame (30-2) got a measure of revenge on the Mountaineers (23-9), who ended the Irish’s 21-game winning streak on Feb. 12 with 65-63 win in South Bend, Ind. It was Notre Dame’s only Big East loss. ”We’re happy to be able to avenge our loss,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. ”We played well right from the start and got out of the gate offensively. Shot the ball extremely well. We did a great job on their guards, had good balance today which we didn’t have last time.” On Monday night, the Irish scored the first seven points and had built a 20-4 lead 8 1/2 minutes in as five different players scored. Devereaux Peters, who had four points and missed seven of her eight shots in the loss, had seven by the half as Notre Dame led 37-19. ”I think we came out here with a little fire in us,” Novosel said. ”We were excited when we saw we were playing West Virginia. We started out really well tonight.” West Virginia couldn’t get within 16 in the second half closing to 51-35 midway through the period, but Notre Dame scored 18 of the next 22 points to end any hope of a comeback. ”We knew they were going to come out with a chip on their shoulder,” Ayana Dunning said. ”Coach said the first eight minutes they’d try to get a lead on us and we didn’t come out ready to play. We got ourselves down so much in the beginning of the game we were trying to fight back the entire time.” The Mountaineers advanced to the semis with a 39-32 win over then-No. 12 Georgetown on Sunday. That was the lowest scoring game in the history of the Big East tournament, easily surpassing the previous record of 78 set in 2005 by Boston College and Villanova. Buoyed by that victory, West Virginia entered the Top 25 for the first time this season. Asya Bussie scored 15 points and Dunning added 12 to lead the Mountaineers. The pair was 12 for 16, but got little help from the rest of the team which missed 31 of its 38 shots.