No. 6 Notre Dame 89, Louisville 52

Notre Dame was the only one among five ranked Big East teams not

to get a bye into the conference tournament quarterfinals.

The Irish didn’t need it.

Erica Williamson led five players in double figures with 16

points and No. 6 Notre Dame routed Louisville 89-52 Saturday in the

tournament’s second round.

“It’s nice to get a feel for the gym,” Williamson said. “We

weren’t able to have a shootaround, with the schedule that we had,

and the teams playing yesterday. So, it’s great to go out there,

feel comfortable in the first half and just work on things in the

second.”

Freshman Skyler Diggins had 13 points, Deveraux Peters added 11,

and Lindsay Schrader and Becca Bruszewski each had 10. The Irish

(26-4) advance to play No. 16 St. John’s in the quarterfinals on

Sunday.

Monique Reid had 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead Louisville.

The Cardinals end the season 14-17, a year after losing in the

national championship game to Connecticut.

Notre Dame and St. John’s ended the regular season in a

fourth-place tie in the Big East, but the Red Storm earned the No.

4 seed with a 76-71 win over the Irish last month. Notre Dame also

had to play undefeated Connecticut twice, something that hurt its

seeding.

But Irish coach Muffet McGraw said the extra game might end up

helping her team.

“I was really pleased to be able to get out on the floor and

get Skyler a run and Devereaux” she said. “Those guys didn’t play

last year, so it was still a little bit new for them. So, it was

great to be able to get out, get on the floor and see what it’s

going to be like tomorrow.”

The Irish used a 10-0 run to build an early 15-6 lead, and the

rout was on. They hit 14 of their first 19 shots, and forced

Louisville into 15 first-half turnovers.

A 13-0 run gave the Irish a 38-16 lead.

Louisville missed its final seven shots of the half, did not

score in the last 4 minutes and trailed 47-21 at halftime.

Notre Dame shot 56 percent from the floor, had 46 points in the

paint and held Louisville to under 30-percent shooting in the first

half.

A 3-pointer by Brittany Mallory made it 60-28 with 12 minutes

left.

Williamson put an exclamation point on the game with a 3-point

shot with 1:35 left, the first 3-pointer of the senior center’s

career.

“Our team is a great 3-point shooting team, so it was fun to go

out there and be a part of it,” she said. “I think I’m officially

1 for 3 on the career, so 33 percent, not that bad. I’m pretty

happy.”

Louisville was hampered by the loss of several key players this

season. Point guard Deseree Byrd and Laura Terry both sustained

season-ending knee injuries and Ashley Rainey left the team for

personal reasons. Center Chauntise Wright, who missed last season

with an injury, was not granted an extra semester of

eligibility.

“I feel like we responded the best way we could with all the

injuries and everything that’s been going on this year,” Reid

said. “I think we did good.”

Notre Dame knows it could have gotten a bye had it beaten St.

John’s last month. And the players know what to look for on

Sunday.

“We know we have to box out and get on the boards,” Peters

said. “Hopefully, we’ll pull out a win.”