Women's Basketball Falls To No. 10 Notre Dame 69-57

Nov 30, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Despite holding a 37-34 lead at the half, the USC women's basketball team fell to 10th-ranked Notre Dame, 69-57, on Friday in front of 1,317 at the Sports Arena. The Fighting Irish improve to 2-0 this young season, while the Women of Troy, with five games under their belt already, stand at 3-2 overall.

Sophomore Rachel Woodward scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Trojans. She was backed by juniors Ebony Hoffman and Jessica Cheeks, who added 10 points apiece. Hoffman led with nine boards on the night.

Notre Dame's Alicia Ratay scored 17 points while Jacqueline Batteast added 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish.

'That was a great win against a very good team,' Irish coach Muffett McGraw said. 'They're an NCAA Tournament (caliber) team.'

'We were sloppy right off the bat, and it took us a long time to get in our rhythm,' McGraw said. 'I was very pleased we pulled it out.'

After holding the lead at the half thanks to a 42.9 percent shooting effort from three-point range, USC collapsed in the second half. The Trojans made only one basket in the first 7:45 of the second half, as Notre Dame took a 46-41 lead with 12:44 to play.

The Trojans cut the lead to 46-45, but the Irish pulled ahead to 61-51 with 4:55 to play on Ratay's 3-point basket.

The Trojans shot 28 percent from the floor in the second half.

'Our effort in the second half was not good at all,' said USC head coach Chris Gobrecht, whose team has only one senior. 'We had some mindless turnovers and just played scared the whole second half.'

The Trojans took an 11-2 lead 2:47 into the game. Woodward made her first four shots to score nine points, and Notre Dame committed four turnovers in the first 2:26.

But the Irish responded with a 13-2 run to move ahead 15-13. The teams exchanged the lead six times in the first half.

Notre Dame shot 55 percent from the field but committed 29 turnovers, 16 in the first half.

The Women of Troy will next face Pepperdine on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Malibu. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse.

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