Women's Basketball Drops 73-62 Decision At Notre Dame

Dec. 22, 2003

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Notre Dame women's basketball team used a 19-6 scoring run at the start of the game to gain the edge it needed for a 73-62 victory over USC on Monday afternoon in South Bend. With the loss, the Women of Troy fall to 3-5 overall as they prepare to open conference play on Sunday against UCLA.

The Fighting Irish improved to 5-4.

USC had four players finish in double digits, including sophomore Meghan Gnekow who finished with a career-high 20 points. Ebony Hoffman contributed 14 points, Jessica Cheeks added 11 and Rometra Craig posted 10 points in the effort. Hoffman led with a season-best 16 rebounds.

Notre Dame was led by forward Jacqueline Batteast, who matched Gnekow's performance with 20 points of her own.

USC's 24 turnovers were the biggest factor in the game as Notre Dame converted for 30 points off of bad passes and offensive miscues. The Trojans forced 15 Irish turnovers but were only able to gain eight points in the effort.

The Women of Troy found themselves at an 18-point deficit, 36-18, at halftime due to 15 turnovers and a 26.9 percent first-half shooting effort. Notre Dame opened the game with a 19-6 scoring run to go ahead by 12 points at the 10-minute mark. USC was unable to recover, falling behind by as much as 18 points as it entered the lockerroom. The Trojans were held without a field goal for the final seven minutes of the half.

USC fought back in the second half, outscoring Notre Dame 44 to 37, but it was not enough. With three minutes remaining and down by 18 (69-51), the Women of Troy attempted to close the gap by hitting three, three-pointers for the final 11-point loss.

The Women of Troy will open the conference schedule after the holiday break. USC hosts crosstown rival UCLA on Sunday, Dec. 28, at 2 p.m. at the Sports Arena in the first women's basketball Lexus Gauntlet match-up of the season.

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