Hoops Fall Short at No. 3 Notre Dame
Dec. 18, 2011
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Skylar Diggins' only 3-pointer Sunday was a big one, leading No. 3 Notre Dame to a 92-83 victory and handing No. 8 Kentucky its first loss of the season.
Natalie Novosel led five Irish players in double figures with 23 points, and Diggins (16 points, 11 assists) and Devereaux Peters (13 points, 13 rebounds) each had double-doubles for Notre Dame (10-1), which has won seven straight since losing to top-ranked Baylor. The Irish also evened their series with Kentucky after losing their first matchup last year.
Samantha Drake had 21 points for the Wildcats (10-1), who had tied Baylor and Vanderbilt for the second-longest winning streak in the country by opening the season with 10 straight victories. A'dia Mathies added 17 before fouling out with 7:25 to play, and Samarie Walker, playing in her first game since transferring from Connecticut, had seven points and seven rebounds.
The Wildcats came into the game leading the nation in turnover margin (plus 17) and steals (16.5), but the Irish simply have too many weapons. They led by as much as 10 in the second half before Drake's layup gave Kentucky a 75-74 lead with 5:07 to play.
The Irish then showed off their nasty defense, holding the Wildcats to just two field goals the rest of the game.
Novosel made a pair of free throws and Peters scored on a layup to put the Irish up 78-75 with 4:09 to play. Kentucky's Bernisha Pinkett attempted a 3-pointer but it sailed over the rim and the Wildcats couldn't corral the rebound, watching helplessly as it rolled out of bounds. After a timeout, Diggins coolly drilled a 3 and Novosel converted a pair of free throws. Peters then made an easy layup and, just like that, the Irish were back up 85-75 with 2:40 to play.
Kentucky never threatened again.