for this game

No. 3 Irish cruise to 84-59 win over Providence

Jan 28, 2010 - 3:04 AM By TOM COYNE AP Sports Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind.(AP) -- Although No. 3 Notre Dame didn't solve its problem of starting slow, it looked a lot better in the first half against Providence than in its past three games.

The Fighting Irish, who had fallen behind by double digits in their previous three games, trailed for just 13 seconds after Providence scored the first basket and broke the game open with a 13-2 run midway through the first half en route to an 84-59 victory Wednesday night.

"I thought we were a little sloppy. I didn't think we had quite the intensity maybe that we needed to start the game," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "But overall, offensively, I thought we did some good things."

Lindsay Schrader scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, Natalie Novosel had 12 and Becca Bruszewski, Skylar Diggins and Ashley Barlow had 10 points each.

"I don't know what's the deal," Schrader said. "Our team doesn't really kick it into second gear until the second half, that's me included. I don't know."

Notre Dame's backups outscored Providence's 31-13.

"We're wearing people down in the second half because of the depth we have," McGraw said.

Providence coach Phil Seymore said the Irish are a joy to watch except for when on the opposing bench.

"They do a wonderful job of passing. They all have a lot of intangibles individually with that team. They're very skilled, shoot the ball really well. I think that's what makes them a very good basketball team," he said. "It's not like they have enormous height or anything like that. They really are one unit. They really play together."

The Irish had 23 assists on 32 baskets while the Friars had nine assists on 22 baskets with 26 turnovers.

When Providence tied the game at 12 on a basket inside by Trinity Hull, Novosel answered with a 3-pointer to spark a 13-2 run by the Irish. The Irish led 35-22 at halftime, then opened the second half with a 5-0 burst to take an 18-point lead.

"They did a lot of different things to disrupt the way we play," Seymore said. "They threw a lot of different things at us that threw our rhythm off. We never had a chance to settle in."

Chelsea Marandola, Providence's leading scorer at 18.3 points a game, was held to three shots and two points in the first half. She scored five of her 18 points during a 7-0 run by the Friars that cut the lead to 50-38.

"They did a real good job of getting out on her," Seymore said. "They were forcing her to put the ball on the floor and make plays."

Emily Cournoyer added 12 points for Providence and Mi-Khida Hankins had 10. The Friars, who had been leading the Big East in 3-point field goal percentage in league games at 37.1 percent, was 0-for-9 in the first half and 3-for-16 for the game.