Peters leads Notre Dame past Villanova

January 29, 2011 7:20:14 PM PST
Not only has Notre Dame been winning, but the high-scoring Irish have been blowing opponents out.

It wasn't quite as easy on Saturday night, but the result was the same as Devereaux Peters scored 20 points to lead No. 9 Notre Dame to a 58-43 victory over Villanova.

Skylar Diggins added 13 points and Natalie Novosel had 11 for Notre Dame (18-4, 7-1 Big East), which has won five straight and 13 of its past 14. The Irish won despite scoring a season low in points - nearly 25 points under their average (82.9 ppg).

"This feels like a blowout against Villanova," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "They're going to hold the ball. I feel like that was a lot of points to beat them by."

Laura Sweeney scored 14 points to pace Villanova (8-12, 0-7), which has lost four in a row.

With four sophomores in its starting lineup, Villanova is in a rebuilding mode this season and Wildcats coach Harry Perretta was pleased with his squad's effort.

"It was maybe the best game we've played all year," Perretta said.

Villanova twice sliced Notre Dame's 12-point halftime lead in half early in the second half, but the Wildcats never could get closer than six.

"It was high, very high," McGraw said of her concern level when Villanova was within six. "We missed some easy shots, some layups, some just rolled off. (But) we kept our composure. It was good for us. We haven't been in a close game in a while. So it was good for us to be on the road, with some adversity and I thought we handled it well."

Villanova led by five points early, but the Irish took control midway through the first half and led 32-20 at the break.

The Irish were upset by Villanova on their last trip to the Pavilion on Jan. 24, 2009.