Game Balls & Player Ratings: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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Cincinnati -- Skylar Diggins didn't look to shoot the ball from the opening tip. Instead, Diggins was content with running the floor and dishing the rock to whoever she saw open. She made it known that her passing abilities were as good as her scoring prowess by flaunting in style every time she dropped a dime. The BIG EAST preseason player of the year had 11 assists and seven rebounds to complement her lowest scoring output of the season of four. Irish senior Natalie Novosel or "Nasty" as her teammates call her was the sharpshooter of today's contest. She started off 6-6 from the field, 2-2 from deep, and perfect from the free throw stripe (5-5). She had 18 of her 21 points in the first half. Notre Dame doubled Cincinnati in the first half leading 42-21 at intermission and finished off the game with a 76-50 win. Dayeesha Hollins showed a spark for the Bearcats who committed 22 turnovers due to Notre Dame's pressure. Hollins scored 14 points and added four assists. Senior Chanel Chisholm also showed some aggressive play but wasn't able to get in a groove only scoring seven points. Bjonee Reaves had eight points on 11 shots. Hollins was the lone game ball honoree this afternoon for a Cincinnati that is still looking for its first conference victory.

"I think by far they are the best passing team we have faced all year," head coach Jamelle Elliott commented during the post-game press conference. "They definitely took advantage of our size in the post and took advantage of those high, low feeds. I think they are by far the best passing team and overall most disciplined team we faced so far this year."

Player ratings: (0-10; 10=Best)

Game Ball winners:

1. Dayeesha Hollins, 8 --
Dayeesha looked to have her quick step from the beginning of the game, but Notre Dame's smothering defense made it tough for Hollins to get her teammates involved. The Cincinnati native had 14 points, but most importantly was the only Bearcat player that seemed to give Notre Dame's defense any trouble. Hollins and Elliott stressed the fact the the players around Hollins must gain confidence in order to make the offense work in the future. Passing up shots is not an option according to Elliott, but was a common theme during this BIG EAST tilt.

"I think she looks really good," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said about Dayeesha Hollins. "She's so hard to guard and we couldn't contain her. We tried to double team her and we weren't as effective as I would of liked. I think she really got off in the first half -- we did a better job in the second half guarding her, but I think she's going to be a very good player in the BIG EAST."

"Dayeesha is obviously our best player; I want her to have the ball in her hands as much as possible," Elliott said. "I just think we need somebody else to step up and make plays. Right now Dayeesha is kind of the only one on our team that is able to be successful against these types of teams. Teams are going to continue to take her away."  

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