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Purdue women sputter in 66-38 loss to Irish

Purdue guard Antionette Howard, left, drives against Notre Dame guard Natalie Novosel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. Purdue guard Antionette Howard, left, drives against Notre Dame guard Natalie Novosel during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
By Cliff Brunt
AP Sports Writer / December 10, 2011
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.—Purdue coach Sharon Versyp couldn't figure out how the same team that handled defending national champion Texas A&M last Sunday could offer little resistance against Notre Dame less than a week later.

Natalie Novosel scored 17 points and Devereaux Peters added 16 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 3 Notre Dame defeat No. 12 Purdue 66-38 on Saturday. Purdue produced one of its worst offensive performances in school history, shooting just 24 percent from the field and committing 24 turnovers.

"Today, I'm extremely disappointed because we're better than this," Versyp said.

Purdue plays Central Michigan on Sunday.

"We've got a game tomorrow, and if we play like we did today, we're going to be sitting at the same result, so we need to get things in the next 24 hours pretty much corrected," Versyp said.

Skylar Diggins added nine points, seven assists and six rebounds for Notre Dame (9-1), which has won six straight since losing at No. 1 Baylor 94-81 on Nov. 20.

Courtney Moses scored 14 points and Antionette Howard added 13 for Purdue (7-2), which was coming off a 60-51 win over No. 4 Texas A&M. Brittany Rayburn, Purdue's leading scorer for the season, was held to four points on 1-for-7 shooting. She was ill and played just 24 minutes.

Notre Dame shot 44 percent against Purdue, which had been holding opponents to 31 percent shooting.

Notre Dame went on an early 17-0 run to take a 25-5 lead, and it could have been even larger had the Fighting Irish not missed several layups on passes by Diggins. Purdue went scoreless for more than seven minutes and missed 13 of its first 15 shots.

Notre Dame led 36-17 at halftime. Purdue shot 28 percent, committed 11 turnovers and was outrebounded 29-13 in the first 20 minutes. Peters had 10 points and eight rebounds before the break and Diggins had seven points, five assists and four rebounds. Rayburn, Purdue's leading scorer, went without a point in the first half.

The Fighting Irish extended their lead in the second half. Notre Dame led 58-30 with 10 minutes to play. Novosel scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to help put the game out of reach. A breakaway layup by Diggins pushed the lead to 30 points.

Now, Purdue's resilience will be tested.

"We'll show what our team is about tomorrow," Versyp said. "If we do well, then we're right back on track and we're fine. Tomorrow is a very important game."

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap

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