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Irish Insights

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No. 2 Notre Dame women rout Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Skylar Diggins scored 28 points and No. 2 Notre Dame clinched a share of its second straight Big East regular-season title with a 92-57 rout of Providence.

Kayla McBride added 24 points and Natalie Achonwa chipped in 14 for the Irish (27-1, 15-0 Big East) who extended their winning streak to 22 games.

Symone Roberts had 22 points for Providence(7-21, 2-13), which has lost six straight and 13 of its last 15 games.

The Irish led by 20 points at halftime and opened the second half on a 10-2 run.

Notre Dame will look to win the regular-season title outright Monday at home in a showdown with No. 3 Connecticut. The Huskies can gain a share of the title and the top seed in the conference tournament with a win.

McBride and Diggins have combined for 101 points in their last two games.

The back-to-back regular-season titles are the first for the Irish since they won what is now the Horizen League back in 1993-94 and 1994-95. The 22-game winning streak is the second longest in school history, just behind the 23-game run the school went on to open its 2000-01 their national championship campaign.

The win also was the 19th straight in Big East regular-season play for the Irish, and their 16th straight conference road win. The Irish haven’t lost a regular-season conference game since falling to West Virginia on Feb. 12, 2012.

Notre Dame has won 22 straight road games and Saturday’s game was never in doubt.

Diggins grabbed the opening tap, raced for a layup and the Irish never trailed, going on a 13-4 run to open the game.

Notre Dame hit seven of its first 10 shots and its first six shots from three-point range.

Brianna Edwards tried to keep the Friars close, scoring all 10 of her points in the first half. But when she picked up her third foul, with just under 4 minutes to go in the half, Notre Dame was already up 19, 46-27.

Diggins had 17 points before intermission and McBride had 16 as the Irish went into the half leading 52-32.

The Irish shot better than 52 percent from the floor, and hit seven of their 15 shots from three-point range. Diggins had four of those on seven attempts.

Notre Dame also outrebounded Providence 51-21. Achonwa had eight to lead the way.

Diggins also had two steals, moving her past assistant coach Niele Ivey and into the top spot on the school’s career list with 349.

With a win Monday, the Irish would earn the top seed in the Big East tournament. A loss to UConn would drop Notre Dame into a tie with the Huskies, and UConn would get the top seed in a tiebreaker, because the Huskies beatMarquettetwice this season while Notre Dame was only 1-0 against the Golden Eagles.

The Irish have turned the rivalry with UConn into a one-sided affair lately, winning five of the past six meetings, including a 73-72 win at Connecticut on Jan. 5

The Irish have never lost to Providence, improving to 22-0 with Saturday’s win. Nineteen of those wins have come by double digits. Notre Dame also beat Providence at home this year, 89-44 in January, a game in which Diggins became the fourth Irish player to ever score 2,000 career points.

This was the final home game for Roberts, who last week scored her 1,000th career point, Edwards and Jenna Roncarati.

Tori Rule chipped in 13 points for the Friars.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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