Severe scores 17 on way to Irish upset of
BY KATIE McVOY
Senior Staff Writer
The few hundred Notre Dame fans in Manhattan, Kan. Tuesday night were making more noise than nearly 12,000 Kansas State fans. Due to another outstanding Irish defensive effort, the Wildcats' 22-game home win streak broke right along with the Wildcats' tournament dreams.
The final No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament fell Tuesday night and No. 11 seed Notre Dame kept its NCAA dreams alive, upsetting Kansas State 59-53 on the way to the Sweet Sixteen.
"We knew that we were better than an 11 seed but we must not have shown the selection committee that during the year so we're showing that now," Severe said. "We're reaching our potential now."
In the final minutes of the game, Kansas State just couldn't collect the points it needed. Whenever the Wildcats brought the game within two, they would foul the Irish. With Megan Duffy and Courtney LaVere perfect from the charity stripe in the final minute, the Wildcats could not bring the game within one possession when they controlled the ball.
The Notre Dame defense is mostly to blame for breaking the 22-game home win streak the Wildcats had heading into Tuesday night's game. In a similar fashion in the win against Arizona on Sunday, the Irish forced a messy offensive game and let their defense do the talking.
A Kansas State team that averages more than 75 points a game scored only 53.
"We knew we had to get up on the shooters, especially Koehn because she can hit it way out," Severe said. "We knew what we had to do and we knew we could do it."
The "Big Four" — Kansas State's Kendra Wecker, Nicole Wecker, Megan Mahoney and Laurie Koehn — were the only Wildcats who could score points, grabbing all 53 of Kansas State's points. Despite the fact that the Irish could not control Koehn outside the arc as she went on to 23 points, no other Wildcat hit a single trey.
Offensively, Notre Dame again showed that when it counted, someone would step up and get the work done. Notre Dame's leading scorer, Jacqueline Batteast, fell short again offensively, hitting only one of 10 shots, raising her total for the NCAA tournament to 2-of-26 from the field.
But where Batteast fell short, her teammates stepped up. Severe, the junior guard, took a role she usually doesn't take for the Irish — she scored and scored and scored. Severe, who usually dishes the ball to teammates and often grabs more assists than points, took control herself and drove to the basket to grab some very important lay-ups for the Irish.
Notre Dame's speed was an advantage for the Irish tonight — an advantage they're not used to. But Severe made use of that speed on her way to the basket.
"[Severe's speed] was one of the things we talked about at practice," Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. "We wanted to get her driving the baseline against their zone."
Where she left off, LaVere picked up. The freshman center, who had already scored 15 points in the first game of the NCAA tournament, added 14 more to her total, including two free throws in the final 60 seconds of the game.
Those charity shots, coupled with 4-for-4 shooting in the final seconds from fellow freshman Duffy, spelled the six point difference between the victorious Irish and the defeated Wildcats.
"Courtney's played great in games all year long and Megan had a great tournament," McGraw said. "Those two freshman really played like seniors."
The Irish take on second-seeded Purdue in the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday in Dayton.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, March 26, 2003