Published March 04, 2012
HARTFORD, Conn. – Devereaux Peters had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks to lead No. 3 Notre Dame to a 69-54 win over DePaul in the Big East quarterfinals Sunday.
Natalie Novosel also had 16 points and Kayla McBride added 14 for the Irish (29-2) who are coming off the program's first outright regular-season conference championship.
Katherine Harry had 10 of her 14 points in the first half for eighth-seeded DePaul (22-10).
Notre Dame will face West Virginia in Monday's semifinal. The Mountaineers beat No. 12 Georgetown 39-32 in Sunday's first quarterfinal.
West Virginia handed the Irish their only conference loss this season, 65-63 in South Bend on Feb. 12.
Notre Dame took control of the game with a 14-0 run that began in the first half and ended three minutes into the second with a 3-pointer from Novosel that gave the Irish a 48-26 lead.
The Blue Demons fought back, cutting the lead to 11 on a jumper by Jasmine Penny with 7:30 left in the game.
But three straight layups from Peters along with a blocked shot on the other end stretched the lead back out to 17.
Big East player of the year Skylar Diggins had 12 points, five assists and six steals for Notre Dame.
DePaul hit four of its first six shots and led 10-7 early on the strength of two 3-pointers by Deanna Ortiz. But Notre Dame responded with an 11-2 run to take the lead for good.
Peters and Diggins scored the final two buckets of the half, and Notre Dame blocked three DePaul shots down the stretch to go into halftime with a 38-26 lead.
The Irish have now won two consecutive games at the XL Center. They closed the regular season with a 72-59 win over Connecticut to sweep the regular-season series with the Huskies and secure sole possession of the regular-season conference title.
Notre Dame has never won a Big East tournament title, and hasn't won any conference tournament since taking the 1994 Midwestern Collegiate Conference crown.
The Irish shared the regular-season title with UConn in 2000-01 and went on to win the program's only NCAA championship that season.
Notre Dame has won seven of the last eight meetings with DePaul, including a 90-70 win in South Bend on Feb. 5.
DePaul beat South Florida 76-62 on Saturday, behind 33 points from Anna Martin. Martin was held to seven by the Irish on 3 of 10 shooting.
The Blue Demons have advanced past the tournament's quarterfinals just once since joining the conference and that was last year, when they lost to Notre Dame 71-67 in the semifinals.