It wasn't pretty, but Notre Dame coach Mary Beth McNichol will take Friday's 45-36 win over host Episcopal Academy in the Inter-Academic League girls' basketball opener for both schools.
The Irish (2-1) used solid shooting, including six three-pointers, to offset 18 turnovers against a very young Episcopal team. Notre Dame shot 19 for 43 (44 percent) from the floor.
"We were really sloppy with the ball today. We have some young guards," said McNichol, whose team is expected to be in the hunt for the Inter-Ac championship, the property of Germantown Academy for a dozen years.
With three of their treys - one each by Kristen Carr, Megan McGurk, and Katie Gerzabek - the Irish rolled to a 16-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. After Episcopal cut its deficit to 16-11 on a basket by 6-foot-2 sophomore center Megan Quinn, Notre Dame went on a 12-0 run to make it 28-11.
The Churchmen (3-4) managed to cut it to 39-27 midway through the fourth quarter. The final margin came after the Churchmen made 4 of 8 free throws and a three-pointer in the last minute.
The Irish, who opened the season losing, 57-45, to Georgetown Visitation, a perennially strong team from the nation's capital, concentrated their defensive efforts Friday on Quinn. Every time she touched the ball, she had two Notre Dame bodies on her. Quinn, the tallest player on the court, finished with eight points and earned every one of them. She came to Episcopal last year as a freshman after attending Tredyffrin-Eastown Middle School.
"I need to finish," Quinn said, referring to her inability to get some shots down when she was open. She demonstrated her ability to pass the ball, with four assists.
"She needs to learn to read the defense and help herself," Episcopal coach Chuck Simmonds said. "We also have to learn to do a better job of getting ball movement so we can get the ball to her. She has some nice moves. We're young - several of our key players are freshmen and sophomores - but I was generally pleased with the way we played on defense. Notre Dame can shoot."
McGurk had nine points to lead Notre Dame. Sarah Abbonizio matched her total for Episcopal.
McNichol hopes that the sloppiness is gone. The Irish play Merion Mercy on Saturday, then have two big games next week. On Tuesday, they are scheduled to face league foe Penn Charter, ranked No. 6 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer. The Quakers and Irish are expected to fight Germantown Academy for the Inter-Ac crown. On Thursday, Notre Dame takes on Villa Maria of the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.
Notre Dame 16 12 5 13 - 46
Episcopal 9 5 7 14 - 35
ND: Megan McGurk 9, Kathleen Fitzpatrick 5, Molly Borgese 8, Kristen Carr 3, Katie Dugan 2, Emily Faught 7, Erika Ferro 2, Katie Gerzabek 5, Emily Fuss 2, Colleen Olinger 3.
EA: Sarah Abbonizio 9, Jenn Adelizzi 5, Kristen Hinckley 7, Sarah McKay 2, Megan Quinn 8, Meghan Hubley 4.