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Last updated: January 26, 2013 4:09 p.m.

Notre Dame women win 13th in a row

Tom Coyne
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Skylar Diggins scored 21 points, all in the first half when she was 9-of-9 shooting, and No. 2 Notre Dame dominated Providence from the start, beating the Friars 89-44 on Saturday to win its 13th straight.

 Diggins took a pass from Kayla McBride on the opening tip-off to score an easy layup 4 seconds in, becoming the fourth Irish player to ever score 2,000 career points.

She then quickly got started on moving to her next milestone, hitting from inside, mid-range and behind the three-point line as Providence (6-13, 1-5 Big East) could do nothing to slow her.

The only mistake Diggins made in the first half was to miss a free throw as the Irish (18-1, 7-0) jumped to a 46-15 lead.

 Tori Rule led the Friars with 12 points, all in the second half.

 Even with Notre Dame reserves playing much of the second half the Irish continued to pull away. Natalie Achonwa had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Irish and Jewell Loyd added 10.

 The Irish outshot the Friars 51 percent to 31 percent, scoring 56 points in the paint. Notre Dame also had a 51-26 rebounding advantage.

 The Irish pulled away from the outset. After Diggins’ opening layup, Providence couldn’t get a shot off as the Friars were called for a shot-clock violation. Diggins had a 10-0 run on her own, starting with a free throw to give the Irish an 11-4 lead. She then scored on a pair of layups 12 seconds apart, then added another layup and a three-pointer as Notre Dame opened a 20-4 lead.

 Two minutes later she added a three-point play, putting up a shot inside when she was fouled by Rule. The ball bounced on both sides of the rim, falling in as Diggins walked toward the baseline and let out a yell. Her free throw bounced on the rim four times before falling in.

Notre Dame continued to pull away as Diggins sat on the bench. Diggins finished the half with another basket inside, then got a defensive rebound with 6 seconds left in the half and threw a long pass to Michaela Mabrey who scored on a layup just before the buzzer to give the Irish a 46-15 lead.

 Diggins didn’t miss a shot until 5 minutes into the second half, when the Irish led 54-19. The Irish extended the lead to 62-21 when Hannah Huffman made a pair of free throws. The Friars didn’t have more points than Diggins until Lexi Sells hit a 3-pointer with 12:00 left to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 62-24, and by then Diggins was watching from the bench.

 Notre Dame’s 13-game winning streak is the sixth longest in school history. The longest Irish win streak is 23 games set during the 2000-01 season, when the Irish won the national championship.