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Diggins leads No. 5 Irish women past Central Mich.

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm •  Published: November 29, 2012

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — After getting an up-close look at Skylar Diggins, Central Michigan coach Sue Guevara knew she made the right decision in voting the Notre Dame star an All-American.

Diggins scored 17 of her 25 points in the first half, and the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish pulled away late in a 72-63 victory over the Chippewas on Thursday night.

"I'm on the All-American committee, and I voted for (Diggins)," Guevara said simply when asked about Diggins' performance. "Skylar takes the game over."

Diggins also added six steals and played a huge role in a defensive turnaround in the second half. Four of those takeaways came in the final seven minutes to help thwart a Central Michigan comeback.

"When she's defending you, you can't crossover in front of her," Guevara said. "She's got pretty quick hands."

Ariel Braker added 10 points and eight rebounds to help the Fighting Irish (5-0) close November undefeated for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Diggins shot 6 for 15 from the field, but was and 12 for 14 on free throws.

"I just thought Skylar did exactly what we needed her to do," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw told the South Bend Tribune. "We had to get to the rim. They couldn't guard her. She did a great job of getting to the basket and getting fouled. "

Jessica Green scored 19 points and Niki DiGuilio had 12 points for Central Michigan (2-3).

In the program's first home game against a top-5 team, the Chippewas played like they belonged. The teams exchanged leads nine times in the first half before Notre Dame took a 40-39 lead at the break.

"We were beating them on dribble penetration and getting to the basket, and we were beating them to kick it out," Guevara said. "We had some kids hitting some 3-pointers, and Jess (Green) was able to beat people on penetration and get in and dish."

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