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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

The Chippewas led by as many as four in the first half.

Green scored 12 points in the first 20 minutes, and sophomore star Crystal Bradford grabbed seven of the team's 21 first-half rebounds to help keep the Chippewas within reach of the Fighting Irish.

"We shared the ball, we just kind of got down on all the hype and played like we normally do," Green said of the first half. "They tie their shoes just like we do, so we just worked together and started off good."

Central Michigan's gritty effort didn't go unnoticed, either. The nearly sold-out crowd at McGuirk Arena gave the players a standing ovation as they headed into the locker room at the end of the first half, and the stands remained full until the closing seconds of the game.

"You could just feel their energy," Guevara said. "They were really into the game. They reacted when we got a loose ball or when we got a rebound. And they reacted when they didn't like what the officials called, which I liked too."

Notre Dame opened the second half on a 7-0 run but Central Michigan pulled within one with under 12 minutes to play. The Fighting Irish didn't truly pull away until Diggins hit a free throw for a 70-60 lead with 45 seconds to play.

The matchup marked the first time in the last four seasons that the Fighting Irish went on the road to play a Mid-American Conference opponent.

Coming into Thursday's matchup, the Chippewas had won two of their last four contests against ranked opponents, dating back to an 84-75 win over then-No. 23 Louisville in December 2009.