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    Fighting Irish

    Nov. 17, 1997

    Notre Dame Opens up 1997-98 Game at Home Versus Butler on November 18

    Irish Face First Road Test of Campaign at #19 Duke on November 22

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Notre Dame women's basketball team played two exhibition games in preparation for its 1997-98 season opener. The Irish were 2-0 in both exhibition tests as they beat the Brisbane Blazers 103-92 in triple overtime and Slavyanka (Russia).

    The Week Ahead: Notre Dame, 31-7 a year ago, opens up the campaign at home against Butler on Tuesday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Joyce Center. The game will be televised live on WTBU in Indianapolis. The Irish then play the first of four straight road when they travel to Durham, N.C. to face the 19th-ranked Blue Devils in a 7:00 p.m. tipoff at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

    Probable Irish Starting Lineup:
      
                                1996-97   PPG.     RPG.
    50  Kelley Siemon   6-2  Fr.     F     -        -
    32  Julie Henderson 6-3  So.     C    3.0       2.3
    3   Mollie Peirick  5-11 Sr.     G    7.9       4.1
    12  Danielle Green  5-8  Jr.     G     -        -
    20  Sheila McMillen 5-10 Jr.     G    8.0       2.2
    
    The Week in Review:

    Notre Dame was 2-0 in its exhibition contests last week.

    BRISBANE BLASERS -
    Danieele Green
    Danielle Green.

    SHEILA McMILLEN (Rochester, Ind.) and DANIELLE GREEN (Chicago, Ill.) combined for 45 points to lead five Notre Dame players in double figures as the Irish defeated the Brisbane Blasers 103-92 in triple overtime. McMillen scored a game-high 25 points and Green added 20 to lead the Irish to the victory.

    Notre Dame held the visitors scoreless in the third overtime period outscoring Brisbane 11-0. Nine of 12 shooting from the charity stripe and a jumper by McMillen accounted for the Irish scoring in the third five-minute overtime session.

    The Irish came out strong in the first half and led by as many as 22 with 1:45 remaining before halftime, but Brisbane cut the lead to 12 (47-35) just before intermission as Notre Dame committed several turnovers in the final two minutes of the first half.

    Notre Dame maintained the lead for most of the second half and led by as many as nine with 10:50 left to play before Brisbane whent on an 11-2 run over the next 1:30 to tie the game at 66-66 with 8:44 left in regulation.

    The Blazers took a 71-70 lead in the game, its first since leading 2-0 10 seconds into the contest. Notre Dame trailed by six, 76-70, with just under four minutes to play in the game, but the Irish used an 8-2 run at the end of regulation to tie the game at 78-78 on Mollie Peirick's (Eureka, Mo.) two free throws.

    The lead see-sawed back and forth in both the first and second overtime periods. There were four lead changes in the first five minutes with no team gaining more than a two-point advantage. Notre Dame held a slim 87-85 lead with 1:18 left to play in the first overtime, but Brisbane tied it up with 54 seconds left.

    The Irish fell behind by many as four, 91-87, with less than two minutes to go in the second overtime, but Notre Dame battled back and allowed Brisbane just one point in the final 3:44 of the second overtime. McMillen's breakaway layup with 24.4 second remaining sent the game into the third overtime.

    Brisbane was 0-9 from the field in the third overtime and the final 8:44 of the second and third overtimes without scoring a point.

    In addition to McMillen and Green, freshman Kelley Siemon (Edina, Minn.) and sophomore Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) were in double fitures scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively. Siemon finished with a game-high 13 rebounds along with teammate Julie Henderson (Ann Arbor, Mich.). Notre Dame outrebounded Brisbane 71-41 in the game.

    SLAVYANKA (Russia) -
    McMillen scored 16 points to all scorers as Notre Dame cruised to a 66-34 victory over Slavyanka in it final exhibition test.

    The Irish led throughout the contest and used a tough defense which bothered the visitors all night. Notre Dame held Slavyanka to 23.3 percent shooting for the game (14 of 60) and forced 22 turnovers.

    Notre Dame led 31-17 at the half and by as many as 37 in the second half. The Irish began the second half outscoring Slavyanka 20-3 and dominated the boards with a 57-42 rebounding advantage.

    Green was the only other player in double figures as she netted 10 points and dished off a game-high six assists. Henderson grabbed nine rebounds, while Siemon finished with eights points and eight rebounds.

    The Irish shot 38.8 percent from the field and was just 10 of 22 from the free throw line. After hitting just 35.5 percent from the field in the first half, Notre Dame connected on 42.4 percent from the floor (14 of 33 shots).

    Head Coach Muffet McGraw:
    Muffet McGraw begins her 11th season along the Notre Dame sidelines and her 16th as a collegiate coach. Her career coaching ledger stands at 301-136 (.689) and she owns a 213-95 (.692) as head coach of the Irish. McGraw reached two milestones last season, earning her 200th win at Notre Dame with its 72-71 decision over Miami on January 29, 1997 and the 300th of her collegiate career with the 87-81 win over Alabama in its NCAA Tournament East Regional semifinal contest on March 22, 1997.

    Muffet Mcgraw
    Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw.

    Prior to coming to Notre Dame, she spent five seasons at Lehigh where she compiled a 138-69 (.667) record. Under McGraw, the Irish have posted eight 20-win seasons, including four straight (1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1997-98). As a member of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, her teams won five regular season championships and five tournament crowns. She also guided the Irish to their only three NCAA tournament appearances in school history in 1996, 1994 and 1992. During her tenure, McGraw's Irish teams have averaged 21.3 victories each season. Following the conclusion of the 1995-96 campaign, McGraw was named District II Coach of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

    Series Record vs. Upcoming Opponents:

    BUTLER
    - Notre Dame and the Bulldogs are familiar foes having played against each for many seasons while the Irish were members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. Notre Dame leads the series 16-6 and has won the last two meetings between the two teams. The last time the two schools met was on February 10, 1995, Notre Dame's final season as a member of the MCC. The game was played at the Joyce Center with the Irish earnin a 68-56 victory. The Irish are 8-3 versus the Bulldogs at the Joyce Cener. Butler has beaten Notre Dame two of the last three times it has played at the Joyce Center -- the last win for the Bulldogs was a 65-62 decision on January 22, 1994. DUKE - Notre Dame owns a 2-0 advantage in the series, The two teams have not played since the Irish won a 78-66 decision over the Blue Devils in Durham on February 6, 1988.

    The Captains:
    The captains for this season are senior guard Mollie Peirick and junior guard Sheila McMillen. Peirick served as a tri-captain on Notre Dame's 1996-97 Final Four team which finished the season with a 31-7 mark.

    Irish on the Road Early:
    Notre Dame will play four of its first five games on the road. After the Irish open up at home against Butler, they play four straight road games -- Duke, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA and Rutgers.

    Irish on the Internet:
    The official Notre Dame Athletic Department web site, created by University Netcasting out of Carlsbad, Calif., is available at www.und.com. All media guide information, press releases, game notes, statistics, press conference transcriptions and other related information are available. In addition, results from each contest are posted shortly after the conclusion of each game. Questions concerning the site can be directed to the Notre Dame Sports Information Office by calling (219) 631-7516.

    Irish on the Radio:
    All Notre Dame women's basketball games are broadcast on radio, as part of a new agreement between the Notre Dame athletic department and LeSea Broadcasting. Craig Wallin and Bob Nagle will share the broadcast duties on WHME-FM (103.1).

    Notre Dame Sportscentral:
    The 1998-99 athletic season marks the debut of Notre Dame Sportscentral, a weekly television show produced by LeSea Broadcasting that will keep Irish fans updated on the progress of all Notre Dame intercollegiate athletic teams. Locally, the one-hour segment is shown on WHME-TV each Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

    The Muffet McGraw Show:
    The 1997-98 basketball season marks the inaugural season of The Muffet McGraw Show. The show will air in the South Bend area at 11:00 a.m. every Saturday on WHME-TV 46 and on WHT Satellite (Galaxy 4, Transponder 15). Fox Sports Chicago is also scheduled to air the show at a day and time to be determined.

    Throughout the women's basketball season, WHME sports director Bob Nagle and Irish women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw will take a look at highlights from the previous week's competition and preview upcoming games. Features also include individual player profiles, special in-studio guests and a look behind the scenes at Irish women's basketball.

    Irish in the Joyce Center:
    Notre Dame has a 172-63 (.732) mark at the Joyce Center in 20 seasons. During the past two seasons, the Irish had back-to-back 11-1 marks at home. Last season, the only loss was to Wisconsin (81-69). Notre Dame has won 10-plus games at home seven times since 1977-78.

    Green, Ivey Back:
    Danielle Green and Niele Ivey are back after missing the 1996-97 campaign with injuries. Green tore her achilles tendon on the first day of practice (Oct. 15) and was unable to practice the rest of the season. Ivey tore her right anterior cruciate ligament in the fifth game of the season on November 23 and missed the remainder of the campaign. At the time, she was averaging 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds.

    Braendly Returns:
    Diana Braendly has rejoined the team after leaving the squad for personal reasons following the fifth game of the season. Braendly played in five games a year ago and appeared in 26 contests during her freshman season (1995-96).

    Hills Signs With Irish:
    Sherisha Hills, a 5-8 guard from Tampa, Fla., has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame and become a member of the Class of 2002. Hills is the first signee for Irish women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw during the early signing period.

    Hills, rated the third best player in the state of Florida, is 43rd on Blue Star Basketball's list of top 80 players in 1997-98. A two-time Class 3A first-team all-state honoree, she was named to the 1997 AAU All-America team after leading her squad to a seventh-place finish at the national tournament.

    A three-year starter at Academy of the Holy Names, she has scored 1,853 points during her career, averaging 19.5 ppg. as a junior and 22.0 ppg. as a sophomore.

    Green, Ivey Back:
    Danielle Green and Niele Ivey are back after missing the 1996-97 campaign with injuries. Green tore her achilles tendon on the first day of practice (Oct. 15) and was unable to practice the rest of the season. Ivey tore her right anterior cruciate ligament in the fifth game of the season on November 23 and missed the remainder of the campaign. At the time, she was averaging 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds.

    Irish On BIG EAST TV:
    Notre Dame will appear twice on the eight-game BIG EAST television package during the 1997-98 season. Irish contests against Connecticut on December 6 at the Joyce Center and versus Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. on January 17 will be televised. Tipoff for Notre Dame's contest is at noon, while the Boston College game is slated for a 6:00 p.m. start.

    Irish Picked Second in BIG EAST 6:
    Notre Dame has been chosen to finish second in the BIG EAST 6 in the Coaches' Preseason Poll. The Irish have been selected second behind Connecticut. Rutgers has been chosen to win the BIG EAST 7 division.

    BIG EAST 7 BIG EAST 6
        
        1.  Rutgers         1.  Connecticut
        2.  Georgetown      2.  NOTRE DAME
        3.  Miami           3.  Boston College
        4.  Providence      4.  West Virginia
        5.  Seton Hall      5.  Villanova
        6.  Syracuse        6.  St. John's
        7.  Pittsburgh
    
    November
        
        10  Mon.    BRISBANE BLAZERS        W, 103-92 (3OT)
        13  Thurs.  SLAVYANKA (Russia)      W, 66-34
        18  Tues.   BUTLER                  7:00 p.m.       
        22  Sat.    at Duke                 7:00 p.m.
        28  Fri.    at UC Santa Barbara     7:00 p.m.
        30  Sun.    at UCLA                 Noon
    
    December
       
        3   Wed.    at Rutgers*     7:30 p.m.
        6   Sat.    CONNECTICUT*    Noon
        8   Mon.    at Wisconsin    7:00 p.m.
        10  Wed.    PURDUE          7:00 p.m.
        13  Sat.    SOUTH FLORIDA   2:00 p.m.       
        28  Sun.    SAN FRANCISCO   2:00 p.m.       
        31  Wed.    at Pittsburgh*  2:00 p.m.
    
    January
        6   Tues.   at Georgetown*      7:00 p.m.
        8   Thur.   MIAMI*              7:00 p.m.
        10  Sat.    at St. John's*      2:00 p.m.
        14  Wed.    WEST VIRGINIA*      7:00 p.m.
        17  Sat.    at Boston College*  6:00 p.m.       
        21  Wed.    at Syracuse*        7:00 p.m.
        24  Sat.    PROVIDENCE*         2:00 p.m.
        28  Wed.    at Villanova*       7:30 p.m.
        31  Sat.    SETON HALL*         2:00 p.m.
    
    February
        3   Sun.    at MIami*           7:00 p.m.
        12  Thur.   ST. JOHN'S*         7:00 p.m.
        15  Sun.    PITTSBURGH*         2:00 p.m.
        18  Wed.    GEORGETOWN*         7:00 p.m.
        21  Sat.    at Connecticut*     W, 97-74        
        24  Tue.    RUTGERS*            7:00 p.m.
        28  Sat.    BIG EAST TOURNAMENT TBA
    
    March
        3   Tue.    (Louis Brown Athletic Center -
                     Rutgers University)
    
    *BIG EAST Conference game

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