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    Fighting Irish

    Nov. 22, 1997

    Notre Dame Women's Basketball Goes West

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Notre Dame women's basketball team went 1-1 to open up the 1997-98 campaign. The Irish won their season opener at home against Butler 71-65, but then dropped an 80-62 decision at 19th-ranked Duke.

    The Week Ahead: Notre Dame, 1-1, continues a four-game road swing when the Irish travel to the West coast to face UC Santa Barbara on Friday, November 28 at 7:00 p.m. (PST) and UCLA on Sunday, November 30 at noon (PST).

    Probable Irish Starting Lineup:
    1997-98                             PPG.    RPG.
     3  Mollie Peirick  5-11    Sr. G   11.5    7.0
    50  Kelley Siemon   6-2     Fr. F   10.5    4.5
    32  Julie Henderson 6-3     So. C    9.5    5.5
    12  Danielle Green  5-8     Jr. G    7.5    4.0
    20  Sheila McMillen 5-10    Jr. G   12.0    2.0
    
    The Week in Review:

    Notre Dame opened up the 1997-98 season by going 1-1 in action last week.

    Sheila McMillen
    Sheila McMillen.

    BUTLER - Behind junior guard Sheila McMillen's (Rochester, Ind.) 17 points, Notre Dame held off a second-half rally by Butler as the Irish went on to post a 71-65 victory. McMillen led three Notre Dame players in double figures.

    Notre Dame started strong in the first half as the Irish built an early double-digit lead and led by as many 22 with 4:20 in the first half. Notre Dame held the Bulldogs to 23.8 percent shooting in the first half and forced 12 turnovers en route to a 15-point halftime advantage (39-24).

    Butler began the second half with a 13-6 run which cut the lead to eight, 45-37 with 13:53 left in the contest. Notre Dame then scored six straight points to build a 14-point lead on McMillen's two free throws and back-to-back jumpers by she and Julie Henderson (Ann Arbor, Mich.).

    The teams traded baskets and the Irish led 58-46 with 7:35 remaining in the contest. Butler cut the lead to four several times down the stretch, but down the stretch, Notre Dame kept its poise.

    In addition to McMillen, Mollie Peirick (Eureka, Mo.) and Kelley Siemon (Edina, Minn.) were also in double figures as they scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Peirick also finished with a game-high eight assists.

    Butler's Jennifer Marlow led all scorers with 20 points, while Sarah Schuetz chipped in 16, including 14 in the second half. Sarah Hurrle finished with a game-high 11 rebounds.

    DUKE - Nicole Erickson led four Duke starters in double figures as the Irish dropped an 80-62 decision to the 19th-ranked Blue Devils.

    Mollie Peirick
    Millie Peirick.

    Notre Dame, which trailed 38-29 at the half, fought its way back in the second half and cut the deficit to one, 55-54, with 8:13 left to play in the contest on McMillen's driving layup. Following McMillen's basket, back-to-back layups by Peppi Brown and Naz Medhanie put Duke up by five. Henderson's eight-foot jumper cut the lead to three (59-56) with 7:16 to play, but then the Blue Devils used an 18-6 spurt over the next seven minutes to put the game away.

    Erickson hit all six of her three-point attempts as she finished with a game-high 18 points to lead four Blue Devils in double figures.

    Peirick led Notre Dame with 11 points, while Siemon and Henderson added 10 points each. Peirick also finished with a game-high nine rebounds.

    The Irish committed just six turnovers in the second half after having 12 in the first half.

    For the second straight game, the Irish struggled from the free throw line hitting just 13 of its 26 attempts. Duke also was inconsistent from the charity stripe hitting only 54.3 percent (19 of 35). The two teams were whistled for 52 fouls in the contest.

    Head Coach Muffet McGraw:
    Muffet McGraw is in her 11th season along the Notre Dame sidelines and her 16th as a collegiate coach. Her career coaching ledger stands at 302-137 (.688) and she owns a 214-96 (.690) 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.

    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:

    UC Santa Barbara -
    This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

    UCLA -
    The Bruins lead the series 8-2 and have won five of the last six meetings. Notre Dame is 0-5 at Pauley Pavilion. The last meeting between the Irish and the Bruins was in the first round of the '92 NCAA tournament (March 18) with UCLA earning a 92-71 victory.

    Irish on the Road Early:
    Notre Dame's two West coast games over the weekend are the second and third in a four-game road swing. Following the game against UC Santa Barbara on November 28, the Irish will play at UCLA on November 30 and at Rutgers on December 3 before returning home against Connecticut on December 6.

    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 173-63 (.733) mark at the Joyce Center in 20-plus seasons following the season-opening victory against Butler. 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.

    Getting Their Starts:
    Notre Dame's starting lineup against Butler in the season opener featured three players who were making the first starts of their careers -- junior Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.), sophomore Julie Henderson and freshman Kelley Siemon. They earned starts along with Mollie Peirick and Sheila McMillen. The five were also the starters against Duke.

    Hills, Haney Sign With Irish:
    Irish head coach Muffet McGraw has signed two players to national letters of intent during the early signing period. Sherisha Hills, a 5-8 guard from Tampa, Fla., and Ericka Haney, a 6-1 forward from Toledo, Ohio, comprise Notre Dame's Class of 2002.

    Hills, rated the third best player in the state of Florida, is 34th on Blue Star Basketball's list of top 60 seniors 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.

    Haney, rated the 49th best senior by Blue Star Basketball, led her Toledo Catholic Central squad in scoring (16.0 ppg.), rebounding (12.0 rpg.) and blocked shots (3.0 blks.) last season. She earned first-team all-state, all-city and all-district honors as a junior.

    An AAU All-American, she is a track standout and High School All-American in the 100-meter hurdles.

    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
    

    Free Throw Woes:
    Notre Dame, which has shot better than 70-percent from the charity stripe in eight of the last nine seasons, has struggled from the line in its first two games, hitting just 30 of 56 for 53.6 percent. Only Sheila McMillen and Ruth Riley (Roann, Ind.) are over 75.0 percent. Both are five-of-six from the line (83.3 percent).

    Notre Dame Women's Baskeball Schedule
    November
        10  Mon.    BRISBANE BLAZERS    W, 103-92 (3OT)
                    (Exhibition)
        13  Thurs.  SLAVYANKA (Russia)  W, 66-34
                    (Exhibition)
        18  Tues.   BUTLER              W, 71-65    
        22  Sat.    at Duke (19/19)     L, 62-80
        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*     7:00 p.m.        
        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
     (        ) ranking at time of game in Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls
    

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