Dec. 18, 1997
Notre Dame Heads into 15-Day Break with 5-4 Record
Irish to Face San Francisco on December 28
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Notre Dame women's basketball
team went 2-1 in action last week as the Irish dropped an 89-77
decision at 17th-ranked Wisconsin and then picked up two home
wins against Purdue (77-71) and South Florida (73-50).
With the two victories in the three non-league games, the Irish
improved to 5-4 on the season. Notre Dame has an 0-2 BIG EAST
The Week Ahead: Notre Dame will be off for 15 days and
will not play again until December 28 when the Irish host San
Francisco on Sunday, December 28 at 2:00 p.m. in their final
non-league contest of the year. Coach Muffet McGraw's squad
will close out '97 with a league game on Wednesday, December 31
when the Irish travel to Pittsburgh for a noon tipoff.
Probable Irish Starting Lineup:
3 Mollie Peirick 5-11 Sr. G 12.0 4.7
50 Kelley Siemon 6-2 Fr. F 8.6 3.4
00 Ruth Riley 6-5 Fr. C 5.0 4.8
12 Danielle Green 5-8 Jr. G 12.6 6.2
20 Sheila McMillen 5-10 Jr. G 14.9 2.9
The Week in Review: Notre Dame was 2-1 in three
non-league tests last week as the Irish upped their overall
record this season to 5-4.
WISCONSIN - Notre Dame dropped its third straight
contest as the Irish lost an 89-77 decision at 17th-ranked
Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) and Niele Ivey (St. Louis,
Mo.) led the Irish with16 points each, while Danielle Green
(Chicago, Ill.) added 14 points.
Ivey's 16 points marked a career-high. She also had a
game-high seven rebounds in the contest.
Wisconsin had five players in double figures as the Badgers
were led by LaTonya Sims' 20 points. The Badgers led by 16 at
halftime, but the Irish came back following the intermission
with an 18-4 run to start the second half and pulled to within
two with 14:20 left in the contest.
Wisconsin then went on a run of its own as the Badger lead
increased to 17 with just over six minutes to play in the game.
Wisconsin went to the free throw line 39 times in the game
(converting on 30 of those attempts). Notre Dame was whistled
for 32 fouls in the game, compared to just 19 for the Badgers.
The Irish shot 46.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from
three-point range and just 65.0 percent from the line. Notre
Dame also had 28 turnovers in the game.
PURDUE - Notre Dame sank 10 straight free throws in the
final 3:13 of the contest as the Irish rallied in the second
half for its first-ever win over Purdue at the Joyce Center
77-71. The win ended a three-game losing streak for the
Irish, its longest since the 1994-95 campaign and gave Notre
Dame a split against Big Ten foes this season.
Notre Dame, which was 0-3 against the Boilermakers previously
at the Joyce Center was led by Niele Ivey's 16 points, which
tied her career-high, and Ruth Riley's personal best 13 points,
as the Irish erased a five-point deficit with 7:32 left to play
in the contest.
The Irish had two other players in double figures as Sheila
McMillen and Kelley Siemon each chipped in 12 and 11 points,
respectively. Despite hitting just 35.7 percent from the field
(20-56), the Irish went to the charity stripe 40 times and
converted on 32 of their attempts (80.0 percent).
SOUTH FLORIDA - Danielle Green and Mollie Peirick
(Eureka, Mo.) combined for 35 points to lead Notre Dame to its
second straight win as the Irish posted a 73-50 win over
visiting South Florida in the first-ever meeting between the
two schools. The 23-point margin of victory also was the
largest of the season.
Green led the Irish in both scoring and rebounding as she
tossed in 18 points and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.
Peirick tied her season-high as she added 17 points. They were
the only two players in double figures for Notre Dame which won
its second straight game and improved to 5-4 on the season.
All 11 Irish players who played in the game scored. Junior
guard Sheila McMillen missed the contest with a hip flexor
suffered prior to the Purdue game on December 12.
Freshman Ruth Riley (Roann, Ind.) made her third straight start
and had another outstanding game as she scored five points,
grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds and made a personal best
seven blocks, one shy of the school record.
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 306-140
(.686) and she owns a 218-99 (.688) 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: San Francisco-
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Pittsburgh- Notre Dame leads the series 3-0 and is 1-0 at
Fitzgerald Field House. The Irish last played at Pittsburgh
was on February 18, 1997 and defeated the Panthers 65-49.
Ivey Earns BIG EAST Player of the Week Honors:
Sophomore guard Niele Ivey was named the BIG EAST Conference
Player of the Week after averaging 13. 7 points, 5.0 rebounds,
5.0 assists and 4.3 steals in leading Notre Dame to a 2-1 week.
Ivey earns Player of the Week honors for the first time in her
career, and is the first Irish player to be honored by the
Conference this season
In three games, Ivey shot 48 percent from the field (13-27),
including 66.7 percent from three-point range (eight-of-12).
In an 88-79 loss at 17th-ranked Wisconsin, Ivey finished with a
career-high 16 points and seven rebounds. She recorded double
figures for the third straight game in Notre Dame's 77-71
victory over Purdue and had her second straight 16-point outing
on five-of-nine shooting from the field which included four
Ivey closed out the week with nine points, six rebounds and
eight assists and seven steals. in the 73-50 win over South
Florida in making her first-ever career start. She is the
team's fifth-leading scorer averaging 7.9 ppg. and 2.9 rpg.
Ivey leads the team with 25 steals (2.78 per game) and is
second in assists (3.0 per game).
Notre Dame Sportscentral: The 1997-98 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.
Three Straight Losses a Rarity: The three straight
losses for the Irish against Rutgers, Connecticut and Wisconsin
marked the first time Notre Dame had dropped three consecutive
games since the 1994-95 season. Its back-to-back BIG EAST
losses against the Scarlet Knights and Huskies marked the first
time since joining the league in 1995-96 that the Irish had
dropped consecutive league outings.
Irish Have Been on the Road Early: Notre Dame opened up
the season by playing five of its first seven games on the
road. The Irish have been at home for back-to-back contests
versus Purdue and South Florida and will play one more home
game in the month of December when the Irish entertain San
Francisco on Sunday, December 28. Notre Dame closes out the
month of December with a road game at Pittsburgh on the 31st..
McMillen Misses First Career Game: Junior guard Sheila
McMillen was sidelined for the South Florida game with a hip
flexor suffered prior to the Purdue game. It marked the first
time the Irish co-captain had missed a game spanning 77 games
in her career.
McMillen Leads the Irish: Sheila McMillen has been Notre
Dame's leading scorer in four games, and has been and has been
in double figures in six of the eight contests she has played.
McMillen is averaging 14.9 ppg. Her back-to-back 20-point
outings against UC Santa Barbara and UCLA marked the third and
fourth times in her career that she scored 20-points in a game.
Peirick Gets First Double-Double: Senior guard Mollie
Peirick scored in double figures in the first six games of the
'97-98 campaign. She had her first double-double of the season
when she scored 10 points and dished off 11 assists, one shy of
her career best in Notre Dame's double overtime victory against
UCLA. Peirick is averaging 12.0 ppg. (third on the team),
while leading the team in assists with 46 (5.1 aspg.). She
also is second in the rebounding column with 4.7 rpg.
Green Provides a Spark: Junior guard Danielle Green has
been a spark in the Irish lineup. She missed all of last
season with a torn achilles tendon which she suffered on the
first day of practice (Oct. 15), but has come back to start all
nine games this season. Green recorded the first double-double
of her career against South Florida when she scored 18 points
and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds in Notre Dame's 73-50
victory. She is second in the Irish scoring column with a 12.6
ppg. average and leads the team with 6.2 rpg. Green has been in
double figures in five games and posted back-to-back 19-point
outings against UC Santa Barbara and UCLA.
Ivey Energizes Irish: Sophomore guard Niele Ivey has
been in double figures in three of the past four games and is
averaging 13.0 points., 4.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 4.8
steals in the last four games versus Connecticut, Wisconsin,
Purdue and South Florida. She had back-to-back career-high
16-point outings against Wisconsin and Purdue shooting 61.1
percent from the field (11-18) and 63.6 percent (7-11) from
three-point range in those two games.
Hutchinson, Riley and Ivey Make First Career Starts:
Senior guard Kari Hutchinson, sophomore guard Niele Ivey and
freshman center Ruth Riley earned their first career starts in
the past three games. Hutchinson and Riley were in the starting
lineup for the first time against Wisconsin, while Ivey earned
her first career start against South Florida, replacing Sheila
McMillen in the backcourt. Since the Wisconsin game, Riley has
earned starts in the Purdue and South Florida contests.
Getting Their Starts: Prior to the Wisconsin game, Notre
Dame's starting lineup has been the same through its first six
contests. In the season opener against Butler, the starting
lineup featured three players who were making the first starts
of their careers -- junior Danielle Green, sophomore Julie
Henderson and freshman Kelley Siemon.
Riley Rejections: Freshman Ruth Riley had a career-high
seven blocks in the South Florida game, one shy of the school
record. Riley leads the team this season with 16 blocks (1.78
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.
Notre Dame Versus Ranked Opponents: Wisconsin was the
third ranked opponent the Irish have faced this season. Notre
Dame is 0-3 against ranked foes with losses to Duke,
Connecticut and the Badgers.
Big Ten Bonanza: Notre Dame posted a 1-1 mark versus
Big Ten foes this season as the Irish had back-to-back games
against Wisconsin and Purdue. Last year, Notre Dame as 1-3
against the league, losing to Wisconsin, Purdue and Ohio State,
while posting its lone win against Indiana.