Jan. 12, 1998Riley Named BIG EAST Co-Rookie of the Week
Notre Dame Riding Seven-Game Win Streak as Irish Pick Up Three BIG EAST Wins
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The Notre Dame women's basketball team posted three BIG EAST wins last week and extended its current win streak to seven games, its longest dating back to last season. The Irish are now 10-4 overall and 4-2 in the BIG EAST. After starting the season by losing its first two conference contests, Notre Dame has now won four straight against league opponents.
Two of Notre Dame's victories last week were on the road as the Irish beat Georgetown 69-44 and St. John's 77-57, and then earning a 75-47 win at home against Miami. The 44 points scored by the Hoyas were the fewest allowed by Notre Dame this sesaon.
The Irish have held four of their last five opponents to under 50 points per game.
The Week Ahead: Two games are on the schedule this week as the Irish play West Virginia and Boston College, two teams they will meet only once this season. Notre Dame plays hosts to the Mountaineers on Wednesday, January 14 at 7:00 p.m. and then travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. for a 6:00 p.m. contest with the Eagles on Saturday, January 17.
The Notre Dame-Boston College game is the second in a series of eight contests which are part of the BIG EAST Women's Basketball Television package. Saturday's contest will be shown live on SportsChannel Chicago as well as in several other regional markets.
The Week in Review:
GEORGETOWN - For the third straight game, Notre Dame turned in a strong defensive outing and held its opponent to under 50 points as the visiting Irish beat Georgetown 69-44 in winning its fifth consecutive game.
Notre Dame held the Hoyas to just 21.3 percent shooting from the field as Georgetown converted just 18.2 percent of its shots in the second half (6-33).
Freshman Kelley Siemon (Edina, Minn.) led four Irish players in double figures as she recorded her first career double double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Mollie Peirick (Eureka, Mo.) finished the game with 12 points, while Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.) and Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) scored 10 points each.
Notre Dame led 33-23 at the half and used an 11-2 spurt to start the second half and break open the game. The Irish led by as many as 28 points in the second half.
Notre Dame held a decisive advantage on the boards as the Irish outrebounded Georgetown 49-38. The Irish shot well from the field connecting on just 21 of 46 field goals for 45.6 percent accuracy.
MIAMI - For the fifth straight game, Notre Dame turned in a stellar defensive performance, holding its opponent to under 50 points for the fourth consecutive game as the Irish beat Miami 75-47. It was the sixth win straight win for head coach Muffet McGraw's team.
Freshman Ruth Riley (Roann, Ind.) recorded her first career double-double as she posted career-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds as she led three Notre Dame players in double figures. Mollie Peirick finished with a season-high 18 points, all coming from the three-point range as she tied a Notre Dame school record with six three-pointers.
Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) was the only other Irish player in double figures as she netted 13 points, hitting four three-pointers.
Notre Dame blew open a close game after halftime. Leading 29-23 at the intermission, the Irish outscored the Hurricanes 19-6 in the first 12 minutes of the second half as Miami scored just four points in the first nine minutes.
The Irish held the Hurricanes to 30.0 percent shooting for the game and 22.9 percent accuracy in the second half as Miami connected on just eight of 35 attempts. Notre Dame shot 47.1 percent in the second half and 47.3 percent for the game and hit 50.0 percent (11-20) from three-point range.
The Irish also held a 43-32 rebounding advantage.
ST. JOHN'S - Four starters scored in double figures to lead Notre Dame to a 77-57 BIG EAST road win over St. John's.
Junior Sheila McMillen went six-for-nine from the field, including four-for-seven from three-point range to lead the Irish with 16 points, while Ruth Riley recorded her second consecutive double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Irish blitzed the Red Storm by jumping out to a 15-4 lead in the first 4:28 of the contest as McMillen scored seven of those points. Notre Dame led 39-21 at the half and forced 13 Red Storm turnovers in the first half.
McMillen scored five of Notre Dame's first 10 points of the second half to lead 49-27 with 16:48 left in the game. The Irish would go on a 12-0 run and build a 31-point over the next 2:46 and held its biggest lead of the contest, 35 points (73-38), with 6:02 left in the game before the Red Storm scored 19 of the last 23 points in the game for the final 77-57 margin.
Mollie Peirick finished with 12 points and eight assists, while Kelley Siemon was 4-4 from the field and 3-4 from the foul line for 11 points. Notre Dame shot 51 percent from the field while its defense held St. John's to 31 percent shooting.
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 311-140 (.690) and she owns a 223-99 (.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. 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: West Virginia - This will be the only meeting between the two teams this season. The Irish have won all three meetings with the Mountaineers. This is West Virginia's second-ever visit to the Joyce Center. The Mountaineers are 0-1 after losing 103-58 at Notre Dame on January 9, 1997. Boston College - Notre Dame and Boston College meet only once this season as the Irish lead the series 3-1. Coach Muffet McGraw's squad has won all three meetings between the two teams since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. Notre Dame is 1-1 in Chestnut Hill. Last year, Notre Dame earned a four-point decision, 61-57, over the Eagles.
Irish on the Web: The official Notre Dame athletic department web site is available at www.und.com.
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.
BIG EAST Roll: Notre Dame has won its last four BIG EAST outings after dropping its first two league games against Rutgers and Connecticut. The back-to-back BIG EAST losses marked the first time since joining the league that Irish had dropped consecutive league outings.
Riley Honored: Freshman Ruth Riley was named the BIG EAST Co-Rookie of the Week for her performances last week against Georgetown, Miami and St. John's. The 6-5 rookie shared the honor with Svetlana Abrosimova from Connecticut. In the three conference wins last week, Riley averaged 12.3 points and 7.7 rebounds. She had back-to-back double doubles (her first of the season) versus Miami and St. John's as she scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Hurricanes and netted 10 points and hauled in 10 rebounds against the Red Storm. Riley, who also had 13 blocked shots in the three games, leads the league in that category with 2.5 per game. She is the second Notre Dame player to earn a BIG EAST award this season — sophomore Niele Ivey was named the league's player of the week in mid-December.
Irish on the Road Early: The Irish opened the season by playing five of their first seven games on the road. Notre Dame has played nine of its 14 games in 1997-98 on the road.
Peirick Gets 500th Career Assist: Senior guard Mollie Peirick dished off her 500th career assist against San Francisco on December 28. She ranks fourth on the all-time Notre Dame assist list with 525. Peirick leads the team with 73 assists (5.2).
Peirick Ties Irish Mark: Mollie Peirick tied a Notre Dame school record with her six three-pointers against Miami. All of her season-high 18 points came from beyond the arc. Earlier in the season against UCLA, junior Sheila McMillen also tied the record with her six three-pointers en route to a 29-point outing against the Bruins.
McMillen Leads the Irish: Sheila McMillen has been in double figures in nine games and is averaging 13.9 ppg. and 2.9 rpg.Her back-to-back 20-point outings against UC Santa Barbara and UCLA in late November marked the third and fourth time in her career that she scored 20-plus points in a game.
Irish Tie School Mark Against Hurricanes: Notre Dame's 11 three-pointers in its 75-47 win over Miami tied and Irish single-game mark. Notre Dame set the mark of 11 in a win at Pittsburgh on February 17, 1998.
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 14 games this season. Green is third in the Irish scoring column (11.1 ppg.) and leads the team in rebounding with a 6.3 average. She posted back-to-back 19-point outings against UC-Santa Barbara and UCLA and had 17 points versus Rutgers. Green recorded her first career double-double against South Florida when she scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Notre Dame's 73-50 victory. She has been in double figures in six games this season.
Ivey Energizes Irish: Sophomore guard Niele Ivey has been in double figures in four of the last nine games. 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 contests.
Siemon Earns First Career Double Double: Freshman Kelley Siemon posted her first career double double in the win against Georgetown as she scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds. She has started 13 of 14 games this season.
Back-to-Back Doubles For Ruth: Freshman Ruth Riley had been in double figures in both scoring and rebounding in Notre Dame's last two games against Miami and St. John's. Riley, who has started the last eight games and has played in all 14 contests, had career-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds in Notre Dame's 28-point win over Miami. She came back two days later and netted 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the 20-point win over St. John's. Riley has been in double figures scoring in four games this season and has grabbed 10-plus rebounds in three games. She is averaging 6.7 ppg., 5.5 rpg. and leads the team with 35 blocked shots (2.5 per game).
Helping Put the BIG in the BIG EAST: In just its third season as a member of the BIG EAST, Notre Dame has proven to be one of the most dominant teams in the league. The Irish have a 36-6 (85.7 percent) record in regular season games and 4-2 (66.7 percent) mark in BIG EAST tournament action for an overall record of 40-8 (83.3 percent) against league opponents. Of Notre Dame's eight losses, six have come against Connecticut, and on all five occassions, the Huskies were ranked in the top three nationally. The Irish have lost only to one other BIG EAST team — Rutgers (twice).
Irish Tough At Home Against BIG EAST Foes: Notre Dame is 19-2 (.905) against BIG EAST opponents at the Joyce Center since joining the league in 1995-96. The only two Irish losses at the Joyce Center have come against Connecticut. Notre Dame was a perfect 9-0 at home in league action last season.
Tough Defense: Notre Dame has had strong defensive outings in its last six outings as the Irish have held five of those opponents to under 58 points. The Irish held four consecutive opponents (San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Georgetown and Miami) to under 50 points — a first for a Notre Dame women's basketball team. McGraw's squad gave up a season-low 44 points against Georgetown and posted its biggest margin of victory (28 points) in the win over Miami. The Irish are giving up just 48.5 points (291 points) and are outscoring their opponents by a 21.8 ppg. average.