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    Fighting Irish

    Jan. 19, 1998

    Notre Dame 1-1 in Action Last Week

    Two Games Slated This Week

    Notre Dame, Ind. -- Notre Dame went 1-1 in action last week as the Irish defeated West Virginia 86-78 and then lost a heartbreaker to Boston College 78-76 which snapped an eight-game win steak. Prior to the loss to the Eagles on the road, the Irish had not lost a game since dropping an 89-77 decision at Wisconsin. Its eight-game win streak was the longest of the season dating back to the 1996-97 campaign.

    Notre Dame heads into its two games this week with 11-5 record overall and 5-3 mark in BIG EAST play.

    The Week Ahead: Notre Dame plays its second consecutive road game when the Irish travel to Syracuse to face the Orangewomen on Wednesday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m. Following that game, Coach Muffet McGraw's squad will entertain Providence on Saturday, January 24 at 2:00 p.m.

    The Notre Dame-Providence game is billed as the annual "Jam the Joyce." Free tickets for the game are available at Teachers Credit Union.

    The Week in Review: Notre Dame was 1-1 in its two games last week. With their victory over West Virginia, the Irish had owned the league's longest win streak at eight games before losing the two-point decision at Boston College.

    WEST VIRGINIA - Behind career-high performances from Ruth Riley (Roann, Ind.), Mollie Peirick (Eurkea, Mo.) and Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.), Notre Dame won its eighth straight game and fifth consecutive BIG EAST outing as the Irish held off visiting West Virginia 86-78.

    Riley posted her third straight double double as she finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds (both career-highs). She connected on 11-of-14 shots from the field and was five-of-seven from the line. Riley, who had 19 points at intermission, hit her first 10 shots from the field. Her first miss of the contest came with 12 minutes remaining in the game.

     
    Probable Irish Starting Lineup: 
                                           1997-98 PPG.  RPG.
     3   Mollie Peirick   5-11   Sr.   G   14.2          5.0
    50   Kelley Siemon    6-2    Fr.   F    7.8          4.4
    00   Ruth Riley       6-5    Fr.   C    8.7          6.2
    20   Sheila McMillen  5-10   Jr.   G   13.5          2.9
    33   Niele Ivey       5-8    So.   G    7.7          3.2
    peirick photo
    Mollie Peirick.

    Peirick, whose previous career-best was 21 points, finished with 23 points, seven assists and four rebounds, as she played 37 minutes in the game. Ivey, who started in place of Danielle Green, had 17 points while hitting six-of-10 field goals.

    The two teams battled evenly in the first half, but a 17-8 run in the final six minutes of the first half enabled the Irish to gain a 39-32 halftime advantage. Notre Dame came out in the second half and outscored West Virginia 23-12 to open up an 18-point lead (62-44) on Ivey's baseline jumper with 12:34 remaining in the game.

    Following the basket by Ivey, which gave Notre Dame's its 18-point lead, West Virginia staged its own comeback, outscoring the Irish 26-12 and cutting the deficit to four, 74-70.

    Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.), who struggled all night from the field, nailed her only three-pointer of the evening after missing her first six attempts, to give the Irish a seven-point cushion (77-70).

    The 78 points scored by West Virginia were the most given up by the Irish since an 89-77 loss to Wisconsin in early December.

    BOSTON COLLEGE - Notre Dame's saw its eight-game win streak come to an end when Boston College's Cal Bouchard's driving layup with five seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Eagles to a 78-76 victory over the Irish.

    Mollie Peirick scored a career-high and game-high 26 points to lead three Notre Dame players in double figures. Ruth Riley recorded her fourth straight double double as she netted 18 points and 11 rebounds. Sheila McMillen was the only other Irish player in double figures as she finished with 13.

    The Irish fought back from a seven-point second-half deficit and took the lead 48-47 on a Peirick three-pointer with 11:48 remaining in the contest. From that point on, the two teams battled back and forth.

    Boston College held a four-point advantage, 68-64, with 3:48 remaining on a Paula Basco layup, but the Irish took a 71-70 lead in the contest on two free throws with 1:32 left in the game.

    Notre Dame trailed 76-74 with 13 seconds left in the game when Peirick was fouled by Jamie Cournoyer as she was attempting a three-point shot. Peirick canned all three of her free throws and to tie the game.

    Notre Dame shot 42.4 percent from the field and just 26.7 percent from three-point range, while the Eagles connected on 45.0 percent of their shots and 40.0 accuracy from three-point range.

    The Irish outrebounded Boston College 40-33, but turned the ball over 17 times in the contest compared to just 11 times for the Eagles.

    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 312-141 (.689) and she owns a 224-100 (.691) 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:

    Syracuse - Notre Dame leads the series 7-1 as the Irish have won six straight over the Orangewomen and have a 4-0 record against Syracuse since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. Notre Dame is 2-1 at Manley Field House. The only loss the Irish have suffered to the Orangewomen was at Manley when they dropped a 63-56 decision on February 4, 1989. McGraw's squad earned a 27-point decision last year at Providence as they defeated the Orangewomen 72-45. This is the only meeting between Notre Dame and Syracuse this season.

    Providence - Notre Dame has won all three meetings between the two schools and this will be the only time the two teams meet this season . The Irish won both games last season as they beat the Friars 91-75 at the Joyce Center and 97-74 at Providence.

    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 five of its last six 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. Notre Dame had won five straight before losing to Boston College on January 17.

    Riley Repeat: Freshman Ruth Riley was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week as she posted double doubles in Notre Dame's two games last week averaging 22.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. Riley had career-highs of 27 points and 12 rebounds in the Irish win over West Virginia. Riley was 11-of-14 from the field against the Mountaineers as she connected on her first 10 shots from the field. In the Boston College game, she recorded her fourth straight double double by scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Riley, who has played in all 16 games and started 10 of those contests, has been in double figures in six games and had 10-plus rebounds in five games.

    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 16 games in 1997-98 on the road.

    Riley Has Four Straight Double Doubles: Ruth Riley recorded her third and fourth consecutive double doubles last week in the two games versus West Virginia and Boston College. She currently is averaging 8.7 points and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds. Since becoming a starter 10 games ago, she has scored in double figures in six of those games and grabbed 10-plus boards five times. Riley leads the Irish and the BIG EAST with 39 blocks (2.44 per game).

    Peirick Steps Up: Senior guard Mollie Peirick turned in the top two performances of her career in back-to-back games last week against West Virginia and Boston College after consecutive back-to-back 20-plus outings. In the West Virginia contest, netted 20-plus points for the third time in her career as she scored a then personal-best 23 points, while grabbing four assists and dishing off seven assists. She came hit six-of-13 shots from the field and was a perfect nine-for-nine from the free throw line. Peirick came back three nights later against the Eagles and tossed in a career-high 26 points, while also grabbing six rebounds. She had her best performance against Boston College despite playing on a sprained left ankle she suffered in practice two days prior to the game as she tied the game with 13 seconds left to play in the contest by making three free throws after attempting a three-point shot. Peirick attempted a career-high 23 shots against Boston College. She leads Irish in scoring (14.2 ppg.), assists (5.1 aspg.), free throw percentage (81.1) and minutes played (31.9) and has played 30-plus minutes in all but five games this season.

    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 534. Peirick leads the team with 82 assists (5.1).

    mcmillen photo
    Sheila McMillen.

    McMillen In the Scoring Mix: Sheila McMillen has been in double figures in 10 games this season and is the team's second-leading scorer averaging 13.5 ppg. McMillen has had two 20-point plus outings this season when she scored 23 points and a career-high 29 points in wins over UC Santa Barbara and UCLA in back-to-back outings on a West coast swing in late November.

    Ivey in the Starting Lineup Against Mountaineers and Eagles: Sophomore guard Niele Ivey has started the last two games against West Virginia and Boston College and averaged 12.5 ppg. She scored in double figures for the sixth time this season when she netted a career-high 17 points against the Mountaineers as she connected on six-of-10 shots from the field. Ivey has started four of Notre Dame's 16 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. Ivey was honored as the BIG EAST Player of the Week in mid-December.

    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 started the first 14 games of the season. Green missed the West Virginia game, but played against Boston College, but did not start. She is third in the Irish scoring column (10.5 ppg.) and is the team's second-leading rebounder (6.1 rpg.). Green posted back-to-back 19-point outings against UC-Santa Barbara and UCLA and had 17 points versus Rutgers and 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.

    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 37-7 (84.1 percent) record in regular season games and 4-2 (66.7 percent) mark in BIG EAST tournament action for an overall record of 41-9 (82.0 percent) against league opponents. Of Notre Dame's nine 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 two other BIG EAST teams Rutgers (twice) and Boston College.

    Irish Tough At Home Against BIG EAST Foes: Notre Dame is 20-2 (.909) 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: Prior to giving up 78 points in both the West Virginia and Boston College games, the Irish had held four straight opponents to under 60 points. In that stretch, Notre Dame held its opponent to under 50 points in four consecutive games versus San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Georgetown and Miami. It marked a first in the program's history that an Irish team held four straight opponents to under 50 points. Notre Dame gave up a season-low 44 points against Georgetown and posted its biggest margin of victory (28 points) in the win over Miami.

    Irish in the National Statistics: In the national statistics released on Wednesday, January 14, Ruth Riley ranked 11th in blocked shots, while the Irish as a team were 15th in three-point field goal percentage.

    Riley Makes the Grade: Ruth Riley was named to the Dean's List after earning a 3.80 grade point average in her first semester. Riley is enrolled in the First Year of Studies.

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