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    Fighting Irish

    Jan. 26, 1998

    Irish Travel to Villanova and Play Host to Seton Hall this Week

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame, winners of 10 of its last 11 games, rebounded from its loss to Boston College a week ago with decisive victories over Syracuse (87-69) on the road and Providence (109-60) at home. With the two victories, the Irish improve to 13-5 overall and 7-3 in the BIG EAST.

    The Week Ahead: Notre Dame plays twice this week as Coach Muffet McGraw's squad travels to Villanova for a 7:00 p.m. contest with the Wildcats on Wednesday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m. and then entertains the Pirates of Seton Hall on Saturday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m.

    The Notre Dame-Seton Hall contest will be televised tape-delayed on WHME TV-46 that same evening at 11:00 p.m.

    Probable Irish Starting Lineup: 
                                        PPG.   RPG.
     3   Mollie Peirick   5-11  Sr.  G  13.3   4.9
    50   Kelley Siemon     6-2  Fr.  F   8.7   4.5
    00   Ruth Riley        6-5  Fr.  C   9.9   6.7
    20   Sheila McMillen  5-10  Jr.  G  13.5   3.0
    33   Niele Ivey        5-8  So.  G   7.9   3.2

    The Week in Review:
    Notre Dame won both of its games last week as the Irish earned victories over Syracuse and Providence.

    SYRACUSE - Ruth Riley (Roann, Ind.) recorded her fifth consecutive double-double as she scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed a personal best 13 rebounds in Notre Dame's 87-69 victory over the Orangewomen.

    Riley, who became the first Irish women's basketball player to post five consecutive double-doubles, shot 13-of-15 from the field as she led three Irish players in double figures. Kelley Siemon (Edina, Minn.) and Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) added 11.

    Notre Dame shot 50.0 percent from the field in the game, while limiting Syracuse to just 35.5 percent accuracy, while outrebounded the Orangewomen 45-39 and forcing 23 turnovers.

    The Irish used a 17-3 spurt in the final 6:13 of the contest to break open a close game. Syracuse, which trailed early on in the game by 11 with 13:07 remaining, closed the game gap to 31-30.

    Notre Dame come out strong in the second half and broke the game open with a 19-12 run in the first 10 minutes. The Irish had their largest lead of the game 27 points at 77-50 with 7:21 remaining in the game.

    PROVIDENCE - Notre Dame recorded its second-highest point-total in school history as the Irish posted a 109-60 victory over Providence before a season-high 5,056 fans as the Joyce Center.

    Five players scored in double figures as Notre Fame was led by Danielle Green's (Chicago, Ill.) career-high 22 points. All 12 Irish players on the roster scored in the game. Kelley Siemon recorded double figures for the second consecutive game as she finished with 16 points. Sheila McMillen added 15, Ruth Riley had 11 and Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) added 10.

    Riley finished with a game-high eight rebounds in the contest, while Peirick had a game-high nine assists.

    Notre Dame shot a season-high 54.3 percent from the field, including 58.3 percent accuracy in the first half. The Irish, who dominated the Friars, owned a 50-31 advantage on the boards, its largest rebounding margin of the season. The 49-point win was also the largest of the season.

    The Irish used a 35-11 run in the final 10:50 of the first half to pull away from Providence. With the score tied at 16-16, Notre Dame held the Friars to just two baskets before the intermission as the Irish scored a season-high 51 points in the first half for a 51-27 halftime lead.

    Notre Dame had a season-high 26 assists and a season-low 12 turnovers in the game.

    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 314-141 (.690) and she owns a 226-100 (.693) 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: Villanova - Notre Dame leads the series 5-2 and has two three straight over the Wildcats. The Irish are 2-2 on the road against Villanova. Last year, Notre Dame earned a 77-54 victory at The Pavilion. McGraw is 3-2 vs. Villanova. This will be the only time the two teams will play each other this season. Seton Hall - Notre Dame leads the series 4-2. The Irish have won four straight over the Pirates, including two victories last season. Notre Dame beat Seton Hall 87-47 in South Orange, N.J. in the first game played between the two teams last season and earned a 75-61 victory at the Joyce Center where the Pirates are 1-1. McGraw is 5-3 versus Seton Hall in her coaching career.

    Irish on the Web: The official Notre Dame athletic department web site is available at www.und.com.

    BIG EAST Roll: Notre Dame has won seven of its last eight 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. The Irish are 7-3 in league play with eight BIG EAST outings remaining in the regular season.

    Riley Three-Peat: For the third consecutive week, freshman Ruth Riley was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week. She averaged 20.0 points. 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in leading the Irish to victories over Syracuse and Providence. Against Syracuse, Riley registered career-highs of 29 points and 13 rebounds for her fifth consecutive double-double as she became the first women's basketball player in school history to record five straight double-doubles. She was 13-15 from the field in 32 minutes. Against Providence, Riley scored in double figures for the sixth straight game as she scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots. She has played in all 18 games and has started the last 12 contests, has been in double figures in eight games, had 10-plus rebounds in six games and netted 20-plus points in two games..

    Riley Has Four Straight Double Doubles: Ruth Riley became the first player in Notre Dame women's basketball history to post five straight double-doubles when she scored 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds agaomst Syracuse. She currently is averaging 9.9 points and 6.7 rebounds. Since becoming a starter 12 games ago, Riley has scored in double figures in eight of those games and grabbed 10-plus rebounds six times. She leads the BIG EAST with a 44 blocked shots (2.4 per game). Over the last six games, Riley has averaged 19.0 points and 10.8 rebounds. Here's a look at her record-setting five consecutive double-double performances:
    vs. Miami (19 points, 11 rebounds)
    vs. St. John's (10 points, 10 rebounds)
    vs. West Virginia (27 points, 12 rebounds)
    vs. Boston College (18 points, 11 rebounds)
    vs. Syracuse (29 points, 13 rebounds).

    Peirick Steps Up: Senior guard Mollie Peirick turned in the top two performances of her career in back-to-back games against West Virginia and Boston College as she had consecutive 20-plus outings. In the West Virginia contest, she 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. In the game, she 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 is the team's second-leading scorer (13.3 ppg.), third-leading rebounder (4.9 rpg.) and tops the team in assists (5.4 aspg.), free throw percentage (81.1) and minutes played (31.3). Peirick is the only player to have started all 18 games this season and has netted double figures in all but four contests.

    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 550. Peirick leads the team with 98 assists and needs just seven more to move into third on the all-time career assist list.

    McMillen In the Scoring Mix: Sheila McMillen has been in double figures in 12 games this season and is the team's 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. She has been in double figures in all but five games.

    Ivey in the Starting Lineup: Sophomore guard Niele Ivey has started the last four games for the Irish and has averaged 10.8 ppg. in those games and 7.9 ppg. overall in the 18 contests she has played. Ivey, who has been in double figures in seven games, netted a career-high 17 points against the Mountaineers as she connected on six-of-10 shots from the field. Ivey has started six of Notre Dame's 18 games. She had back-to-back 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 this season. 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, and has come off the bench in Notre Dame's last three games. She is the team's third-leading scorer (11.1 ppg.) and second-leading rebounder (6.1 rpg.) an is coming off a carerer-high 22-point outing against Providence on Saturday, which marked the first time in her career that she scored 20-plus points in a game. She 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 seven games this season.

    Siemon in Double Figures: Freshman Kelley Siemon scored in double figures for the eighth time this season when she scored 16 points against Providence. It marked the second straight game she had been in double figures after netting 15 points in the win over Syracuse. In Notre Dame's last two outings, Siemon has shot 61.9 percent from the field (13-21). She recorded her first career double-double versus Georgetown when she netted 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Siemon had a career-high 20 points in Notre Dame's double overtime win at UCLA in late November.

    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 and BIG EAST with 44 blocks (2.4 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 39-7 (84.8 percent) record in regular season games and 4-2 (66.7 percent) mark in BIG EAST tournament action for an overall record of 43-9 (82.7 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 21-2 (.913) 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 21, Ruth Riley ranked 11th in blocked shots.



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