Feb. 9, 1998
Women's Basketball Looks to Rebound From One-Point Loss to Miami
Irish return to action following nine-day layoff and begin three game homestand
Notre Dame, Ind. -- Notre Dame begins a three-game homestand when the Irish return from a nine-day layoff to host BIG EAST foes St. John's and Pittsburgh. Coach Muffet McGraw's squad played once last week losing a tough one-point decision 77-76 at Miami on February 3. The loss drops Notre Dame to 14-7 overall and 8-5 in the league.
The Week Ahead: The Irish will be at home twice this week when they host St. John's on Thursday, February 12 at 7:00 p.m. and Pittsburgh on Sunday, February 15 for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff.
The Week in Review: Notre Dame lost its only game last week as the Irish dropped a 77-76 decision at Miami. Octavia Blue sank one free throw with the game tied after being fouled with no time left on the clock to lift the Hurricanes to the victory.
MIAMI - Miami's Octavia Blue hit a free throw with no time remaining on the clock as the Hurricanes beat the visiting Irish 77-76. The win snapped a Miami's five-game losing streak to Notre Dame.
Blue, who finished with 14 points in the contest, was fouled by Kari Hutchinson (Nine Mile Falls, Wash.) on a questionable call after it appeared that time had expired, but the officials determined that the clock had not sounded.
The outcome was similar to a game played between the two teams a year ago in Coral Gables, Fla. as Notre Dame hit two free throws in the final six seconds of the game to escape with a two-point victory.
Kym Hope led four Miami players in double figures as she finished with game-high 20 points.
Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.), who led four Irish players in double figures as she netted 18 points, tied the contest with seven remaining on a driving layup. Miami drove the ball the length of the floor and got two shots off in the final six seconds of the game. Kym missed the first shot, but then Blue grabbed the rebound and went back up with her shot.
Mistakes late in the game cost Notre Dame the victory. Leading 74-71 with 54 seconds remaining in regulation, the Irish got the ball back on a Blue turnover. Irish freshman Kelley Siemon (Edina, Minn.) turned the ball over trying to inbounds to Green. Hope hit a three-point play after being fouled by Julie Henderson (Ann Arbor, Mich.) tying the game at 74-74 with 34 seconds remaining in the contest.
Notre Dame, which shot a season-high 58.0 percent from the field, jumped out to a nine-point lead midway through the second half. But the Hurricanes came back on the strength of their three-point shooting. Shannon Drury nailed five three-pointers (all in the second half) to aid the Miami comeback.
The Hurricanes, who shot 28.6 percent in the first half, did not lead in the game until 5:45 remaining in the contest on back-to-back three-pointers by Drury.
Siemon finished the game with 14 points, while Ruth Riley (Roann, Ind.) added 16. Mollie Peirick finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Leading scorer Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) was held scoreless for only the second time in her career.
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 315-143 (.688) and she owns a 227-102 (.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: St. John's - Notre Dame has won all four meetings between the two teams, including a 77-57 win on January 10 earlier this season. St. John's has only played once at the Joyce Center, dropping a 66-53 decision on January 24, 1996. Pittsburgh - This will be the second meeting of the 1997-98 campaign for the two teams. Notre Dame leads the series 4-0 and the Irish are 2-0 at the Joyce Center against the Panthers. The Irish beat Pittsburgh 66-46 on December 31in Pittsburgh, Pa. The last time the Panthers played at Notre Dame, they lost 65-49.
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 eight of its last 11 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 8-5 in league play with five BIG EAST outings remaining in the regular season.
Late Season Favors Irish: Notre Dame will play four of its final five regular season league contests at home. The Irish begin a three-game homestand this week, hosting St. John's and Pittsburgh this week followed by a matchup with Georgetown on February 18. Notre Dame final road test of the season will be against Connecticut on Saturday, February 21. The Irish conclude the regular season at home versus Rutgers.
BIG EAST Road Woes: Four of Notre Dame's five BIG EAST losses have come on the road. The Irish have lost three of their last league games on the road and have suffered back-to-back road losses to Villanova (70-54) and Miami 77-76.
Irish in the Joyce Center: Notre Dame has a 180-64 (.738) mark at the Joyce Center in 20-plus seasons. During the 1995-96 and 1996-97 campaigns, the Irish have had back-to-back 11-1 marks at home. Last season, their only loss at home was to Wisconsin (81-69) and the only blemish on this year's home record is a 78-59 setback to Connecticut. The Irish are 8-1 already this season and with four home games remaining could set the record for most wins at home in a single-season.
Peirick Third on All-Time Assist List: Mollie Peirick has had nine assists in each of Notre Dame last two games against Seton Hall and Miami. She currently is third on the all-time career assist list with 570. Peirick needs just 10 more assists to move to second on the all-time list ahead of Karen Robinson (1987-91) who finished her career with 579.
Peirick Approaches 1,000-Point Plateau: Mollie Peirick has 953 career points and needs just 47 to become the 13th player in Notre Dame women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
McMillen Held Scoreless: Sheila McMillen, who has scored in double figures in 14 games this season and leads the Irish in scoring with 13.2 ppg., was held scoreless for only the second time in her career (89 games) in Notre Dame loss at Miami on Wednesday night. The last time McMillen failed to score in a game was against Providence on January 14, 1996.
Ivey in the Starting Lineup: Sophomore guard Niele Ivey has started the last seven games and nine overall this season. She is averaging 7.9 ppg. and leads the team with 49 steals (2.3 per game). Ivey has been in double figures in seven games and netted a career-high 17 points against West Virginia as she connected on six-of-10 shots from the field. She had back-to-back 16-point outings against Wisconsin and Purdue, shooting 61.1 percent from the field (11-18) andn 63.6 percent (7-11) from three-point range in those 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 1997-98 campaign. Green missed the West Virginia game and Seton Hall, but has come off the bench in the last five games she has played. She is the team's third-leading scorer (11.1 ppg.) and second-leading rebounder (5.7 rpg.). Green netted a career-high 22 points in Notre Dame's win over Providence on January 24, which marked the first time time in her career that she scored 20-plus points in a game. She recorded her first career double-double against South Florida when she scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Green has been in double figures in eight games this season.
Siemon in Double Figures: Freshman Kelley Siemon's 14-point outing against Miami marked the ninth time this season she has been in double figures. In the game, she was seven-of-eight from the field and also grabbed five rebounds. Siemon recorded her first career double-double versus Georgetown when she netted 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. She 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 49 blocks (2.3 per game). She leads the team in rebounding (6.5 rpg.) and fourth-leading scorer (10.3 ppg.)
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 40-9 (81.6 percent) record in regular season games and 4-2 (66.7 percent) mark in BIG EAST tournament action for an overall record of 44-11 (80.0 percent) against league opponents. Of Notre Dame's 11 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 four other BIG EAST teams — Rutgers (twice), Boston College, Villanova and Miami.
Irish Tough At Home Against BIG EAST Foes: Notre Dame is 22-2 (.917) 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.