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    Fighting Irish

    Feb. 16, 1998

    Irish Prepare for More After Strong Week

    ND Takes on Georgetown, Connecticut

    hutchinson photo
    Kari Hutchinson got her second career start against Pitttsburgh.

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame played twice last week and won both of its games. The Irish beat St. John's 76-44 and Pittsburgh 75-60. With the two victories, Coach Muffet McGraw's squad improved its record to 16-7 overall and 10-5 in the BIG EAST.

    The Week Ahead: Three game remain in the regular season for the Irish. Notre Dame plays twice this week as the Irish host Georgetown on Wednesday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m. and then travel to second-ranked Connecticut for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff with the Huskies on Saturday, February 21.

       
    Probable Irish Starting Lineup: 
                                        1997-98
                                        PPG.    RPG.
     3  Mollie Peirick  5-11    Sr. G   12.4    5.0
    50  Kelley Siemon   6-2     Fr. F   8.4     4.8
    00  Ruth Riley      6-5     Fr. C   10.4    6.9
    20  Sheila McMillen 5-10    Jr. G   13.3    3.0
    42  Kari Hutchinson 6-0     Sr. G   3.7     3.0

    The Week in Review:
    Notre Dame earned two home victories last week and improved their home record to 10-1 on the season as the Irish beat St. John's and Pittsburgh. The game against St. John's on February 12 marked the first time the Irish had been in action since dropping a 77-76 decision at Miami on February 3.

    ST. JOHN'S - Playing for the first time in nine days, Notre Dame rebounded from its tough loss to Miami to post a 76-44 victory over the visiting Red Storm.

    Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.) and Ruth Riley (Roann, Ind.) each scored 13 points, while Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) added 11. Riley also had a game-high 10 rebounds in the contest for her sixth double-double of the season.

    Notre Dame shot 52.9 percent from the field and used a strong defensive performance that limited St. John's to 31.5 percent accuracy as the Red Storm converted just 17 of 54 field goal attempts.

    The Irish never trailed in the contest and built a 10-point lead early on in the first half. St. John's cut the deficit to four, 18-14, with 10:22 left to play before intermission. That was as close as the Red Storm would get as Notre Dame used a 19-4 run to close out the first half and took a 37-18 lead into the lockerroom.

    The Irish did not let up in the second half an led by as many as 36 points.

    Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) went down with a hip pointer three minutes into the game and did not return.

    PITTSBURGH - Notre Dame won its ninth straight home game of the season in beating Pittsburgh 75-60 as Sheila McMillen and Mollie Peirick each scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures.

    The Irish struggled shooting from the field all afternoon and hit just 24 of their 65 shot attempts for 36.9 percnet accuracy fro the field and was held to 27.8 percent (5-18) from three-point range.

    Notre Dame jumped out to a 6-0 lead only to have the Panthers come back with an 8-0 run of their own.

    Leading 31-27 at the break, Notre Dame held Pittsburgh scoreless for more than five minutes in the second half and built a 14-point lead. The Panthers did not score their first field goal until the 11:39 mark of the second half.

    After two Peirick free throws with 11:06 left to play in the contest, the Panthers went on a 9-2 run to cut the Notre Dame lead to 48-44 with 8:23 left to play in the game.

    McMillen nailed two free throws to put the Irish up by six and then hit a four-point play after being fouled with 7:40 remaining in the contest.

    Pittsburgh was able to pull within six (56-50) with 5:21 left, but Notre Dame closed out the contest by outscoring the Panthers 19-10.

    Ruth Riley recorded her second consecutive double-double and seventh of the season as she finished with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Riley, Notre Dame's fourth-leading scorer was held scoreless in the first half. Danielle Green was the fourth player in double figures as she scored 10 points.

    Kari Hutchinson (Nine Mile Falls, Wash.) got her second career start as she replaced Niele Ivey in the starting lineup. Ivey who missed the game because of a hip pointer suffered in the previous game against St. John's.

    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 317-143 (.689) and she owns a 229-102 (.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: Georgetown - Notre Dame and Georgetown play for the second time this season. The Irish lead the series 9-1 and have won seven straight over the Hoyas, including five consecutive since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96. Georgetown is 0-3 at the Joyce Center and this will mark the third straight season they have played at Notre Dame. Last year, the Hoyas dropped a 67-63 decision. In the first game between the two teams this season, Notre Dame earned a 69-44 victory in Washington, D. C. Connecticut - Notre Dame and Connecticut meet for the second time this season. The Huskies have won all six previous meetings between the two teams, including a 78-59 decision at the Joyce Center this season. The Irish are 0-4 at Gampel Pavilion.

    BIG EAST Roll: Notre Dame has won 10 of its last 13 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 the Irish had dropped consecutive league outings. Notre Dame had won five straight before losing to Boston College on January 17. The Irish are 10-5 in league play with three BIG EAST outings remaining in the regular season.

    Late Season Favors Irish: Notre Dame will play two of its final three regular season league contests at home. The Irish conclude a three-game homestand against Georgetown on February 18, then travel to Connecticut for its final road test of the 1997-98 campaign, before returning home for the regular season finale against Rutgers on Tuesday, February 24.

    BIG EAST Road Woes: Four of Notre Dame's five BIG EAST losses this season have come on the road. The Irish have lost three of their last four 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 182-64 (.740) 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 10-1 this season at home, and with two home games remaining, could set the record for most wins at home in a single-season.

    Riley Has Seven Double-Doubles: Ruth Riley, who became the first player in Notre Dame women's basketball history to register five consecutive double-double, added numbers six and seven this week. Against St. John's, she had 13 points and 10 boards and followed that performance up 10 boards and 12 rebounds versus Pittsburgh. Her double-double in the St. John's game was her first since registering career-highs of 29 points and 13 rebounds against Syracuse on January 21. Currently, Riley is the team's fourth-leading scorer and top rebounder averaging 10.4 points and 6.9 rebounds. She has scored in double figures in 12 games this season and has grabbed 10-plus rebounds eight times. Riley also has been honored as the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week three times this season.

    Peirick Third on All-Time Assist List: Mollie Peirick has moved into second-place on the all-time career assist list with 587. Mary Gavin is Notre Dame's career assist leader with 778. Peirick had 10 assists against St. John's which marked the second time this season she had 10 or more assists in a game. Over the last six games, she has dished off 46 assists and is avergaing 7.7 per game. In four four of the last six games, Peirick has had nine or more assists.

    Peirick Approaches 1,000-Point Plateau: Mollie Peirick has 974 career points and needs just 26 to become the 13th player in Notre Dame women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

    McMillen Back in Groove: Sheila McMillen, who was held scoreless for the second time in her career (89 games) against Miami, netted double figures twice in action last week against St. John's and Pittsburgh. She has scored in double figures in 16 games this season and leads the Irish in scoring with 13.3 ppg. The only other time McMillen failed to score in double figures was against Providence on January 14, 1996.

    Ivey Out of the Lineup: Sophomore guard Niele Ivey missed the Pittsburgh game after suffering a hip pointer against St. John's. She had started the last has started the last eight games for the Irish and eight overall this season. She is averaging 7.5 points per game and leads the team with 49 steals (2.2 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 seven games she has played. She is the team's third-leading scorer (11.1 ppg.) and second-leading rebounder (7.4 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 nine games this season.

    Siemon in Double Figures: Freshman Kelley Siemon's (Edina, Minn.) 14-point outing against Miami on February 3 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 is second in the BIG EAST is second in the BIG EAST with 51 blocks (2.2 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 42-9 (82.4 percent) record in regular season games and 4-2 (66.7 percent) mark in BIG EAST tournament action for an overall record of 46-11 (80.1 percent) against league opponents. Of Notre Dame's 11 losses, six have come against Connecticut, and on all five times, 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 24-2 (.923) 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.



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