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    March 8, 1998

    Notre Dame Women's Basketball Earns Third Straight NCAA Tournament Berth

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame women's basketball team, which advanced to the 1997 NCAA Final Four, will be making its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and fifth in the 21-year history of the program when the ninth-seeded Irish (20-9) face Southwest Missouri State (24-5) in the first round of the Midwest Regional in Lubbock Tex.

    Notre Dame is scheduled to face the Lady Bears at 6:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. EST) at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum on Friday, March 13. Top-seeded Texas Tech will face 16th-seeded Grambling in the second first round game at that site 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.

    This is the second time in three years that the Irish will travel to Lubbock, Tex. for the NCAA tournament. In '96, Notre Dame was the 12th seed of the Midwest Region and beat fifth-seeded Purdue 73-60 for its first-ever NCAA tournament victory before losing to fourth-seeded Texas Tech 82-67.

    This is the third straight year Notre Dame will travel to the state of Texas for first and second round games. Last year, the Irish played in Austin, Tex., where they beat Memphis and Texas to advance to the regional finals. It also marks the fourth consecutive season Notre Dame will participate in postseason in Texas. In 1995, Notre Dame finished third in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) in Amarillo, Tex.

    Notre Dame was one of four BIG EAST teams to earn a spot in the 64-team field. Also participating in this year's tournament are Connecticut, Rutgers and Miami. It marks the first time in the league's history that four teams earned tournament berths in the same season.



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