November 17, 1996
Notre Dame Shocks Sixth-Ranked Iowa
Gaither pours in 27 points and grabs 14 rebounds to lead the 20th-ranked Irish past the Hawkeyes.IOWA CITY, Iowa -- All-American Katryna Gaither had game-highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds as the 20th-ranked Notre Dame women's basketball team recorded its biggest upset in school history as the Irish defeated sixth-ranked Iowa 61-50 at Carver Hawkeye Arena in second round action of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The victory earns Notre Dame (2-0) a spot in the semifinals as the Irish play fourth-ranked Tennessee in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was just the third-ever victory for the Notre Dame women's basketball program over a top-10 opponent. Notre Dame beat Vanderbilt during the 1989-90 season and then knocked off Louisiana Tech the next season as both teams were ranked 10th at the time of the game.
The Irish led the contest from start to finish as they took the Hawkeyes out of their game. Gaither was simply remarkable as she connected on 11 of 19 shots. Notre Dame jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the contest with Gaither scoring eight of the team's first 10 points.
Notre Dame led by as many as 12 points in the first half when Rosanne Bohman's eight-foot jumper from the left baseline put the Irish up 25-13 with 5:43 remaining in the first half.
Iowa closed the gap to four at 25-21 with 1:34 remaining when Tanegela Smith nailed two free throws. But the Irish scored the last four ponts of the first half on baskets by Beth Morgan and Julie Henderson to lead 29-21 at the half.
Gaither scored the first basket of the second half to put the Irish up by 10 (31-21). After Iowa's Angela Hamblin made a 16-foot jumper from the left baseline to cut the lead to eight, Gaither gave the Irish an 11-point lead (34-23) as she connected on the first of two free throws and then followed her own missed shot.
The Hawkeyes made a run at the Irish lead over the next three minutes as Iowa cut the Notre Dame lead to one 34-33 with 15:35 left in the game with a 7-0 run when Nadine Domond nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key.
Notre Dame then went on a 15-3 run of its own over the next seven minutes as Morgan's 18-foot jumper gave the Irish a 49-37 lead with 6:01 left. Iowa came within five (54-49) with 1:55 left in the contest, but Notre Dame hit 7-of-9 field goal attempts down the stretch to seal the victory.
For Iowa (1-1), it was their first home loss since February of '95. The victory for Notre Dame was its second straight over a Big Ten opponent. The Irish beat Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament last March.
Iowa returned four starters from last year's team which advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
"To play as well as we did against a Final Four caliber team this early in the season is really encouraging," said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw.
Notre Dame -- Morgan 3-9 3-6 12, Bohman 1-2 2-2 4, Gaither 11-19 5-9 27, Pelrick 3-7 2-2 9, Augustin 1-3 3-3 5, Hutchinson 1-2 0-0 2, Henderson 1-2 0-0 2.
Iowa -- Gooden 2-8 1-2 6, Smith 0-3 3-4 3, Hamblin 5-19 2-3 12, Domond 6-15 0-0 16, Herrig 0-2 2-2 2, Edwards 4-9 1-3 9, Koering 1-1 0-0 2.
Halftime score: Notre Dame 29, Iowa 21. Three point field goals: Notre Dame 2-12 (Morgan, Pelrick), Iowa 5-17 (Domond 4, Gooden). Rebounds: Notre Dame 47 (Gaither 14, Morgan 8), Iowa 35 (Herrig 7, Edwards 7). Assists: Notre Dame 13 (Morgan 3), Iowa 13 (Gooden 3, Domond 3). Total fouls: Notre Dame 14, Iowa 17. Fouled out: None.