Jan. 11, 2000
By JR ROSS
Associated Press Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame's offense is no secret.
Pound the ball inside to 6-foot-5 center Ruth Riley and then pop it outside
to whichever guard is hot.
Stopping it is another matter.
Riley had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Niele Ivey added 14 points and 10
assists as the No. 6 Irish beat Seton Hall 80-52 on Tuesday night.
Riley added seven blocks, one short of a school record, as Notre Dame (12-2,
3-0 Big East) won its 15th straight at home, tying a school record.
"Ruth and Niele are both playing like All-Americans right now," coach
Muffett McGraw said. "Niele is the best point guard in the league if not in
Even so, the Irish were sluggish at times and had problems with the press
Seton Hall (6-7, 0-3) went to after realizing it was being hurt by letting
Riley set up in the middle.
Trailing 48-28 early in the second half, Seton Hall was able to utilize the
press to force Notre Dame into three straight turnovers. That allowed the
Pirates within 49-37 with 13:15 left, their smallest deficit since midway
through the first half.
The Irish responded with an 11-0 run that began and ended with 3-pointers by
Alicia Ratay. Seton Hall didn't seriously challenge again.
Ratay finished with 14.
"We decided we couldn't guard Ruth, so we might as well go small and try to
make it more of an open court," Seton Hall coach Phyllis Mangina said. "We
got some turnovers. We just didn't capitalize. Then they came right back and
Playing without 6-foot-2 forward Leslie Ardon, out with a broken hand, the
Pirates couldn't match Riley inside. But the Irish also had problems getting
Riley the ball, forcing lob passes into the paint. Combined with their problems
with the press, the Irish committed 25 turnovers.
"It concerns me a great deal. We gave them too many easy opportunities,"
McGraw said. "A lot of the turnovers weren't forced. We were trying to make an
extra pass. We didn't put any zip on it and just left it out there."
Still, Seton Hall's 52 points matched the lowest offensive output of any
Notre Dame opponent this season. The Pirates shot 21-of-70 from the field -
just 1-of-11 from 3-point range - and had 23 turnovers.
Starr Fuller scored 13 points to lead the Pirates.
"Playing against teams at that next level, the top 10, they capitalize on
those things," said Mangina, whose three Big East losses this season are to
No. 1 Connecticut, No. 9 Rutgers and the Irish. "I don't know anyone else in
the country that's just played No. 1, No. 6 and No. 9. That's a tough way to
start the league."