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No. 5 Notre Dame Survives Pittsburgh, 81-74
Meaghan Leahy attempts to drive through Pittsburgh's Brooke Stewart and Dallas Williams during first half action Wednesday.
 
Meaghan Leahy attempts to drive through Pittsburgh's Brooke Stewart and Dallas Williams during first half action Wednesday.

Feb. 9, 2000

Postgame Audio

  • Coach McGraw

    Box Score

    By JR ROSS
    Associated Press Writer

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - After the Irish beat Boston College last weekend, Muffett McGraw figured it was a perfect time to give the team a couple extra days off.

    She promises that's the last time she makes that mistake.

    Notre Dame survived an inconsistent performance thanks to 20 points from Alicia Ratay and 19 from Ruth Riley to beat Pittsburgh 81-74 on Wednesday, extending its school-record winning streak to 16.

    "I can't wait to get to practice tomorrow," McGraw said. "I think we've got a lot of great ideas on how we can fix what happened tonight.

    "I have a feeling that tomorrow's practice will be more eye-opening than today's game."

    The Irish (20-2, 11-0 Big East) had problems from the start, missing 13 of their first 18 shots, although still managing a double-digit first-half lead.

    The Panthers (13-9, 4-7) cut it to 35-34 early in the second half and began to hang with Notre Dame before the Irish finally seemed to wake up.

    An 18-7 run - including eight points from Riley - built Notre Dame's lead to 13, Ratay's 3-pointer with 10:53 left increasing the lead to 59-46. A 14-3 run - including Danielle Green's 1,000 career point - over six minutes put the Irish up 73-51 with 4:18 left, the biggest lead of the game, and things seemed in hand.

    With most of the starters on the bench, the Irish fell to pieces as Pittsburgh closed the gap to 77-71 before missing several frantic shots over the final 45 seconds.

    "When it looked like the lights were out and nobody was home, they came back and played really, really hard," Pittsburgh coach Traci Waites said.

    Although Riley, Julie Henderson and Kelly Siemon are taller than Pittsburgh's tallest player, the Irish continually had problems lobbing the ball inside, contributing to their 27 turnovers. Mandy Wittenmeyer, three inches shorter but quicker than the 6-foot-5 Riley, contested almost every Irish pass inside.

     

     

    The Irish also repeatedly missed layups and putbacks in the first half, when they were 6-of-20 from inside 12 feet.

    "We didn't respond to that well," Riley said. "A lot of people gave up looking for their shot after missing a few, and that hurt us offensively."

    The Irish made up for ballhandling problems by shooting 18-of-26 in the second half and were 6-of-11 from 3-point range for the game.

    "We had a second person helping out," Waites said. "All we try to do is just make it difficult for her (Riley) to catch it and score. We knew she was going to get her points."

    The Irish looked night-and-day different from the team that beat then-No. 18 Boston College by 13 points on Saturday, their first game against a ranked opponent in almost two months.

    Even defense left the Irish down, allowing more than 65 points for the first time since a 71-61 loss to Purdue on Dec. 8.

    Wittenmeyer and Brooke Stewart led the Panthers with 15 points apiece.

    "We had a lot of problems," McGraw said. "It's hard to pinpoint what they were, but definitely the mental part, the lack of focus, the lack of intensity, the lack of pride and the lack of any basketball knowledge whatsoever were all key factors.

    "I think we'll just bring our track shoes tomorrow and get the kinks out that way."

  • Event Calendar

    Delta

    November 3
    7:00 PM
    Roberts Wesleyan
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
    November 11
    7:00 PM
    Central Michigan Notre Dame
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    November 14
    7:00 PM
    WNIT Quarterfinals
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    November 17
    7:00 PM
    WNIT Semifinals
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    November 20
    3:00 PM
    WNIT Final
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    CBS Sports Network
    November 22
    8:00 PM
    UL-Lafayette
    Houston, Texas (Campbell Center)
    November 26
    1:00 PM
    TCU
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    November 30
    9:00 PM
    Iowa
    Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)

    BTN
    December 4
    1:00 PM
    Valparaiso
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    December 7
    7:00 PM
    UConn
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ESPN2
    December 10
    8:00 PM
    DePaul
    Chicago, Ill. (McGrath-Phillips Arena)
    December 18
    2:00 PM
    Toledo
    Toledo, Ohio (Savage Arena)
    December 20
    7:00 PM
    Michigan State
    East Lansing, Mich. (Breslin Center)

    BTN
    December 27
    6:30 PM
    Chattanooga
    Chattanooga, Tenn. (McKenzie Arena)
    December 29
    7:00 PM
    North Carolina State
    Raleigh, N.C. (Reynolds Coliseum)

    ACC Network Extra
    January 2
    7:00 PM
    Georgia Tech
    Atlanta, Ga. (McCamish Pavilion)
    January 5
    7:00 PM
    Wake Forest
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    January 8
    3:00 PM
    Miami
    Coral Gables, Fla. (BankUnited Center)

    ESPN Flex
    January 12
    7:00 PM
    Pittsburgh
    Notre Dame, Ind.

    ACC Network Extra
    January 16
    7:00 PM
    Tennessee
    Knoxville, Tenn. (Thompson-Boling Arena)

    ESPN2
    January 19
    7:00 PM
    Boston College
    Chestnut Hill, Mass. (Conte Forum)
    January 22
    12:00 PM
    North Carolina
    Chapel Hill, N.C. (Carmichael Arena)

    ESPNU
    January 26
    7:00 PM
    Duke
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    January 29
    12:00 PM
    Virginia
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ESPNU
    February 2
    7:00 PM
    Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, Va. (Cassell Coliseum)
    February 6
    7:00 PM
    Louisville
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ESPN2
    February 12
    1:00 PM
    Georgia Tech
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    February 16
    7:00 PM
    Clemson
    Clemson, S.C. (Littlejohn Coliseum)
    February 19
    5:00 PM
    Syracuse
    Syracuse, N.Y. (Carrier Dome)

    ESPN2
    February 23
    7:00 PM
    Boston College
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ACC Network Extra
    February 26
    1:00 PM
    Florida State
    Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

    ESPN2
    March 17
    TBA
    NCAA First/Second Rounds
    TBD
    March 24
    TBA
    NCAA Regionals
    TBD
    March 31
    TBA
    NCAA Semifinals
    Dallas, Texas (American Airlines Center)
    April 2
    TBA
    NCAA Final
    Dallas, Texas (American Airlines Center)

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