Feb. 20, 2001
By TOM COYNE
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame has been winning games easily all season. It's been a while since it was this easy, though.
Ruth Riley scored 20 points as the No. 2 Irish dominated inside and all 12 players scored as the Notre Dame bench outscored Miami's starters 32-27 in an 81-43 victory Tuesday night.
"Oh, that felt good," said Irish coach Muffet McGraw, who notched her 400th career victory.
The Irish, who fell to No. 2 after losing 54-53 to Rutgers on Saturday, had its most impressive performance since before it became the top-ranked team a month ago.
Notre Dame (24-1, 13-1 Big East) has won by an average of 21.1 points this season, but had won by more than 20 just twice in its last seven games.
"I think we were ready to explode on somebody," McGraw said.
Miami coach Ferne Labati said she knew her team was a likely victim following Notre Dame's loss at Rutgers.
"We knew they'd be up to vindicate themselves," she said. "They played tonight like they did at the beginning of the season and when they played Connecticut. It was similar in the way they ran the floor, the way they used each other, all their cuts. Just an outstanding performance by Notre Dame."
The 38-point margin of victory was Notre Dame's largest since a 40-point victory over Rice on Dec. 31. It was the worst loss of the season for Miami (13-12, 6-8).
"We just didn't come out here and play to our capability, but I really truly believe that so much had to do with the way Notre Dame played," Labati said.
With about 4 1/2 minutes left, the Irish crowd began chanting for McGraw to put
walk-on Karen Swanson in. McGraw obliged, sending Swanson in to a loud cheer.
She made a free throw with 64 seconds left to become the final Irish player to
The Irish dominated inside, outscoring the Hurricanes 38-16 inside and outrebounding them 47-33.
The Irish took control with a 10-1 run midway through the first half after Miami closed to 19-15. Kelley Siemon started the run by making a free throw and capped it with a fastbreak layup that gave the Irish a 29-16 lead. In between, the Hurricanes went 0-for-8.
The Irish, who led 35-21 at the half, put the game away with a 23-5 run midway through the second half, opening a 73-37 lead. Freshman Jeneka Joyce, who missed 11 games with a sprained ankle, scored eight of her career-high 13 points during the run and also assisted on a fastbreak layup.
Alicia Ratay had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Irish. Sheila James had 11 points to lead the Hurricanes, who shot only 28.1 percent and had five air balls, including the opening shot.
The only negative for the Irish was their 16 turnovers, including 12 in the first half. McGraw said the Irish were forcing the fastbreak a little, but that was her only complaint
"I thought we looked like we knew where everyone was going to be. I thought our execution was really perfect," she said. "We're starting to peak again."