Dec. 4, 1999
RICHMOND, Va. - Most freshman athletes spend their time adjusting to a new system and a faster-paced game. One Notre Dame player, though is already learning faster - and playing better - than anyone expected.
Alicia Ratay had 32 points and No. 11 Notre Dame shot 20-for-28 in the second half Saturday to defeat No. 9 North Carolina 99-86 in the opening round of the Wachovia Women's Invitational Tournament.
Notre Dame (3-1) will play Liberty in the championship Sunday while North Carolina (4-2) will face Richmond in the consolation. Liberty defeated Richmond 94-75 in the tournament's opener.
The Irish led 42-39 at halftime, then started the second half with a 23-4 run led by Ratay's 13 points.
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said Ratay's play was unusual given her inexperience.
"I'm very pleased with Ratay. You don't expect a freshman to take over in a big game and she did today," McGraw said.
Ratay was an impressive 6-of-8 from 3-point range and 12-of-15 overall. She also grabbed six rebounds.
LaQuanda Barksdale had 18 points for North Carolina.
"Notre Dame is a great team they did a good job against us," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "Ninety-nine points doesn't say much for our defense."