Dec. 5, 1999
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - University of Notre Dame junior center and tournament Most Valuable Player Ruth Riley scored a game- high 32 points and notched seven rebounds to lead the No. 11 ranked Fighting Irish to an 85-68 victory over Liberty to claim the 1999 Wachovia Women's Invitational Tournament title tonight at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va.
Riley notched 20 points in the second half which saw Notre Dame (4-1) shoot 60.9 percent from the field and 62.7 percent for the game. Irish freshman guard and all-tournament team honoree Alicia Ratay scored 17 points and handed out five assists. Senior guard Niele Ivey had eight points and six assits.
Liberty (2-3) placed four players in double-figures with senior guard Sarah Faley and freshman forward Zandrique Cason posting 17 points each. Senior guard Sharon Wilkerson added 11 points, while senior forward Elena Kisseleva notched ten points. Wilkerson and Farley each garnered all-tournament team recognition.
Leading 39-36 at halftime, Notre Dame opened the second half with an 13-6 spurt. In that stretch, Riley dominated inside, scoring eight points courtesy of two layups and four free throws. Thereafter, Notre Dame led by eight or more points the remainder of the game. Notre Dame's defense limited Liberty to just 38.2 percent shooting in the second half and forced 22 turnovers.
Notre Dame led 3-2 in the first half following an Ivey three-pointer at 18:56 and never trailed again. The Flames closed the gap to to 68-59 with 5:01 remaining in the game, but the Irish went on a 12-5 run to balloon its lead to 80-64 spearheaded by Riley's six points.
The Irish join past champions Penn State (1998), Old Dominion (1996
and1997), Connecticut (1995), Tennessee (1994) and USC (1993) as tournament
winners. Notre Dame will visit Purdue on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.,
while Liberty hosts East Tennessee State on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.
All-Tournament TeamRuth Riley (Notre Dame) - MVP
Alicia Ratay (Notre Dame)
LaQuanda Barksdale (North Carolina)
Candice Edwards (Richmond)
Sarah Farley (Liberty)
Sharon Wilkerson (Liberty)