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    Jan. 14, 1998

    Irish Roll to Eighth Straight Victory

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame women's basketball team, behind career-high performances from Ruth Riley, Mollie Peirick and Niele Ivey, won its eighth straight game and fifth consecutive BIG EAST outing as the Irish held off visiting West Virginia 86-78.

    With the win, Notre Dame improves to 11-4 and 5-2 in the BIG EAST.

    Riley posted her third straight double double as she finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds (both personal bests). The 6-5 freshman connected on hit 11 of 14 shots from the field and was five-of-seven from the line. Riley, who had 19 points at intermission, hit her first 10 shots from the field. Her first miss of the contest came with 12 minutes remaining in the game.

    Peirick, whose previous career-best was 21 points, finished with 23 points, seven assists and four rebounds while playing 37 minutes in the game. Ivey, who started in place of junior Danielle Green, had 17 points, hitting six-of-10 field goals.

    The two teams battled evenly in the first , but a 17-8 run in the final six minutes of the first half enabled the Irish to gain a 39-32 halftime advantage.

    Notre Dame came out in the second half and outscored Notre Dame 23-12 to open up an 18-point lead (62-44) on Ivey's baseline jumper with 12:34 remaining in the game.

    The Mountaineers, who fell to 7-7 and 3-4 in league play, had five players in double figures. Leading the way was Rebecca Burbridge who came off the bench to score 18 points.

    Following the basket by Ivey which gave Notre Dame it 18-point lead, West Virginia staged its own come back, outscoring the Irish 26-12 and cutting the deficit to four 74-70 on two Talisha Hargis' free throws.

    Notre Dame's leading scorer, Sheila McMillen, who struggled somewhat from the from hitting just four-of-11 from the field, nailed her only three-pointer of the evening after missing her first six attempts, to give the Irish a seven-point cushion and a 77-70 lead.

    Also in double figures for the Mountaineers were Hargis (14 points), Mandy Ronay (11 points), Isle Opstaele (11 points) and Maria Tchobanbova (10 points).

    The 78 points scored by West Virginia were the most given up by the Irish since an 89-77 loss at Wisconsin on December 8. Notre Dame entered the game allowing just 48.5 ppg. in its last six games.

    Notre Dame returns to action on Saturday, January 17 when the Irish travel to Boston College to face the Eagles in Chestnut Hill, Mass. at 6:00 p.m.

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