Women's Basketball

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Irish Excited About Life At The Top
Ruth Riley and the Irish are excited to be No. 1.
 
Ruth Riley and the Irish are excited to be No. 1.

Jan. 23, 2001

By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Ruth Riley remembers walking on campus and seeing an 8-foot high No. 1 sign illuminated atop Grace Hall, signifying that an Irish team was top-ranked. She wondered how it would feel to be on such a team.

She need not wonder any longer. The All-America center and her Irish teammates on Monday became the No. 1 ranked team in women's basketball for the first time. The accomplishment came a week after previously top-ranked Connecticut lost to then-No. 3 Notre Dame, 92-76.

Notre Dame plans to pull the No. 1 sign out of storage and have it atop Grace Hall by Tuesday night. The sign was last out atop the administrative building in the fall, when the women's soccer team was ranked No. 1.

``I'll have to grab a couple of my teammates and go out there and walk past it,'' Riley said. ``We walked past it when it was lit for the soccer team and it was in the back of our minds that we hoped we could reach that, too.''

Not only had the Irish (18-0) never been No. 1 before, they had never been No. 2. And they had never been higher than No. 4 before this season.

``We've made a giant step forward,'' said Irish coach Muffet McGraw. ``There haven't been that many teams that have been No. 1 in the country at any time. I think we're just thrilled to be there right now.''

The Irish are only the seventh team to hold the No. 1 ranking since the 1994-95 season and just the 19th in the 25-year history of the poll.

``It's a good statement about how far our program has come in the last couple of years,'' Riley said.

McGraw, who had said previously that rankings during the season weren't important, admitted she was excited. She celebrated by handing out cookies with No. 1 on them.

``It's a great feeling. I'm thrilled. I'm not sure how to explain the feeling,'' she said.

The Irish had the day off after beating Seton Hall 72-47 Sunday. McGraw said she should have practiced because so many players showed up waiting to hear whether the Irish were indeed No. 1.

``It feels great,'' said forward Kelley Siemon. ``I still don't think it's hit me, but it's really nice to finally be the No. 1 team in the nation.''

The Irish said the ultimate goal is to be No. 1 when the season ends, but reaching the top of the poll was worthy of celebrating.

``Just because this is a first for our university, that makes it something special,'' Riley said.

 

 

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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