March 15, 2001
STAMFORD, Conn. -- Notre Dame senior Ruth Riley, the 2001 Naismith Women's College Player of the Year, has been selected as the Verizon Women's Basketball Academic All-American of the Year, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Thursday. Riley was voted to the Verizon Academic All-America women's basketball first team for the second consecutive year and chosen from those five as the Academic All-American of the Year -- a first for a Notre Dame women's basketball player.
Riley, a seven-time Dean's List member with a 3.64 cumulative grade-point average, will graduate from Notre Dame in May with a degree in psychology. She also was selected as the BIG EAST women's basketball scholar-athlete of the year and the BIG EAST female scholar-athlete of the year for all sports. Riley becomes the fourth Irish student-athlete to be named Academic All-American of the Year. Tim Ruddy (football, 1993), Jen Renola (fall/winter at-large, 1996) and Pat Garrity (men's basketball, 1998) also were selected as Academic All-American of the Year.
"It's such an honor to be named the Verizon Women's Basketball Academic All-American of the Year and to the first team," said Riley, a first-team Associated Press All-American in 2000 and 2001. "With all the players that are so athletically and academically gifted, to be chosen for this award is exciting not only for me, but for the University as well. Looking back, it is hard to realize the long-term effects of trying to balance basketball and schoolwork so this award is a great way to show how all the hard work has paid off."
Riley, a 6'5" senior All-America center and the tallest player in Irish history, was named the Naismith Women's College Player of the Year on Wednesday. The 2001 BIG EAST player of the year has been one of the nation's leading shot-blockers the last two seasons and leads Notre Dame in career blocked shots with 351. Her career field-goal percentage of .632 stands first in Irish history. She owns a 15.5 career scoring average and has scored 1,933 career points -- third best among all past Notre Dame players. Riley has led Notre Dame to the No. 1 ranking twice this year, helping her team to a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament.
Other first-team selections are Jackie Stiles of Southwest Missouri State, Lindsey Meder of Iowa and Camille Cooper and Katie Douglas of Purdue. The Verizon Academic All-America Teams are selected by a vote of the 1,800-member CoSIDA. To be eligible, an athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. Sports information directors nominate eligible athletes from their schools who are named to district teams prior to being voted upon on the national level. CoSIDA has been selecting Academic All-America? Teams since 1952.