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Utah-Notre Dame Preview

 

March 22, 2001

By the Associated Press

GAME: No. 5 Utah (29-3) vs. No. 1 Notre Dame (30-2).
REGIONAL: Midwest, semifinal.
TIME: Friday, 8:07 p.m. EST.
SITE: The Pepsi Center, Denver.

If the past is any indication, Notre Dame is on the verge of making extended travel plans.

With a win over fifth-seeded Utah in the round of 16, top-seeded Notre Dame will match the school mark for most wins in a season. When last the Fighting Irish won 31 games they ended up in the 1997 Final Four.

Notre Dame's 88-54 second-round victory over Michigan on Monday was its 38th straight home win, and put the Irish in the regional semifinals for just the third time school history.

Notre Dame, which shot 51.5 percent from the field, including 44.4 percent (8-of-18) from 3-point range, was again led by national player of the year Ruth Riley, who scored a game-high 21 points.

The Irish are making their sixth consecutive tournament appearance and eighth overall under coach Muffet McGraw. A season ago, Notre Dame didn't have enough to make it to a regional final, losing to Texas Tech.

However, the Irish might have more than enough to get the job done this season. In addition to Riley's dominant play in the paint, the team shoots nearly 50 percent from behind the 3-point arc. The Irish also boast the nation's top scoring defense, limiting opponents to 54.1 points per game.

Utah, which is making its first-ever appearance in the tournament, advanced to this stage with a 78-69 win over Iowa on Monday, despite allowing 20 more points than its average for the season.

However, offensively the Utes can spread it around. Against Iowa, Lindsey Herbert scored 15 points, leading five players in double figures.

Utah will need a similar effort to defeat a team in Notre Dame that was ranked first in the nation for a good portion of the season.

"It's so thrilling, we're so excited," point guard Amy Ewert said. "It's such a great step for this program. I can't wait to play (Notre Dame)."

PROBABLE STARTERS: Utah - F Kristina Andersen (9.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg), F Herbert (7.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg), C Lauren Beckman (12.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg), G Kelsy Stireman (5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg), G Ewert (9.3 ppg, 3.4 apg). Notre Dame - F Ericka Haney (11.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Kelley Siemon (11.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg), G Ruth Riley (17.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg), G Niele Ivey (12.2 ppg, 7.0 apg), G Alicia Ratay (13.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Utah - At-large bid, Mountain West Conference, beat Fairfield 79-57, first round, beat Iowa, 78-69, second round. Notre Dame - At-large bid, Big East Conference, beat Alcorn State 98-49, first round, beat Michigan, 88-54, second round.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Utah - 3-10, 11 year. Notre Dame - 11-7, 7 years.

 

 

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
TBA
Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
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
TBA
DePaul
Chicago, Ill. (McGrath-Phillips Arena)
December 18
2:00 PM
Toledo
Toledo, Ohio (Savage Arena)
December 20
TBA
Michigan State
East Lansing, Mich. (Breslin Center)
December 27
TBA
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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