March 31, 2001
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
ST. LOUIS (AP) - She shoots. She scores. She talks.
Well, two out of three anyway. Notre Dame's Alicia Ratay certainly can shoot the ball and scoring has never been a problem. But talking?
Teammates smile when a question is directed to Ratay during a news conference because they know what's coming.
"If you get more than three words out of her, you've done a good job," forward Erika Haney said.
By that measure, Ratay was absolutely verbose Saturday as the Notre Dame players discussed their national championship game with Purdue on Sunday night. Asked how the Irish would counter Purdue's physical play, Ratay prattled on for all of, oh, five seconds.
"Try and come out aggressive with a lot of intensity and hopefully we can come out with a win," she said.
There was no more. And no more questions for Alicia Ratay. But then, Ratay's game never has been about talking. She's a shooter, pure and simple, one of the best in the college game. A silent, stoic assassin, as Connecticut saw Friday night.
It seemed like Ratay hardly shot at all, yet she scored 20 points. She finished 6-for-10 from the field, including 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. For the season, she has made an astounding 55 percent of her 3-point shots. There are players who can't shoot that percentage on layups.
"She's the best pure shooter that I have ever seen," forward Kelley Siemon said. "That shot is so effortless. It's just a matter of whether or not she wants to shoot."
Ratay's expression in a game changes about as often as she misses. She could be 8-for-8 or 0-for-8 and her unwavering look would stay the same.
"I don't really talk much on the court," said Ratay, who averages 13 points.
"I'm a sophomore," she said. "I look to the seniors as the leaders and the people who are going to do the talking."
So what about later when she's senior? Isn't she going to have to talk it up then?
That question actually drew a laugh and a smile. "I guess I'm going to have to," she said.
Teammates insist Alicia Ratay has a lighter side, that she laughs at their jokes and cracks jokes of her own.
"If there is, it's a side I haven't seen," coach Muffet McGraw said. "The girls actually claim she's hysterical and a lot of fun to be around. But around the staff, she's pretty stoic."
Haney said you've just got to get to know her. Once the ice is broken, Ratay loosens up.
"She's just a very unique person," Haney said. "I don't think you'll ever meet anyone like Alicia. She's just so funny in her own way. Once you get to know her, you'll just laugh at everything she does because she's so unique and so funny."
Sunday night, though, expect to see the on-court Ratay - stern, silent and deadly.
"She's quiet vocally," Haney said. "But she's always heard on the court
when she's playing."