Aug. 30, 2010
UND.com is debuting another of its new interactive features for the 2010-11 season, with its weekly Fighting Irish Fan Chats. Each Wednesday afternoon, UND.com will sit down for a live chat session with student-athletes, coaches and administrators making news in the world of Fighting Irish athletics. Fans are invited to join in and offer questions or comments for our guests, and if you can't join us live, each chat will be archived so you can return to UND.com at your convenience and read what your favorite Notre Dame athletic personalities have to say on a variety of topics.
Our debut Fighting Irish Fan Chat took place from 3:00-3:30 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, Sept. 1, as Notre Dame assistant women's basketball coach (and former Fighting Irish All-America point guard) Niele Ivey joined us. The St. Louis native talked about Notre Dame's prospects for the upcoming 2010-11 season, as well as the exciting 10th anniversary reunion/celebration of the 2001 Fighting Irish NCAA national championship team on the weekend of Nov. 12-14.
One of the finest point guards ever to wear the Notre Dame uniform and the floor general on Notre Dame's 2001 national championship team, Ivey returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach, rejoining the Irish women's basketball program as a member of head coach Muffet McGraw's staff in May 2007. Ivey works closely with the development of the Notre Dame guards, and also has made major contributions to the program's nationally-ranked recruiting efforts, as well as game scouting, practice planning and summer camp coordination.
Ivey immediately brought her considerable experience to bear on the Irish floor generals, with Tulyah Gaines enjoying the best season of her career in 2007-08, with personal highs in assists (129, 3.8 apg.), assist/turnover ratio (1.48, an 0.38 increase from her previous season) and field goal percentage (.438). In addition, Gaines directed a Notre Dame offense that ranked eighth in the country in scoring (76.2 ppg.) and 10th in scoring margin (+14.6 ppg.), while also headlining a suffocating Irish defense that led the BIG EAST in steals for the second consecutive year.
A year later in 2008-09, Melissa Lechlitner made a seamless transition to the starting point guard spot with Ivey's help. Lechlitner averaged a career-high 10.6 points and 3.4 assists per game (12th in BIG EAST), and ranked eighth in the league with a 1.38 assist/turnover ratio.
Last season, Ivey tutored one of the nation's premier freshmen guards in Skylar Diggins, helping the South Bend native to honorable mention All-America and second-team all-BIG EAST honors. What's more, Diggins became the first Notre Dame freshman in 17 seasons to lead the Fighting Irish in scoring (13.9 ppg.) and only the third player in program history (in any class) to record 400 points, 100 assists and 75 steals in a single season, joining Ivey (2000-01) and Megan Duffy (2004-05) in that elite company.
Mark your calendar now and be sure to join us for the new UND.com Fighting Irish Fan Chat ... and as always, GO IRISH!!