Nov. 14, 2010
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2010-11 ND Women's Basketball: Game 2
#12/12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Morehead State Eagles (0-1 / 0-0 Ohio Valley)
DATE: November 15, 2010
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. - Purcell Pavilion (9,149)
SERIES: First meeting
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StorylinesNotre Dame will face its second consecutive first-time opponent to open the 2010-11 season. The Fighting Irish are 42-5 vs. new foes since the start of the 2000-01 season.
Notre Dame hasn't played a current OVC member in more than three decades, but the Fighting Irish will see two this year, as Southeast Missouri also comes to town on Jan. 2.
No. 12 Irish Back In Action Monday Night Against Morehead State
After a record-setting defensive performance in its opener on Friday, No. 12 Notre Dame will look to continue that tenacity on Monday as the Fighting Irish play host to Ohio Valley Conference runner-up Morehead State in a 7 p.m. (ET) contest at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame (1-0) tipped off the regular season in impressive fashion last Friday, rolling over New Hampshire, 99-48 at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish forced the Wildcats into an opponent-record 49 turnovers, while chalking up a record-breaking 36 steals along the way. Notre Dame also shot .514 from the field and dished out 26 assists on 37 field goals.
Junior forward Devereaux Peters led four Fighting Irish players in double figures with a career-high 23 points (on 11-of-13 shooting), while adding eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks in just 16 minutes. Sophomore guard Skylar Diggins added 12 points, four assists and four steals for Notre Dame.
RankingsNotre Dame is No. 12 in both the preseason Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls.
Morehead State is not ranked.
Quick HittersWith its No. 12 preseason ranking in the Associated Press poll, Notre Dame now has appeared in the AP poll for 59 consecutive weeks, tying the program record first set from preseason 1998-Dec. 3, 2001.
The Irish now have been voted into the preseason AP poll in 11 of the past 12 seasons (since 1999-2000), something only seven other schools in the country can match.
Notre Dame has a rugged 2010-11 schedule lined up, with games against at least one team from each of the top six RPI conferences (BIG EAST, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC), and five matchups against four other teams that advanced to last year's NCAA Sweet 16 (Connecticut twice, Baylor, Gonzaga and Kentucky).
The Irish will play a school-record 17 regular-season home games this year, including their first regular-season tournament (outside of the Preseason WNIT) since the 1983 Notre Dame Thanksgiving Classic. The three-day, round-robin WBCA Classic (also featuring IUPUI, Wake Forest and Butler) comes to Purcell Pavilion Nov. 26-28.
There will be lots of new faces on the Irish schedule this season, with Notre Dame playing seven first-time opponents as part of its 14-game non-conference slate. Those new opponents include: New Hampshire (Nov. 12), Morehead State (Nov. 15), Kentucky (Nov. 21), Wake Forest (Nov. 27), Baylor (Dec. 1), Gonzaga (Dec. 29) and Southeast Missouri State (Jan. 2).
Notre Dame is closing in on the 1,000th game in the program's 34-year history, with that milestone contest set for Dec. 5 when the Irish play host to in-state rival Purdue at Purcell Pavilion in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2. Notre Dame is 690-302 (.696) all-time entering the '10-11 season.
The Irish have only one true senior on this year's roster -- forward Becca Bruszewski. Guard Brittany Mallory and forward Devereaux Peters both are listed as seniors on the roster based on their academic standing, but each player has the option to petition for a fifth year of eligibility after both suffered season-ending knee injuries (torn ACL) within the first seven games of the 2008-09 campaign.
Notre Dame welcomes a three-player freshman class that includes the program's first-ever international player (Canadian National Team forward Natalie Achonwa), a 2010 McDonald's All-American (Erie, Pa., native Kayla McBride) and a two-time Michigan Player of the Year (Ariel Braker from Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.). Collectively, this group has been ranked as high as eighth in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz.
The Irish made a shift on their coaching staff during the offseason, as former longtime assistant and post coach guru Carol Owens (who previously served as Notre Dame from 1995-2005) returns to the program as associate coach following a successful five-year run as the head coach at her alma mater, Northern Illinois. In addition, Angie Potthoff has moved into the newly-created role of associate director of operations & technology, a position that has seen her help direct Notre Dame's emergence as one of the nation's leaders in social media development among women's college basketball programs.
Other Notre Dame NotablesNotre Dame is among the nation's winningest programs during the past 15 seasons (1996-97 to present), ranking seventh with 344 victories.
Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in attendance each of the past 10 seasons. Last year, the program finished fourth in the final NCAA attendance rankings with 8,377 fans per game, both setting new school records in the process. The Irish also have drawn 5,000-or-more fans to 142 of their last 144 home games, logging 12 Purcell Pavilion sellouts (including a school-record six last year, including four of the final five home games, most recently on March 1, 2010 vs. top-ranked Connecticut).
The Irish have become a regular fixture in the WNBA Draft in recent years, as seven Notre Dame players have been selected in the past decade. Charel Allen was the most recent Irish player to be chosen, going to the Sacramento Monarchs in the third round (43rd overall pick) of the 2008 WNBA Draft. Ruth Riley (San Antonio) was active in the league during the '10 season, helping the Silver Stars return to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Three of Notre Dame's eight WNBA alums have won a total of four league championships -- Riley won a pair of crowns with the Detroit Shock (2003 Finals MVP, 2006), Coquese Washington toiled for the 2000 Houston Comets, while Jacqueline Batteast was Riley's teammate on the '06 title-winning squad in Detroit.
For the fifth year in a row, the Irish posted a perfect 100-percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), according to figures released by the NCAA in October 2010. What's more, since Muffet McGraw became the Irish head coach in 1987, every Notre Dame women's basketball player that has completed her athletic and academic eligibility at the University has earned her bachelor's degree (a 62-for-62 success rate), with all three members of this year's senior class on target to earn their diplomas.
A Quick Look At Morehead State
The 2009-10 season was a landmark one for Morehead State, as the Eagles posted a 22-11 record, a second-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference (14-4 record) and earned their first postseason berth since the pre-NCAA era with an appearance in the Women's Basketball Invitational.
MSU has three starters and five letterwinners returning from that squad, led by OVC Preseason Player of the Year and senior guard Chynna Bozeman. Bozeman was a record-setting sharpshooter last year, establishing new conference records for three-pointers (121, five off the NCAA record) and attempts (340) in a season, leading an Eagles' unit that broke the NCAA Division I records for treys made (340) and attempted (981).
Morehead State opened its season Friday with an 82-48 loss at No. 9/10 Kentucky. The Eagles gave the Wildcats all sorts of problems in the first half and trailed just 27-20 at the break before UK pulled away in the final 20 minutes. Bozeman had 16 points and sophomore forward Ashar Harris nabbed 12 of MSU's 43 rebounds in the contest.
Tom Hodges is in his first season as the head coach at Morehead State, following a five-year stint as an assistant at Middle Tennessee.
The Notre Dame-Morehead State Series
Monday will mark the first time Notre Dame and Morehead State have played in the sport of women's basketball.
Other Notre Dame-Morehead State Series TidbitsMorehead State is the second of seven first-time opponents on Notre Dame's schedule this year. Back on Nov. 12, the Fighting Irish defeated New Hampshire, 99-48 at Purcell Pavilion.
The Eagles will be the 182nd different opponent in the 34-year history of Notre Dame women's basketball.
Notre Dame is 42-5 (.894) against first-time opponents since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96, including a 22-1 (.957) mark vs. new teams since the start of the 2000-01 season with a current 17-game overall winning streak. The last first-time opponent to defeat Notre Dame was Colorado State, which earned a 72-66 victory on Nov. 21, 2001, in Fort Collins, Colo. -- and the Fighting Irish responded by knocking off the Rams in each of the following three seasons.
The Irish have won 20 consecutive home games against new opposition, dating back to Jan. 18, 1996, when Connecticut posted an 87-64 win at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame has played Morehead State once before in men's basketball, as Mike Brey's Fighting Irish defeated the Eagles, 84-69 on Dec. 28, 2003, at Purcell Pavilion. Chris Thomas scored 23 points and Torin Francis added 21 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame has faced Morehead State in two other sports through the years, going 3-2 across those disciplines. In volleyball, the Fighting Irish split a pair of meetings against the Eagles, falling 3-0 on Sept. 3, 1983, at the Wildcat Invitational in Lexington, Ky., and winning 3-0 on Sept. 8, 1992, at Purcell Pavilion ... in women's tennis, Notre Dame has gone 2-1 against MSU, winning by identical 7-2 scores on April 4, 1983, and April 5, 1985, both in Morehead, Ky., while the Eagles earned a 6-3 win on April 19, 1984, at Notre Dame.
The head coach of the Fighting Irish women's tennis team when it played all three of those matches against Morehead State in the mid-1980s was Sharon Petro, who also just happened to be the first head coach in the history of the Notre Dame women's basketball program, compiling a 49-20 (.710) record in three seasons from 1977-80.
The Fighting Irish are 6-4 all-time against teams from the state of Kentucky, with the vast majority of those games coming against current BIG EAST member Louisville. Notre Dame is 5-4 all-time against the Cardinals, and also earned a 78-59 win over Western Kentucky on Nov. 13, 2007, in the second round of the Preseason WNIT at Purcell Pavilion. Prior to this season, Notre Dame never had played more than one Kentucky team in a season, but the Fighting Irish will be play three Bluegrass State clubs this year, including two in less than a week (Notre Dame visits UK on Sunday afternoon).
Morehead State assistant coach Lindsey Hicks is probably somewhat familiar to keen Notre Dame women's basketball fans. Hicks was a standout player at Purdue from 2000-04, including at least one (and sometimes two) matchups annually with the Fighting Irish during her career. Hicks also played in two NCAA postseason games against Notre Dame during her career, seeing less than a minute of action in the 2001 national championship game, then starting and tallying six points and five rebounds in Purdue's 66-47 win in the 2003 Sweet 16 in Dayton, Ohio.
Notre Dame vs. The Ohio Valley Conference
Notre Dame has played just one current member of the Ohio Valley Conference during its 34-year history.
On Jan. 11, 1980, then-AIAW Division III member Notre Dame defeated Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, 65-51 at the Huskie Invitational in DeKalb, Ill. Jane Politiski turned in a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) for Notre Dame, but this game is better known (and we use the term "better" loosely) for the combined 84 turnovers between the clubs, including SIU-E's 48 giveaways which stood as the Fighting Irish opponent record for more than 30 years ... until last Friday afternoon, when Notre Dame caused 49 New Hampshire turnovers in this year's opener at Purcell Pavilion.
In a curious twist, each of Notre Dame's first three games (including its exhibition against Michigan Tech) will come against teams with first-year head coaches who are under the age of 30.
Division II Michigan Tech was led by 27-year-old Kim Cameron, who was a player (2001-05) and assistant coach (2005-10) with the Huskies.
New Hampshire is headed by 29-year-old Maureen Magarity, who played at both Boston College and Marist (2003 graduate) and most recently was associate head coach at the U.S. Military Academy, serving on the staff of her father, Dave.
Morehead State is coached by 28-year-old Tom Hodges, a former Middle Tennessee assistant who was months younger than Magarity at the time of his hire, making him the youngest NCAA Division I coach (men's or women's basketball) in the country this year.
November To Remember
Notre Dame's success during the past 16 years has been aided by its ability to get off to a good start. To wit -- the Fighting Irish are 62-11 (.849) in November games since they joined the BIG EAST Conference in time for the 1995-96 season.
Notre Dame also owns an active 15-game November winning streak that started on Nov. 20, 2007 with a 94-41 victory at Central Michigan. That win came four days after a 75-59 loss at third-ranked Maryland in the Preseason WNIT semifinals.
Notre Dame Picked Fourth In 2010-11 BIG EAST Coaches' Preseason Poll
Notre Dame was selected to finish fourth in the BIG EAST Conference in 2010-11, according to a preseason vote of the league's 16 head coaches released on Oct. 21 during the annual BIG EAST Women's Basketball Media Day at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City.
The Irish picked up 177 points in the balloting (coaches may not vote for their own teams), placing behind only two-time defending national champion Connecticut, which was a unanimous choice to win the conference title with 225 points, West Virginia (207 points, one first-place vote) and Georgetown (186 points) -- St. John's rounded out the top five with 173 points.
Diggins Earns 2010-11 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honors
Along with picking Notre Dame to finish fourth in the conference this year in their preseason poll, the BIG EAST coaches unanimously voted sophomore guard Skylar Diggins to the 10-player Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.
A preseason candidate for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, as well as a consensus preseason All-American by most major media outlets, Diggins is coming off one of the finest rookie seasons in Fighting Irish women's basketball history as the first freshman in 17 seasons to lead Notre Dame in scoring and the first rookie in 16 years to top 100 assists in her debut season. What's more, she finished as just the third player in program history (and the first freshman) to log 400 points, 100 assists and 75 steals in a single season, joining a pair of All-Americans and Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (top senior in the nation 5-foot-8 and under) recipients -- current Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey (2000-01) and Megan Duffy (2004-05) -- in achieving that distinction.
A 2009-10 honorable mention All-America selection by both the Associated Press and WBCA, Diggins led Notre Dame in scoring (13.8 ppg.), steals (2.6 spg.) and assists (tied - 3.2 apg.) last season, while ranking third on the squad in three-point percentage (.350) and free throw percentage (.782). She also chalked up a team-high 24 double-digit scoring games, including seven 20-point outings, capped by a season-high 31 points against Vermont in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion. That scoring effort was the highest ever recorded by a Fighting Irish rookie in NCAA postseason play, while her 13 field goals made tied the program record for an NCAA tournament game.
In 2009-10, Diggins set Notre Dame freshman records for steals (90), free throws made (111), free throws attempted (142) and minutes played (1,028), while ranking among the top five on the Irish rookie charts for points (3rd - 484), scoring average (tied/4th - 13.8 ppg.), field goals made (3rd - 169), field goals attempted (3rd - 385), three-point field goals made (4th - 35), three-point attempts (5th - 100), three-point percentage (5th - .350), assists (3rd - 112), steals per game (2nd - 2.6 spg.), games started (tied/2nd - 30), games played (2nd - 35) and minutes per game (5th - 29.4).
Notre Dame is ranked 12th in the 2010-11 preseason Associated Press poll, released on Oct. 29. That marks the 59th consecutive AP poll appearance for the Irish, tying a program record first set from 1998 (preseason poll) to Dec. 3, 2001.
This year's No. 12 ranking also represents the 11th time in the past 12 years (starting with the 1999-2000 campaign) that Notre Dame has appeared in the preseason AP poll, something only eight schools in the nation have done -- Connecticut, Duke and Tennessee have shown up in all 12 during that span, while Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Stanford join the Irish with 11 preseason AP poll berths.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the AP poll for 198 weeks during the program's 34-year history, with every one of those appearances coming in the Muffet McGraw era (since 1987-88). McGraw ranks 13th among all active NCAA Division I head coaches for weeks in the AP poll, and also is 22nd all-time in that category.
In addition, the Irish are ranked 12th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today/WBCA coaches' poll that was released Nov. 2. Notre Dame now has been ranked in the coaches' survey for 59 of the past 60 weeks, falling just outside the Top 25 in the final poll of the 2008-09 season. Nevertheless, the Irish have appeared in the coaches' poll for a total of 190 weeks during their history (all coming during McGraw's tenure).
More Polling Data
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is one of 28 people in NCAA Division I women's basketball history who have both played for and coached a team that has appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Besides her 198 AP poll appearances while coaching at Notre Dame, McGraw was the starting point guard at Saint Joseph's (Pa.) as a senior in 1977, helping the Hawks rise to No. 3 in the nation.
Of the 28 people on this list, 15 currently are NCAA Division I head coaches (see accompanying chart), including former Irish point guard and assistant coach Coquese Washington ('92), who helped Notre Dame to its first-ever AP poll ranking in 1990-91, and is in her third season as head coach at Penn State, guiding the Lady Lions into the AP poll at No. 23 on Jan. 25, 2010.
Six of the 16 active coaches in this group -- including McGraw -- led their teams to this year's NCAA Championship, while McGraw and Baylor's Kim Mulkey are the only active skippers to play for and coach a team in the AP poll, and also coach that team to a national title (McGraw in 2001, Mulkey in 2005).
Game #1 Recap: New Hampshire
Junior forward Devereaux Peters had a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds in only 16 minutes, and No. 12 Notre Dame opened the season by cruising past New Hampshire 99-48 in a record-setting rout Friday.
On a day when Notre Dame honored former star Ruth Riley, retiring her 00 jersey, the Fighting Irish set school records by making 36 steals and forcing 49 turnovers.
Skylar Diggins, a sophomore guard from South Bend, paced the Fighting Irish on both ends of the floor as Notre Dame went to a tenacious full-court press early against the overmatched Wildcats.
Notre Dame was up by 16 less than 8 minutes in and held New Hampshire scoreless for 9:44 during a 28-0 run. Leading 47-9 with 3:41 left in the first half, the Fighting Irish called off the full-court pressure, but not after they had forced 26 Wildcats turnovers.
Noting The New Hampshire GameNotre Dame's 36 steals shattered the old school record of 29 thefts that was set twice before -- Feb. 9, 1985, against Xavier, and most recently on Jan. 31, 1991, at Saint Louis.
The Fighting Irish also broke a nearly 31-year-old school record by forcing 49 New Hampshire turnovers -- the previous record of 48 was set on Jan. 11, 1980, at the Huskie Invitational in DeKalb, Ill., during Notre Dame's final season as an AIAW Division III program (the Fighting Irish moved up to Division I for the 1980-81 campaign).
Notre Dame's 28 consecutive points in the first half were just three shy of the school record for the longest interrupted string of points, with the 31-0 record run occurring on Jan. 18, 1997, at Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish allowed just 12 UNH points in the first half, the fewest given up by Notre Dame in a single period since Dec. 13, 2003, when Dayton tallied just 11 points in a 78-41 Notre Dame win at Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish improve to 26-8 (.765) in season openers, stretching their current winning streak in lidlifters in 16 consecutive games (Notre Dame also is 21-3 in season openers during the 24-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw).
Friday's 51-point margin is the second-largest winning spread in a season opener in school history, topped only by a program-record 78-point margin of victory (113-35) in the 1989-90 season opener against Liberty (Nov. 24, 1989) at the UCF Rotary Classic in Orlando, Fla.
It's the second consecutive season in which Notre Dame won a game by at least 50 points, following last year's 90-31 win over Charlotte on Dec. 20, 2009, at Purcell Pavilion.
The Fighting Irish now are 26-8 in home openers and 20-4 under McGraw.
Notre Dame is 42-5 (.894) against first-time opponents since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96, with a 22-1 (.957) record since the start of the 2000-01 season and an active 17-game winning streak; New Hampshire was the first of seven first-time opponents on Notre Dame's schedule this season.
The Fighting Irish also now have won 20 consecutive home games against new opposition, dating back to Jan. 18, 1996.
Notre Dame moves to 3-0 all-time against the America East Conference, with its last two wins at Purcell Pavilion coming against members of that league (also an 84-66 win over tournament champion Vermont in the second round of last year's NCAA Championship).
Notre Dame has won 86 of its last 93 non-conference games at Purcell Pavilion.
Peters' previous career-high scoring night was 15 points, which she set twice before (most recently on March 1, 2010, against Connecticut at Purcell Pavilion).
Peters also set a career high with 11 made field goals (previous best was six, set on six different occasions, the last against St. John's in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on March 7, 2010, in Hartford, Conn.).
Peters is the first Notre Dame player to post a "point-a-minute" game with at least 10 minutes played since Dec. 12, 2009, when current senior guard Brittany Mallory tossed in a career-high 22 points in 20 minutes during an 88-47 win over Valparaiso at Purcell Pavilion.
Junior guard Natalie Novosel swiped a career-high seven steals, topping her previous best of five thefts, set twice before (most recently against Iona on Nov. 22, 2009).
All 13 players on the Notre Dame roster cracked the scoring column, including all three freshmen and both walk-ons, and no Fighting Irish player saw more than 23 minutes of action.
For the second consecutive game (counting the 102-30 exhibition win over Michigan Tech on Nov. 3), freshman guard Kayla McBride (a 2010 McDonald's High School All-American) netted the "Big Mac Basket," pushing Notre Dame to the 88-point mark and earning coupons for a free Big Mac for all 8,614 fans in attendance.
McGraw Is Simply Legendary
The announcement on July 10, 2010, may have made it official, but it really only confirmed what Notre Dame fans have known for a very long time -- head coach Muffet McGraw is a Hall of Famer.
McGraw, the 2001 consensus national coach of the year and winner of more than 600 games in her illustrious career, was one of six people -- and the lone coach -- named to the 2011 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class, as announced in Uncasville, Conn., during the "WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Game" that was televised live nationally on ESPN from Mohegan Sun Arena.
The others in McGraw's Hall of Fame class include former Olympic gold medalists Ruthie Bolton (Auburn) and Vicky Bullett (Maryland), as well as Val Ackerman, the first WNBA president (1996-2005) and first female president of USA Basketball (2005-08), and a pair of three-time All-America players from the pre-NCAA era, Pearl Moore (Frances Marion) and Lometa Odom (Wayland Baptist).
The '11 class offically will be introduced at the 2010 State Farm Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 16 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., when Connecticut and Baylor meet at 6 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. The group then will be enshrined June 10-12, 2011, during the 13th annual Induction Weekend at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.
McGraw becomes the first Notre Dame selection for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The Irish skipper also is the third BIG EAST Conference coach chosen for the honor, joining Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (2001) and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (2006) in that elite company. First-year Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan also was a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1999, going in primarily for her accomplishments as a player at Old Dominion.
McGraw also will be the ninth active college head coach to enter the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on the basis of her success on the sidelines. Besides Stringer and Auriemma, the others on this notable list are: Pat Summitt (1999 - Tennessee), Van Chancellor (2001 - LSU), Tara VanDerveer (2002 - Stanford), Sylvia Hatchell (2004 - North Carolina), Andy Landers (2007 - Georgia) and Debbie Ryan (2008 - Virginia).
Riley's Double Zero Goes To The Rafters
Ruth Riley, a three-time All-America center at Notre Dame and the 2001 consensus national player of the year, was inducted into Notre Dame's Ring of Honor on Nov. 12 during a pre-game ceremony before the Fighting Irish opened their 2010-11 season against New Hampshire at Purcell Pavilion.
A banner honoring Riley's number 00 was unveiled and now permanently hangs in the rafters of Purcell Pavilion, making her the first women's basketball player added to the Ring of Honor, and the second player overall following last spring's induction of men's basketball All-America forward Luke Harangody.
Beginning in 2010-11, the Notre Dame Athletics Department plans to honor annually additional former and present men's and women's basketball and volleyball players who have made distinguished and noteworthy contributions during their career while student-athletes at the University. A committee that will consist of Fighting Irish coaches and administrators will be formed to determine future inductees.
The only player in Notre Dame women's basketball history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds, Riley ranks as the program's all-time leader in seven categories, including rebounds (1,007), blocked shots (370 - fifth in NCAA history) and field goal percentage (.632 - 11th in NCAA history). What's more, the Macy, Ind., native ranks third in school history with 2,072 points, and holds the Fighting Irish single-game scoring record with 41 points in a January 1998 win over Providence. Riley also played a pivotal role in Notre Dame's run to the 2001 NCAA national championship, earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors after scoring 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the title game victory over Purdue, capped by her gamewinning free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining.
A 10-year WNBA veteran (the past four with the San Antonio Silver Stars), two-time WNBA champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Riley was back on campus with the other members of the 2001 championship team for ceremonies honoring the 10th anniversary of that milestone achievement in Notre Dame athletics history.
Half And Half
During the past decade, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Fighting Irish are 189-17 (.917) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 117 of their last 128 such contests.
Notre Dame led at the break in its season-opening win over New Hampshire, after doing the same in 25 games last season (earning victories each time).
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense...
During the past 16 seasons, Notre Dame has discovered that a solid defensive effort can almost certainly guarantee a victory. In fact, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season (Notre Dame's first in the BIG EAST Conference), the Fighting Irish have an amazing 209-15 (.933) record when they hold their opponents below 60 points in a game, including a victory in last Friday's season-opening win over New Hampshire.
...But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. During the past 16 seasons (since 1995-96), the Fighting Irish are 141-4 (.972) when they score at least 80 points in a game. The only blemishes on that record are a pair of overtime losses to Texas A&M (88-84) and Michigan State (87-83) in 1995, a 106-81 loss to Connecticut in 1998, and an 81-80 loss to DePaul in 2008.
In addition to this year's opener against New Hampshire, Notre Dame was 17-0 last season when it scored at least 80 points, including four games when it topped the 90-point mark.
Now That's A Home Court Advantage
One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame's success has been its stellar play at home. In fact, the Fighting Irish have been virtually untouchable at home in recent years, winning 190 of their last 215 games (.884) at the 9,149-seat Purcell Pavilion, including winning streaks of 51 and 25 games in that span. Notre Dame also has a 106-18 (.855) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the former Joyce Center, sporting a 31-game league winning streak at home before it ended with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the '02 home finale.
The Fighting Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 86 of their last 93 non-BIG EAST contests (.925) at Purcell Pavilion, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Five of the seven losses in that span came at the hands of Big Ten Conference opponents (four by 12 points or less) -- Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54), Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT), Indiana in 2006 (54-51) and Minnesota in 2009 (79-71) -- with the other two defeats coming to Tennessee in 2005 (62-51) and 2008 (87-63). The Purdue loss also snapped a 33-game non-conference home winning streak which began after the UW setback.
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the former Joyce Center, posting a 340-86 (.798) record at the venerable facility. Three times (1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04), the Fighting Irish went a perfect 15-0 at home, which was the school record for home victories in a season prior to last year, when Notre Dame went 16-1, capped by an 84-66 triumph over Vermont on March 23, 2010, in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Irish Are The Hottest Ticket In Town
The 2009-10 season saw an unprecedented surge in fan support for Notre Dame women's basketball, as the Fighting Irish set new program records for the highest year-end NCAA attendance ranking (fourth), highest average attendance (8,377 fans per game) and most sellouts (six) in a single season. And, as the old saying goes -- "you ain't seen nothin' yet."
For the second consecutive preseason, Notre Dame fans have all but exhausted the program's season ticket packages (close to 7,500) and are snapping up single-game ducats at a rate that will have the Fighting Irish challenging their freshly-minted single-season average attendance record in 2010-11.
Notre Dame wasted little time in getting started with that challenge, drawing 8,614 fans for its season opener against New Hampshire on Nov. 12.
Part of the appeal of Notre Dame women's basketball can be traced to the renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, which has yet another new feature this season with the addition of a four-sided LED video scoreboard high above center court, as well as LED auxiliary scoreboards above all four court-level entrance ramps and at the scorer's table.
Irish On Your Radio Dial
Beginning with the 2008-09 athletics year, the Notre Dame athletics department announced it had partnered with the LeSEA Broadcasting Network, making Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) the new radio home of Notre Dame women's basketball in the South Bend market.
LeSEA originates all Notre Dame women's basketball games, with those events carried on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), marking a return to the FM side of the dial for the first time since the 1998-99 season. Combined, these two stations blanket the nation's No. 91 media market (South Bend-Elkhart), covering a 21-county area in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan that contains more than 1.35 million listeners (better than 800,000 in the greater South Bend area alone). All told, Notre Dame's women's basketball network stretches from Kalamazoo, Mich., to the north, North Judson, Ind., to the west, Macy, Ind., (home of former Irish All-America center Ruth Riley) to the south, and LaGrange, Ind., to the east.
Women's basketball game broadcasts also continue to be streamed live and free of charge on Notre Dame's official athletics web site (www.UND.com) through the Fighting Irish All-Access multimedia package.
Bob Nagle, the voice of Notre Dame women's basketball from 1996-97 through 1998-99 (including the program's first NCAA Final Four berth in 1997), returns for his third season in his second stint as the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame On The Small Screen
Notre Dame will have at least 21 regular season games televised during the 2010-11 season. Highlighting this year's broadcast schedule are seven nationally- or regionally-televised Fighting Irish women's basketball contests, including the program's fourth-ever appearance on network television (Jan. 8 vs. Connecticut on CBS), two showings on the ESPN family of networks, and three others on CBS College Sports.
In addition, Notre Dame continues to expand its broadcast reach globally on the Internet. All Fighting Irish regular-season home games not selected for commercial TV coverage will be webcast live on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com, via the site's free multimedia package, Fighting Irish All-Access.
This year's TV slate continues an emerging trend that has seen the Fighting Irish become a regular fixture on television. Beginning with the NCAA championship season of 2000-01 and continuing through last Friday's New Hampshire contest, Notre Dame has played in 168 televised games, including 114 that were broadcast nationally.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Senior forward Becca Bruszewski and senior guard Brittany Mallory will serve as Notre Dame's team captains for the 2010-11 season. Both players received the captain's honor for the first time in their respective careers following a vote of their teammates prior to the season.
And Two Makes A Baker's Dozen
Notre Dame has added two walk-on players to its 2010-11 roster, with both earning their way onto the squad through preseason workouts.
Junior guard Veronica Badway (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was a standout prep player at Fox Chapel Area High School, averaging 9.0 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game as a senior in 2007-08, leading the team to its first section title in the program's 24-year history.
Badway currently is enrolled in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business as an accounting major. She has made the dean's list each semester at Notre Dame and was a recipient of Notre Dame's Accountancy Excellence Scholarship.
Senior forward Mary Forr (Altoona, Pa.) has been a member of the Fighting Irish practice squad off and on for the past three seasons, following a successful career at Bishop Guilfoyle High School. As a senior in 2006-07, she earned first-team all-state honors after averaging 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and helping BGHS to a 30-1 record and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class A state title.
Forr presently is enrolled in Notre Dame's College of Arts & Letters, where she is pursuing a double major in political science and philosophy. She also is active with the St. Joseph County chapter of the Special Olympics.
Next Game: UCLA
Notre Dame wraps up its season-opening three-game homestand on Thursday when it welcomes No. 16/15 UCLA to Purcell Pavilion for a 7 p.m. (ET) contest. The game is part of the inaugural Super Six Series, which pairs 12 teams (two from each of the top six RPI conferences) in a series of high-quality early-season matchups.
UCLA (2-0) is coming off a trip to the second round of the NCAA Championship in 2009-10. The Bruins bring back four starters and nine letterwinners from that team and have opened this year with a pair of victories, taking down in-state rivals San Diego State (55-48) and UC Santa Barbara (66-52) during the first weekend of the season.
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