Nov. 19, 1999
By TOM CASTRO
AP MegaSports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- With four returning starters, Notre Dame earned the No. 7 ranking in the
Associated Press Preseason Top 25. Those four are also the top scorers, giving
the Irish a fighting chance to improve upon that ranking by season's end.
Notre Dame, which opens its season Saturday at Toledo, went 26-5 last season
and won 17 of its last 20 games.
"Winning a national championship is every team's goal going into the
season. It's one of ours," junior center Ruth Riley said. "We have been
plagued by injuries in the past, but we have been focused on what we want to
accomplish this season. Winning the national championship is one of those
Every team is optimistic before the season, but with a strong returning
lineup, Notre Dame's excitement is well founded. Riley averaged 16.6 rebounds
and 8.4 rebounds per game, blocked a school-record 101 shots and set an NCAA
record by shooting 68.3 from the field.
Senior guard Danielle Green averaged 14.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game,
and forward Kelley Siemon averaged 5.8 points and 5.0 rebounds as a sophomore.
Notre Dame also will benefit from the return of senior point guard Niele
Ivey, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the semifinals of the Big East
tournament and missed the postseason.
Toledo is coming off an outstanding 25-6 season. But the Rockets were hit
hard by graduation, losing key players Leslie Favre, Kristen Tews and Kim
Knuth. The Rockets will miss Knuth, the Mid-American Conference all-time leader
in points with 2,509 and steals with 368.
Toledo is counting on the continued development of returning senior starters
Jennifer Markwood and Karin Husbeck. Markwood averaged 10.5 points and 8.1
rebounds last season, while Husbeck averaged 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds.
Seniors Adriane Bryant and Tara Overaitis and sophomore Courtney Risinger
are expected to move into the starting lineup.