Dec. 10, 1999
Michigan State (7-0) at No. 7/6 Notre Dame (4-2)
TODAY'S GAME -- Notre Dame (4-2) will look to rebound from its road loss (71-61) at Purdue on Wednesday night when the Irish host the unbeaten Michigan State Spartans (7-0). Today's game is the 10th meeting betwen the two schools with Michigan State leading the series 6-3. The Irish currently are seventh in the Associated Press and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today polls, while the Spartans are unranked.
Notre Dame snapped a three-game losing streak to the Michigan State in East Lansing, MIch., with a 75-64 win last year. The Spartans are 3-1 against the Irish at the Joyce Center.
The Irish moved up four spots from 11th to seventh in the Associated Press ranking. Notre Dame was out of the top 10 last week for the first time since the November 16, 1998 poll. The Irish had been ranked up until that point a school-record 19 consecutive weeks in the top 10. Notre Dame moved up two places to sixth from eighth in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
Today's game is only the second home game in seven outings for the Irish. Notre Dame will have a one-week hiatus with the beginning of final exams on Monday. The next game for Coach Muffet McGraw's squad will be at the Orange Bowl Women's Basketball Fab Four in Miami, Fla., as the Irish face Florida International on Sunday, December 19 at 4:00 p.m.
Notre Dame Probable Starting Lineup
No. Name Hometown Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG 32 Julie Henderson*** Ann Arbor, MI F/C 6-3 Sr. 4.2 3.5 00 Ruth Riley** Macy, IN C 6-5 Jr. 14.2 5.3 22 Alicia Ratay Lake Zurich, IL G 5-11 Fr. 16.8 4.7 33 Niele Ivey** St. Louis, MO G 5-8 Sr. 12.7 3.5 41 Imani Dunbar** San Angelo, TX G 5-7 Jr. 1.0 1.3
Off The Bench
3 Ericka Haney* Toledo, OH G/F 6-1 So. 10.7 5.2 11 Karen Swanson Westlake, OH G 5-7 Fr. 0.2 0.5 12 Danielle Green*** Chicago, IL G 5-8 Sr. 10.0 3.3 23 Monique Hernandez Rio Rancho, NM G 5-9 Fr. 2.2 1.3 31 Amanda Barksdale Friendswood, TX F 6-3 Fr. 0.0 0.5 44 Meaghan Leahy* Wilbraham, MA F 6-4 So. 3.7 4.0 50 Kelley Siemon** Edina, MN F 6-2 Jr. 5.7 4.2
Notre Dame 75, Michigan State 64
FG Pct: Notre Dame 39.7, Michigan State 41.8, 3-PT. FG Pct: Notre Dame 17.6, Michigan State 45.5, FT Pct.: Notre Dame 69.2, Michigan State 68.4 Three-point goals: ND 4, Michigan State 5, Turnovers: Notre Dame 19, Michigan State 19, Blocked Shots: Notre Dame 5, Michigan State 5, Steals: Notre Dame 6, Michigan State 7, Attendance: 1,386.
Michigan State leads 6-3
Current Win Steak: Notre Dame, 1 game
1999-2000 BIG EAST Coaches' Preseason Poll
Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team: Svetlana Abrosimova (Connecticut), Tasha Pointer (Rutgers), Shea Ralph (Connecticut), Ruth Riley (Notre Dame), Shawnetta Stewart (Rutgers)
Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team: Niele Ivey (Notre Dame), Alissa Murphy (Boston College), Katie Smrcka-Duffy (Georgetown), Tammy Sutton-Brown (Rutgers), Tamika Williams (Connecticut)
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year: Svetlana Abrosimova (Connecticut)
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year: Kennitra Johnson (Connecticut)
BABY RUTH DAY
The Notre Dame-Michigan State game on Saturday, December 11at 2:00 p.m. has been designated "Baby Ruth Day." The first 3,000 fans at the game will receive a Baby Ruth candy bar. During halftime, fans will have the opportunity to win a year's supply of the product. Throughout the entire season, Baby Ruth candy bars will be thrown into the stands following every blocked shot by the Irish.
PURDUE REVIEW - Notre Dame lost to a Big Ten team on road for the second time this season as the Irish dropped a 71-61 decision to defending national champion Purdue. Katie Douglas led three Boilermakers in double figures as she scored a game-high 21 points. Trailing by just one on the intermission (31-30), the Irish were outscored 40-31 in the second half. With 10:17 remaining and the game tied 48-48, the host Boilermakders used a 12-2 run over a four-minute span to break the game open late in the contest. Niele Ivey tied a season-best with 17 points to lead the Irish as she connected on six-of-nine shots from the field, including a five-for-eight performance from three-point range. She played the entire 40 minutes of the contest. Ruth Riley finished with 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while Ericka Haney also was in double figures with 10 points. Julie Henderson tied Riley for game-high rebounding honors with a season-high eight boards.
Notre Dame shot 44.9 percent from the field while holding the Boilermakers to just 40.0 percent. The Irish were outrebounded for the second straight game (35-29) and committed 24 turnovers in the game. Purdue went to the foul line 14 more times than the Irish as the Boilermakers converted 80 percent of their chances (24-30).
IRISH CAPTURE WACHOVIA WOMEN'S INVITATIONAL - Notre Dame captured the Wachovia Women's Invitational tournament in Richmond, Va., as the Irish beat North Carolina and Liberty in the seventh annual event. The tournament is recognized as one of the most prestigious in-season events.
Junior center Ruth Riley was named MVP of the tournament in addition to being selected along with freshman Alicia Ratay to the all-tournament team. Riley scored 32 points (the third 30-point performance of her career) against Liberty in the championship game as she connected on 12-of-14 shots from the field and was a perfect eight-for-eight from the free throw line. In addition, she hasd seven rebounds and two blocked shots in 29 minutes of action. Against North Carolina, she registered 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots in 28 minutes. For the tournament she averaged 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots. Riley also was 17-of-22 (.773) from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Ratay had the first 30-point performance of her career, and second-ever by a Notre Dame freshman, when she tossed in 32 points on a 12-for-15 shooting performance against North Carolina. The Irish rookie also hit six-of-eight from three-point range. In the championship tilt, she was the only other Notre Dame player in double figures as she netted 17 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished off five assists playing a season-high 36 minutes. For the tournament, she averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals. Ratay shot 18-of-25 (.720) percent from the field and was seven-for-11 (.636) from three-point range.
POLL WATCHING- Notre Dame is ranked eighth in the Associated Press poll and sixth in the ESPN/USA Today ranking. Notre Dame slipped out of the top 10 of the AP poll for the first time since Nov. 16, 1998 last week as the Irish were 11th after being ranked a school-record 19 straight weeks. Coach Muffet McGraw's squad has now been ranked 21 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the ESPN/USA Today ranking. Notre Dame has earned a top 25 ranking for 24 consecutive weeks, which ties the school record for consecutive weeks ranked set from February 5, 1996 thru March 10, 1997.
HEAD COACH MUFFET McGRAW - Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is in her 13th season with the Irish and 17th as a collegiate coach. She has guided Notre Dame to four straight NCAA tournament appearances and six overall. McGraw led the Irish to the 1997 Final Four as her team claimed the East Regional championship. In 1998, McGraw's squad finished with a 22-10 mark and advanced to the Sweet 16. In 12-plus seasons at Notre Dame, she has a record of 265-112 (.703), and in 17-plus campaigns overall, her teams have registered a 353-153 (.698) ledger. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, she spent five seasons at Lehigh where she compiled an 88-41 record for a .683 winning percentage. Last season, McGraw, after guiding the Irish to their sixth consecutive 20-win season, was named as a finalist for the Naismith Women's Basketball and Associated Press coach-of-the-year awards.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER MAGAZINE TO FOLLOW IRISH ALL SEASON - Annette John-Hall, a feature writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer will be following head coach Muffet McGraw, a native of Pottsville, Pa., and the Irish all season long and feature them in the magazine section of that publication. She will file stories throughout the season on McGraw and her squad. Hall has already written two features introducing the team to the readership. The third installment will be released sometime in the upcoming week.
IRISH IN THE JOYCE CENTER - Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the Joyce Center. The Irish own a 197-65 mark for a .752 winning percentage since its first season. Last season, Notre Dame won a school-record 12 games at home en route to a 12-1 home mark.
SERIES RECORD VERSUS MICHIGAN STATE - Michigan State leads the series 6-3 and has won three of the last four meetings between the two teams. Notre Dame snapped its three-game losing streak to the Spartans last season in East Lansing, Mich., with a 75-64 win. Michigan State is 3-1 against the Irish in games at the Joyce Center.
RILEY, RATAY COP BIG EAST HONORS - Ruth Riley was named co-BIG EAST Player of the Week and Alicia Ratay was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week after leading the Irish to three wins last week. Riley, who earns the honor for the fourth time in her career, averaged 19.3 ponts, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 blocked shots. She also shot 77.4 percent of her shots from the field as she connected on 24-of-31 from the field. Riley, who led the nation in field goal percentage a year ago, has connected on 31-of-42 field goal attempts this season. Ratay, the team's leading scorer with a 14.8 points per game average, averaged 21.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 71.0 percent from the field (22-31).
RILEY NEARLY PERFECT FROM THE LINE - While the Irish have struggled as a team from the free throw line this season, Ruth Riley has missed just twice and is 17-of-19 from the line (.895). Heading into the game against Purdue, Riley had made all 12 of her free throw attempts on the season. She hit her first three attempts, but missed for the first time on her 16th attempt. In the game, she was five-for-seven from the line. Riley was a perfect eight-for-eight from the field against Liberty in the championship game of the Wachovia Women's Basketball Invitational.
HOT STUFF - As a team, Notre Dame has hit 50.9 percent (171-336) of its shots from the field. That number has been helped by the squad's last four games as the Irish have connected on a blistering 54.3 percent connecting on 119-of-219 field goal attempts in those contests. In the three previous games leading up to Wednesday night's game at Purdue in which the Irish shot 44.9 percent, Notre Dame had shot 51.8 percent in its 77-57 win against Butler and a combined 59.4 percent (68-114) in the two games at the Wachovia Invitational. Against North Carolina in their 99-86 win, the Irish hit 57.1 percent from the field, including a blistering 71.4 percent in the second half as they missed just eight just, making 20-of-28 field goal attempts. Notre Dame was on fire again in the championship game against Liberty as it hit 62.7 percent of its shots (32-51). The Irish hit better than 60-percent of their shots in both halves of those contests.
RILEY NOTCHES THIRD 30-POINT PERFORMANCE - Ruth Riley's 32-point performance in the championship game of the Wachovia Women's Invitational marked the third time in her career that she scored better than 30 points in a game. Riley's had two 30-plus efforts last season, both against Providence College, as she scored 36 and a school-record 41.
A ROOKIE RARITY - Alicia Ratay's 32-point performance against North Carolina was the first 30-point outing of her brief career and marked just the second time an Irish freshman has scored better than 30 points in a game. The only other Notre Dame rookie to record a 30-point performance was Michelle Marciniak as she scored 33 versus Georgia in a 90-86 loss on December 8, 1991.
RILEY NAMED FINALIST FOR NAISMITH PLAYER OF THE YEAR - On everyone's preseason All-America teams, Ruth Riley, a third-team Associated Press All-America selection in 1999, is one of 10 finalists for the 1999-2000 Naismith Women's Basketball Player of the Year Award which is presented by the Atlanta Tip-off Club. Riley and the nine other candidates were selected by a vote of the Board of Selectors comprised of leading college basketball coaches, journalists and basketball analysts. She is the first Notre Dame women's basketball player to be named a finalist for the award, which was first presented in 1983. The nine other finalists include: Svetlana Abrosimova (Connecticut), Edwina Brown (Texas), Tamika Catchings (Tennessee), Tamicha Jackson (Louisiana Tech), Maylana Martin (UCLA), Kelly Miller (Georgia), Lynn Pride (Kansas), Semeka Randall (Tennessee) and Nikki Teasley (North Carolina).
RILEY RECORDS 500 REBOUNDS - Ruth Riley grabbed her 500th career rebound against Butler on December 1 and is now 11th on the all-time career rebounding list with 525 boards. Riley, who has played in 69 career games, has a 7.6 career rebounding average.
TWO NOTCH DOUBLE DOUBLES - Ericka Haney recorded her first career double-double as she had personal bests of 18 points and 14 rebounds against North Carolina. Senior Niele Ivey has her first double-double of the season when she scored 17 points and dished off a career-high 13 assists versus the Tar Heels, which also marked a tournament record at the Wachovia Women's Invitational Tournament.
TWO MORE READY TO JOIN 1,000-POINT CLUB - Senior Danielle Green and junior Ruth Riley will likely join 14 former Notre Dame women's basketball players who have reached the 1,000-point mark in their careers. Riley, with 967 career points, needs just 33 points to become the 15th Irish women's basketball player to reach the 1,000-point mark. In 69 career games, she has a 14.0 career scoring average. Riley topped the 500-point mark last season as she scored 514 points for a 16.6 point-per-game scoring average. Green, who was granted a fifth year after sitting out the entire 1996-97 season with a torn Achilles' tendon, has 798 points. She scored just 30 points in 27 games during her freshman year in 1995-96, but has come back each of the last two seasons to average in double figures. Green scored 306 points for a 10.2 scoring average in 1997-98 and tossed in 432 points for a 14.4 points-per-game average a year ago.
IRISH IN THE NCAA STATISTICS
Ruth Riley - Field Goal Pct. (2nd) Blocked Shots (7th) Team - Field Goal Pct. (3rd)
NON-CONFERENCE LOSSES A RARITY - Notre Dame's recent loss to Purdue on Wednesday night marks just the second loss the Irish have suffered to a non-conference opponent in two seasons. The Irish were a perfect 8-0 against non-conference teams during the 1998-99 regular season. When Notre Dame lost to Illinois on November 27, it marked the first regular season loss to a non-conference opponent in 12 games. Heading into its matchup with the Illini, Notre Dame's last non-conference regular-season loss was to Wisconsin (89-77) on December 8, 1997.
NOTRE DAME TO TAKE ON 10 NCAA TOURNAMENT FOES - The 1999-2000 Notre Dame women's basketball slate features 10 teams which last season participated in the 64-team 1999 NCAA tournament field. Notre Dame has already played Toledo, Illinois, North Carolina, Liberty and Purdue with six other tourney teams on the slate: Boston College (Feb. 5), Connecticut (Feb. 26), Florida International (Dec. 19), Marquette (Jan. 2), Rutgers (Feb. 19) and Toledo (Nov. 20).
BIG EAST DEBUTS 16-GAME SLATE - The BIG EAST Conference will begin its 16-game league schedule this season. That's a change from the 18-game format which had been in existence since the league expanded to 13 teams in 1995-96. In 1999-2000, Notre Dame will play Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Miami and St. John's twice and has single games against West Virginia, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Providence, Villanova, Rutgers and Connecticut.
RATAY NETS 18 IN DEBUT - Freshman guard Alicia Ratay, a first-team Parade High School All-American, scored 18 points in her collegiate debut. It was the most by an Irish rookie in her first college game since Michelle Marciniak scored 16 points in an 86-70 loss to Penn State on November 22, 1991. Ratay's five field goals were all from three-point range as she hit five-of-eight field goals from beyond the arc.
RILEY HELPS USA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CAPTURE SILVER MEDAL - Ruth Riley was one of 12 players selected to the 1999 World University Games Team. She and 1999 graduate Sheila McMillen (now an assistant coach at Western Michigan) were among the 44 players invited to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the five-day tryout. The team, coached by Penn State's Rene Portland, took home the silver medal after posting a 4-2 mark in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, site of the basketball competition. Riley appeared in all nine games with the USA and started five of those contests and was the team's third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder as she averaged 9.3 points and 5.2 rebounds, with a .630 field-goal percentage. At a tournament in Madrid Spain prior to the start of the World University Games, the USA Women's Basketball squad posted a 3-0 mark and captured first-place. During those three games, she averaged 7.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. This was Riley's second stint with the USA Women's basketball program. In the summer of 1998, she was a member of the USA Women's Basketball Select Team.
SIEMON TOURS WITH BIG EAST TEAM - Junior Kelley Siemon averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in helping the BIG EAST/Nike Women's Basketball All-Stars to a 4-1 record in a '99 summer tour of Belgium and Germany. Siemon scored 14 points in the win over Aalst (Division) and had seven points and eight rebounds in a win over the Belgian Junior National Team. The team was coached by Boston College's Cathy Inglese.
THERE'S A NEW KID ON THE BLOCK - Coquese Washington, who played for Notre Dame from 1989-93, has joined head coach Muffet McGraw's coaching staff this season as an assistant coach. She replaces Letitia Bowen who has become the administrative assistant to the women's basketball program while attending graduate school. Washington, the Notre Dame record holder for steals (307) and steals average (2.7), has played professionally the last three years. During the summers of 1998 and 1999, she has been a member of the Women's National Basketball Association's (WNBA) New York Liberty. This past season, her Liberty advanced to the finals of the WNBA Championship. The 5-6 guard, who led the Irish in steals all four seasons she was at Notre Dame, spent the 1996-97 season on the roster of the Portland Power franchise of the now defunct American Basketball League (ABL).
IRISH SIGN TWO - Notre Dame signed two players listed among the top 40 prep players in the country during the early signing period. Jeneka Joyce, a 5-9 shooting guard from Topeka, Kan., and Le'Tania Severe, a 5-9 point guard from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., were rated 26th and 40th, respectively, by Blue Star Basketball.
PRESEASON HONORS FOR RILEY - The name Ruth Riley appears on preseason All-America teams of several publications. Notre Dame also is ranked in the polls of every preseason publication.
Street & Smith's: Ruth Riley - High Honorable, Notre Dame Mention, Notre Dame - 7th
Athlon College Basketball: Notre Dame - 8th
Basketball News: Notre Dame - 8th
Women's Basketball News Service: Ruth Riley - Second Team, Alicia Ratay - All-Freshman Third Team, Notre Dame - 9th
Women's Basketball Journal: Ruth Riley - Second Team, Notre Dame - 25th
QUICK PLAYER BIOS:
Irish All-Time vs. 1999-2000 Opponents
1999-2000 BIG EAST STANDINGS (through games of Feb. 20)
1999-2000 BIG EAST WEEKLY AWARDS
Player of the Week:
Rookie of the Week: