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    FIGHTING IRISH Ruth Riley is one of 10 finalists for the 1999-2000 Naismith Women's Basketball Player of the Year Award.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Ruth Riley is one of 10 finalists for the 1999-2000 Naismith Women's Basketball Player of the Year Award.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Dec. 26, 1999

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. Monday's Game -- Notre Dame (6-2) returns to action for the first time in eight days as the Irish begin a four-game homestand this evening when they host the USC Women of Troy (5-3). Coach Muffet McGraw's squad, which starts its longest homestand of the season, has played only two home games in its first eight outings. Notre Dame last played on December 19 in Miami, Fla., as the Irish defeated Florida International 68-62 in the Orange Bowl Women's Basketball Fab Four. The Irish currently are 12th in the Associated Press and eighth in the ESPN/USA Today rankings this week.

    Notre Dame is out of the top 10 of the AP poll for just the third time in the last 23 polls, the Irish have been ranked in the top 10 20 weeks, including a school-record 19 consecutive weeks. McGraw's squad was in the top 10 of every poll from November 16,1998 thru November 29, 1999. Notre Dame has been in the top 10 of the ESPN/USA Today ranking for 23 consecutive weeks.

    The Irish are not on the road again until Saturday, January 8 when they travel to Washington, D.C., to face the Georgetown Hoyas at 12:00 p.m.

    FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL REVIEW
    - For the second time this season, freshman guard Alicia Ratay led the Irish in scoring as she tossed in a game-high 27 points to lead the Irish to a 68-62 win over the Panthers in the Orange Bowl Women's Basketball. Ratay, who also had five rebounds and a personal best five steals in 39 minutes, was named MVP of the game. She shot nine-of-15 from field, including a five-of-seven performance from three-point range. With 2:43 to play in the game, and the score tied 57-57, Ratay scored five points in 38 seconds as she hit a three-pointer and then made a steal and layup to secure the win for the Irish.

    Junior All-America center Ruth Riley scored 20 points and collected a season-high nine rebounds in 35 minutes. Senior guard Danielle Green was the only other Irish player in double figures as she came off the bench to score 10 points.

    The Irish shot 50.0 percent from the field for the game, while limiting the Panthers to just 40.0 accuracy. FIU held a decisive rebounding advantage on the boards outrebounding Notre Dame 41-28.

    Notre Dame Probable Starting Lineup

    No.NameHometownPos.Ht.Cl.PPGRPG
    32Julie HendersonAnn Arbor, MIF/C6-3Sr.4.44.0
    00Ruth RileyMacy, IN C6-5Jr.15.45.5
    3Ericka HaneyToledo, OHG/F6-1So.10.04.9
    22Alicia RatayLake Zurich, ILG5-11Fr.16.54.9
    33Niele Ivey St. Louis, MOG5-8Sr.11.53.8

    Off The Bench

    11Karen SwansonWestlake, OHG5-7Fr.0.20.4
    12Danielle GreenChicago, ILG5-8Sr.9.62.4
    23Monique HernandezRio Rancho, NMG5-9Fr.2.11.1
    31Amanda BarksdaleFriendswood, TXF6-3Fr.0.60.4
    41Imani DunbarSan Angelo, TXG5-7Jr.1.11.4
    44Meaghan LeahyWilbraham, MAF6-4So.3.13.6
    50Kelley SiemonEdina, MNF6-2Jr.5.63.6

    RATAY GARNERS BIG EAST HONORS AGAIN
    - Irish freshman Alicia Ratay was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week for the second time this season last week. The 5-11 guard was honored for her performance against Florida International at the Orange Bowl Women's Basketball Fab Four. She scored game-high 27 points in helping the Irish claim a 68-62 victory over the Panthers on December 19. Ratay, who tops the team in the scoring column with 16.5 ppg., has been the team's leading scorer in four games this season. Against FIU, she connected on nine-of-15 field goals from the field and was five-for-seven from three-point range. Ratay also grabbed five rebounds and made a season-high five steals while playing a season-best 39 minutes. For her efforts, she also was named MVP of the game.

    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 had 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 12th in the Associated Press poll and eighth in the ESPN/USA Today ranking this week. Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll 20 of 23 weeks. The Irish slipped out of the top 10 (after a school-record 19 consecutive weeks there) on November 29. Prior to that, Notre Dame had held a spot in the top 10 of every poll dating back to November 16, 1998. Coach Muffet McGraw's squad has now been ranked 23 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the ESPN/USA Today ranking. Notre Dame has earned a top 25 ranking for school-record 26 consecutive weeks, breaking the old mark of 24 weeks 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 267-112 (.704), and in 17-plus campaigns overall, her teams have registered a 355-153 (.699) 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 three features thus far with the fourth installment scheduled for sometime in mid-January.

    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 198-65 mark for a .753 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 USC
    - The two teams have met just once previously. USC won the only meeting between the two teams, 69-53, on January 2, 1985 in Fullerton, Calif.

    RILEY REACHES 1,000-POINT
    - Junior center Ruth Riley became the 15th player in Notre Dame women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Riley reached the mark in the first half of Notre Dame's win over Florida International. The 6-5 Macy, Ind., native has 1,005 career points in 71 career games for a 14.2 career scoring average.

    HANEY STEPPING UP
    - Sophomore Ericka Haney, who has started four games for the Irish this season, is averaging double figures in scoring (10.0 ppg.) and is averaging 4.9 rpg. Haney had 14 points and seven rebounds in Notre Dame's win over Michigan State on December 11. She has scored in double figures in five games and recorded career-highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds in a win over North Carolina for her first career double double. Haney is shooting 46.3 percent from the field as she has converted 38-of-82 field goal attempts.

    RILEY NEARLY PERFECT FROM THE LIN
    E - While the Irish have struggled as a team from the free throw line this season, Ruth Riley has missed just three times and is 19-of-22 from the line (.864). Heading into the game against Purdue on December 8, Riley had made all 12 of her free throw attempts on the season. She hit her first three attempts in the contest, 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 51.1 percent (233-456) of its shots from the field. That number has been helped by the squad's last six games as the Irish have connected on a blistering 53.4 percent connecting on 181-of-339 field goal attempts in those contests. In five of Notre Dame's last six games, the Irish have shot better 50 percent or better from the field.

    DOUBLE DIPPER
    - Guard Niele Ivey had her second double double of the season when she scored 14 points and dished off 11 assists against Michigan State. It marked the sixth double double of her career and the sixth time in which she has dished off 10 or more assists in a game. Ivey leads the team with 51 assists for a 6.38 average.

    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 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. In 70 career games, Riley has a 7.5 rebounding average.

    NON-CONFERENCE LOSSES A RARITY
    - Notre Dame's recent loss to Purdue marked just the second loss the Irish had suffered to a non-conference opponent in two seasons. The Irish were a perfect 8-0 against non-conference foes 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, Purdue and Florida International with five other tourney teams on the slate: Boston College (Feb. 5), Connecticut (Feb. 26), 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:

    Amanda Barksdale has seen action in all eight contests she scored her first career points against Michigan State when she made two of her three field goal attempts for four points.

    Imani Dunbar earned starts against Butler, North Carolina, Liberty and Purdue earned first career start versus the Bulldogs in that game, she dished off a personal best five assists in the game while playing a career-high 22 minutes provided a spark off the bench against Toledo as she played nine minutes and had career-highs of four rebounds and four assists.

    Danielle Green came off the bench to score a season-high 16 points and grab seven rebounds in season opener at Toledo returned to the Irish lineup against Purdue after serving a three-game suspension following the Illinois game (a game which she started) averaging 9.6 points and 2.4 rebounds.

    Ericka Haney has started four games this season with most recent coming against Florida International earned starts in the first two games of the season first career start came against Toledo in the season opener has scored in double figures in five games recorded first career double-double with personal bests of 18 points and 14 rebounds against North Carolina tallied a season-high 11 points against Butler and also added five rebounds and three assists in the game scored 10 points in her first collegiate start in the season opener at Toledo averaging 10.0 points and 4.9 rebounds.

    Julie Henderson has been in the Irish starting lineup the last six games after coming off the bench in the first two contests of the season has had season-highs of six points in three games this season versus North Carolina, Liberty and Michigan State grabbed a season-high eight rebounds against Purdue, one shy of her career best had four rebounds against the Tar Heels, five versus Florida International and and six versus the Spartans averaging 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds.

    Monique Hernandez played in the first seven games of the season played a season-high 15 minutes in both the Butler and North Carolina contests scored four points and grabbed four rebounds against Butler.

    Niele Ivey has started all eight games and is averaging 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.38 assists has registered two double-doubles, most recent was against Michigan State in which she scored 14 points and dished off 11 assists (the sixth double-doubel of her career) had first double-double of the season with a season-high 17 points and career-best 13 assists versus North Carolina in the Wachovia Women's Invitational Tournament the 13 assists in the game also marked a tournament record has scored in double figures in five games this season.

    Meaghan Leahy has come off the bench for the Irish in all eight games averaging 3.1 points and 3.6 rebounds had a career-high nine points and tied her personal best with nine rebounds while playing 24 minutes (also a career-high) against Butler scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds in 18 minutes of action against Illinois grabbed five rebounds against Michigan State and dished off a career-high four assists.

    Alicia Ratay is the leading scorer on the team averaging 16.5 ppg. named game MVP at the Orange Bowl Women's Basketball Four Four against Florida International scored 27 points, grabbed five rebounds and made five steals (personal best) in the contest while playing a season-high 39 minutes against the Panthers turned in only the second 30-point performance by an Irish rookie when she scored 32 points against North Carolina scored in double figures in five games and been the team's leading scorer in four contests in her collegiate debut, scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action it was the most points by an Irish rookie in a season opener since 1991 tallied 16 points and dished off seven assists against Butler has twice earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors for the week of December 6 and was selected to the all-tournament team at the Wachovia Women's Invitational Tournament.

    Karen Swanson is a walk-on freshman who has played in five games.

    Ruth Riley has been in double figures scoring in seven of eight games was plagued by foul trouble in the first two games of the season and played only 28 minutes in those outings had the third 30-plus outing of her career when she scored 32 points against Liberty in the championship game of the Wachovia Women's Basketball Invitational averaging 15.4 points and a team-leading 5.5 rebounds scored her 1,000th career point against Florida International and finished with 20 for the game on nine-for-11 shooting from the field grabbed her 500th rebound against Butler had a season-high nine rebounds against Florida International hauled in eight rebounds versus Purdue blocked a season-high seven shots versus Butler was the only player in double figures against Illinois with 16 points in 18 minutes of action played only 10 minutes in the season opener at Toledo because of foul trouble held scoreless in the contest for the first time in 64 career games scored 18 points and blocked six shots versus Michigan State.

    Kelley Siemon has come off the bench in Notre Dame's last five games after starting the season opener against Toledo scored a season-high 12 points and grabbed five rebounds against North Carolina had a season-high seven rebounds against Toledo has fouled out in two games averaging 5.6 points and 3.6 rebounds.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    (Week of Dec. 20)

    LW
    1.Connecticut1
    2.Tennessee2
    3.Louisiana Tech3
    4.North Carolina State4
    5. Georgia5
    6. UCLA6
    7.Texas Tech7
    8.Auburn8
    9.Penn State9
    10.North Carolina10
    11.Purdue12
    12. NOTRE DAME11
    13. LSU13
    14.Arizona17
    15.Rutgers16
    16.Iowa State14
    17.Duke18
    18.Illinois19
    19.Oregon15
    20.Old Dominion21
    21. Mississippi State22
    22.UC Santa Barbara23
    23.Kanas 20
    24Tulane24
    25.Texas25

    ESPN/USA TODAY
    (Week of Dec. 20)

    LW
    1.Connecticut1
    2.Tennessee2
    3.Louisiana Tech3
    4.North Carolina State4
    5.Georgia5
    6.Penn State6
    7.Texas Tech8
    8.Notre Dame7
    9.UCLA8
    10.Auburn10
    11.North Carolina11
    12.Purdue12
    13.Iowa State12
    14Arizona16
    15.Duke15
    16.Rutgers17
    17.LSU21
    18.Oregon14
    19.Old Dominion19
    20.Illinois20
    21.UC Santa Barbara22
    22.Kansas18
    23.Mississippi State23
    24.Tulane24
    25.Boston College25

    Irish All-Time vs. 1999-2000 Opponents

    TeamRecord
    Boston College4-3
    Butler19-6
    Connecticut0-10
    Florida International1-0
    Georgetown11-1
    Illinois1-4
    Liberty2-0
    Marquette20-4
    Miami7-2
    Michigan State4-6
    North Carolina1-0
    Pittsburgh6-0
    Providence6-0
    Purdue2-9
    Richmond1-0
    Rutgers5-6
    St. John's7-0
    Seton Hall7-2
    Syracuse10-1
    Toledo3-2
    USC1-0
    Valparaiso12-0
    Villanova9-3
    West Virginia6-0
    Total145-59 (.711)

    NOTRE DAME POLL WATCHING

    DateAPESPN/USA Today
    Nov. 1579
    Nov. 2266
    Nov. 29118
    Dec. 676
    Dec. 13117
    Dec. 20128


     

     

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