Dec. 29, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame women's basketball team, winners of three straight, plays the second of four consecutive home games as the Irish, 7-2, host Valparaiso (6-3) in the final home game of 1999. Coach Muffet McGraw's Irish matched its longest win streak of the season with a 74-59 victory against Southern California on Monday night. Valparaiso enters this evening's contest having won five straight as the Crusaders have not lost since suffering a 57-50 setback to Wisconsin-Milwaukee on November 27. A win tonight would mark the 200th victory for the Irish at the Joyce Center since the inaugural campaign in 1977-78.
This is the 13th meeting between the two schools as the Irish hold a 12-0 advantage in the series. The two teams last played during the 1996-97 campaign. Notre Dame has hosted the Crusaders six times at the Joyce Center. The last time the two teams played at the Joyce Center (December 17, 1995), the Irish came away with a 90-44 victory.
Notre Dame is in the top 10 of both the Associated Press and USA Today rankings as the Irish are 10th and eighth, respectively. The Irish have been ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll 21 of the past 24 weeks, including a school-record 19 consecutive weeks from November 16, 1998 thru November 29, 1999. Notre Dame has been in the top 10 of the ESPN/USA Today Poll for 24 straight weeks.
The Irish continue their homestand on Sunday, January 2 when they play host to Marquette at 1:00 p.m.
USC REVIEW - A 14-8 run to start the second half keyed a second-half outburst which saw the Irish outscore the Women of Troy 40-27 as Notre Dame won its third straight in the 74-59 victory over USC. Freshman Alicia Ratay led three Irish players in double figures as she hit six-of-10 shots from the field, including four-of-five from three-point range. Ruth Riley registered double figures for the eight straight game as scored 14 points in addition to grabbing six rebounds. Senior Danielle Green provided a spark off the bench as she finished with 11 points.
Notre Dame finished the game shooting 52.7 percent from the field, the third straight game in which the team has shot 50 percent or better. The Irish held USC to 34.3 percent accuracy and forced 23 turnover, in addition to holding a 40-34 advantage on the boards.
USC had 19 steals in the game as Notre Dame after committing a season-high 30 turnovers in the game.
Date: Wednesday, December 29, 1999
Notre Dame Probable Starting Lineup
Off The Bench
* - Indicates monograms won
RILEY REACHES DOUBLE FIGURES FOR EIGHTH STRAIGHT GAME - After being held scoreless for the first time in her career in the season opener against Toledo, Ruth Riley has come back to score in double figures in eight consecutive games. She has scored 20-plus points twice this season as she netted a season-high 32 points against Liberty on December 5. Riley also had 20 points in a win over Florida International at the Orange Bowl Women's Basketball Fab Four.
RATAY LEADS IRISH IN SCORING FOR FIFTH TIME - Freshman guard Alicia Ratay, who leads the Irish in scoring with a 16.8 points per game average, has been Notre Dame's top scorer in five games this season and in its last two outings. Ratay, a two-time BIG EAST rookie-of-the week honoree, had 19 against USC on Monday night and 27 in a win at Florida International on December 19. She has topped the 20-point mark twice this season, including a 32-point performance against North Carolina which marked just the second 30-point performance by an Irish rookie in the 22-year history of the program.
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 10th 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 21 of 24 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 24 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the ESPN/USA Today ranking. Notre Dame has earned a top 25 ranking for school-record 27 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 268-112 (.705), and in 17-plus campaigns overall, her teams have registered a 356-153 (.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 199-65 mark for a .754 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 VALPARAISO - Notre Dame has won all 12 meetings between the two teams, including six victories at the Joyce Center. The Irish and Crusaders last met on December 21, 1996 in Valparaiso, Ind. with Notre Dame earning a 75-56 victory.
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 this season. Riley reached the mark in the first half of Notre Dame's win over Florida International on December 19. The 6-5 Macy, Ind., native has 1,019 career points in 72 career games for a 14.2 career scoring average.
"I" GETS THE ASSIST - Junior guard Imani Dunbar, who has been a part-time starter for the Irish this season with four starts in nine games, dished off a career-high eight assists against USC as she played a personal best 23 minutes. Dunbar is second on the team in that category for a 3.1 assists-per-game-average.
GREEN PROVIDES A SPARK OFF BENCH - Senior guard Danielle Green has been a spark for the Irish off the bench in the last two outings scoring in double figures. She had 10 against Florida International and 11 versus USC. Green had a season-high 16 points in the season opener against Toledo. Her lone start of the campaign was in the second game of the season versus Illinois.
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 four times and is 21-24 from the line (.840). 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 51.3 percent (262-511) 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 53.3 percent connecting on 210-of-394 field goal attempts in those contests. In six of Notre Dame's last seven 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 54 assists for a 6.00 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 tied for 10th with Carey Poor (1992-96) on the all-time career rebounding list with 543 boards. In 72 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
QUICK PLAYER BIOS
Amanda Barksdale has seen action in all nine contests ... she scored her first career points against Michigan State when she made two of her three field goal attempts for four points ... has 10 blocked shots on the season.
Imani Dunbar earned starts against Butler, North Carolina, Liberty and Purdue ... earned first career start versus the Bulldogs ... played a career-high 23 minutes against USC and registered personal bests of eight assists, five rebounds and three steals ... second on the team in assists with 28.
Danielle Green has scored in double figures in Notre Dame's last two games ... has been a spark for the Irish off the bench ... scroed a season-high 16 points and grabbed seven reboundings coming off the bench in the season opener at Toledo ... has made one start (versus Illinois) in the six games she has played ... missed three games (Butler, North Carolina and Liberty) due to a disciplinary suspension ... averaging 9.8 points and 2.3 rebounds.
Ericka Haney has started five games this season and has played in all nine contests ... 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 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Julie Henderson has been in the Irish starting lineup the last seven games after coming off the bench in the first two contests of the season ... has had season-highs of six points in four games this season versus North Carolina, Liberty, Michigan State and USC ... 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 and Women of Troy ... averaging 4.6 points and 4.2 rebounds.
Monique Hernandez played in the first seven games of the season and has seen action in eight contests ... 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 nine games and is averaging 10.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.0 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 nine games ... averaging 3.0 points and 3.4 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 16.8 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 six games and been the team's leading scorer in five 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 ... scored 19 points against USC as she hit six-of-10 shots from the field (4-5 from three-point range) ... 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 six games ... tallied her first career basket against USC.
Ruth Riley has been in double figures scoring in eight of nine 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 eight 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.
Irish All-Time vs. 1999-2000 Opponents
NOTRE DAME POLL WATCHING
1999-2000 BIG EAST Coaches'
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)
By Halftime Score
By Rebound Margin
By Field Goal Shooting
By Free Throw Margin
1999-2000 BIG EAST STANDINGS
1999-2000 BIG EAST WEEKLY AWARDSPlayer of the Week:
Rookie of the Week: