Jan. 8, 2003
* For the third straight game, Notre Dame opened with the starting lineup of sophomore Jacqueline Batteast and freshman Courtney LaVere at forward, sophomore Teresa Borton at center, and junior Le’Tania Severe and senior Alicia Ratay at guard. The Irish are 2-1 when this quintet starts the game.
* Notre Dame wins its fourth consecutive BIG EAST Conference opener and its sixth in its eight-year affiliation with the league.
* The Irish handed West Virginia its first loss of the 2002-03 season, defeating one of only four unbeaten teams in the country coming into Wednesday night’s action.
* Notre Dame mounted its biggest comeback of the season, erasing a 14-point second-half deficit to chalk up their initial conference win of the year. The Irish trailed 36-22 with 18:53 to play before going on a 16-2 run over the next 3:43 to knot the game at 38-all.
* It took the Irish the entire first half to score 22 points, tying their second-lowest total of the season. However, Notre Dame needed only 6:54 to match that output in the second half.
* Notre Dame now is 4-0 this season in games decided by 10 points or less.
* The Irish shot 47.1 percent from the field, marking the eighth time this season Notre Dame has posted a .450 field goal percentage. The Irish are 7-1 in these games.
* Notre Dame held the edge in the rebounding column tonight, 42-28, moving the Irish to 9-0 this year when they claim the battle of the boards.
* Notre Dame now is 10-0 all-time against West Virginia, making the Mountaineers one of five BIG EAST teams the Irish have never lost to (others are Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John’s and Virginia Tech). Including WVU, Notre Dame also has six active double-digit winning streaks — Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John’s and Seton Hall.
* The Irish now are 103-18 (.851) all-time in BIG EAST regular-season games, the best mark in conference history. Notre Dame also has won 59 of its last 67 BIG EAST regular-season contests.
* The Irish continue to be rock-solid on the road this season, winning for the fifth time in seven games away from the Joyce Center. Notre Dame didn’t win its fifth road game last year until Feb. 16, 2002, at Rutgers (57-52). The Irish now have won 11 of their last 15 regular-season games outside the Joyce Center, including nine of their last 11.
* Notre Dame placed three players in double figures for the 11th time in 12 games this season (and eight of nine wins).
* West Virginia came into Wednesday night’s game averaging 78.1 points per game. The Irish held the Mountaineers nearly 20 points below their season average, giving up just 59 points. Notre Dame also improved to 107-2 (.982) over the last seven seasons (since joining the BIG EAST) when holding its opponent under 60 points in a game.
* Senior guard Alicia Ratay became the sixth player in school history to score 1,500 career points when she buried her second three-point field goal of the game with 12:30 remaining. She now has 1,503 points and needs 86 markers to tie Trena Keys (1982-86) for fifth place all-time. Karen Robinson (1987-91) is fourth in school history with 1,590 points.
* Junior guard Le’Tania Severe chalked up her second 20-point game in the last three outings, finishing with a career-high 21 points. She also canned all four of her free throw attempts in the final 21 seconds to ice the victory. In addition, Severe tied her career high with five steals and added six rebounds (one off her season best). In her last four games, Severe is averaging 15.5 points, 5.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting 61 percent (17-28) from the field.
* Notre Dame will return to action Saturday at noon (EST) when it plays host to Miami at the Joyce Center. That game will be televised regionally as part of the BIG EAST television package (live on MSG, Fox Sports New England and Fox Sports Florida). The Irish are 12-2 all-time against the Hurricanes (5-1 at the Joyce Center) and have won a series-best six consecutive games against Miami.
— ND —