March 1, 2002
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A pair of Notre Dame women’s basketball players were honored at the 2002 BIG EAST Conference Championship awards banquet, which was held Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick, N.J.
Freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) was a unanimous pick as the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, and also was a consensus BIG EAST All-Rookie team choice and was the only freshman to be named an all-conference selection, appearing on the second team.
It’s the second time in three seasons an Irish freshman has been tapped for the league’s top rookie honor. Batteast becomes the first Notre Dame freshman to garner all-BIG EAST recognition in her first year under the Golden Dome. In addition, she is the first conference rookie to earn all-BIG EAST honors since Rutgers’ Tasha Pointer did so in 1997-98.
Batteast is one of three players to rank in the top 10 in the conference in points (14.8 ppg.), rebounds (8.5 rpg.), field goal percentage (.413) and blocks (1.52 bpg.). She also ranks second in the loop with 11 double-doubles and has earned game-high scoring honors 10 times.
In addition, junior guard Alicia Ratay (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich HS) was a first-team all-BIG EAST choice, the second time in as many years she has been picked for all-conference honors. Last season, Ratay was a third-team all-BIG EAST choice en route to setting an NCAA sophomore record by hitting 54.7 percent of her three-point attempts.
This year, Ratay ranks fourth in the conference in scoring (15.2 ppg.) and leads the league with an .882 free throw percentage. She has scored in double figures in 22 games this season and comes into postseason play having averaged 25.5 ppg. in her last four outings, including a season-best 31 points on Feb. 19 against West Virginia. She also is the two-time reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week, the first weekly league honors of her career.
Friday’s all-conference honors for Batteast and Ratay represent the fourth consecutive season, and the sixth time in seven years that at least two Irish players have been chosen to the all-BIG EAST squad.
No. 21/25 Notre Dame (19-8) is the second seed in this weekend’s BIG EAST Championship, which is being contested at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. The Irish will begin tournament action Sunday at 6 p.m. (EST) with a quarterfinal matchup against either No. 7 seed Syracuse or 10th-seeded West Virginia.
– ND –