April 13, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the second consecutive year, sophomore forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.) was named the recipient of the Notre Dame National Monogram Club Most Valuable Player Award at the 2002-03 Women’s Basketball Banquet, which was held Sunday afternoon at the Joyce Center.
More than 400 persons were in attendance to help the Irish celebrate a 21-11 season that included Notre Dame’s fifth NCAA Sweet Sixteen berth in the last seven years, the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history (eighth in as many seasons), and the 10th consecutive 20-win season for the Irish, all under the guidance of 16th-year head coach Muffet McGraw. In addition, Notre Dame was ranked 21st in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll, a product of its outstanding postseason success.
Other honorees included: senior guards Alicia Ratay (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich H.S.) and Karen Swanson (Westlake, Ohio), who were selected as co-winners of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award, and sophomore center Teresa Borton (Yakima, Wash./West Valley H.S.) and junior guard Le’Tania Severe (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Fort Lauderdale H.S.), who shared the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Borton also earned the Most Improved Player Award, while Swanson was honored with the Spirit Award.
Batteast started all 32 games for the Irish this season, earning second-team all-BIG EAST Conference recognition for the second year in a row. She ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in scoring (15th, 13.9 ppg.), rebounding (3rd, 8.3 rpg.), blocked shots (3rd, 1.6 bpg.), steals (7th, 2.0 spg.), and double-doubles (3rd, 8). In addition, Batteast scored in double figures 26 times, including five 20-point games, and tallied a season-high 24 points twice. She also had 10 double-figure rebounding games, including a career-high 18 rebounds at eventual national champion Connecticut. On March 30, she scored the 800th point of her career vs. Purdue in the NCAA East Regional semifinals, becoming just the fifth player in school history to reach the 800-point milestone in her sophomore year. Over her two-year Irish career, Batteast is averaging 8.1 rebounds per game, which matches the second-best mark in school history, and her 13.8 ppg. average is the sixth-highest total in the Irish record books.
Like Batteast, Ratay started all 32 games for the Irish this season, eventually setting a school record with 129 career starts (including her last 71 games). A team co-captain, she was an honorable mention all-BIG EAST selection and was named 2003 Aeropostale/BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In addition, she was one of three finalists for the Creamland Dairies National Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and is a two-time Verizon Academic All-District V Second Team pick. This season, she ranked third on team in scoring (12.1 ppg.) and fourth in rebounding (4.9 rpg.), while leading the team in three-point percentage (.463) and free throw percentage (.881). She also led the BIG EAST and ranked 12th in the nation in free throw percentage, and her foul shot ratio was the second-best single-season mark in school history.
Ratay is ranked among the top 10 in 14 career statistical categories at Notre Dame, holding all-time records for three-pointers made (262), three-point percentage (.476) and free throw percentage (.872). In fact, her career three-point percentage ranks as the best in NCAA history, and her lifetime free throw percentage is sixth-best in NCAA history, making her the only player to place in the top 10 on both NCAA career charts. Furthermore, she finished her career in fourth place on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list with 1,763 points. Currently maintaining a 3.483 cumulative GPA while working on a double major in psychology and education, Ratay has made the Dean’s List three times.
Swanson appeared in 19 games for the Irish this season, starting once. She came to Notre Dame as a walk-on in 1999 and won over the hearts and minds of Irish fans everywhere with her dedication, desire and unselfishness. She played in 80 games during her career and saw Notre Dame post a stellar 102-28 (.785) record during that time, including four NCAA Tournament appearances, three Sweet Sixteen berths, a BIG EAST regular-season title and the 2001 national championship. Swanson presently is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business where she is an entrepreneurship major with a 3.562 cumulative GPA and five Dean’s List citations.
Borton started every game for Notre Dame this year, ranking fourth on the team in scoring (8.0 ppg.) and third in rebounding (5.0 rpg.). She also led the Irish in field goal percentage (.571) and was second in blocked shots (1.31 bpg.), ranking fifth in the BIG EAST in the latter category. Borton also scored in double figures 11 times (six more than her total as a freshman) and saw her numbers rise in every statistical column this season. Her most notable improvement came at the free throw line, where she shot .695 (41-59) and saw her efficiency increase by more than 22 percent over her rookie campaign.
Severe completed her second full season as the starting point guard for the Irish, leading the squad in assists (3.78 apg.) and steals (2.16 spg.), while placing second in free throw percentage (.807) and fifth in scoring (7.3 ppg.). She scored in double figures 11 times this year after cracking double digits just seven times in her career prior to the ’02-03 season. Severe also had five-or-more assists in 11 games, including a season-high eight handouts vs. Syracuse in the regular-season finale. In addition, she carded a career-high eight steals vs. Georgetown, the highest single-game steal total by an Irish player in more than 12 years.
Four starters and seven monogram winners will return for Notre Dame next season. They will be joined by another stellar recruiting class which already has been labelled one of the top-20 groups in the nation by Blue Star Index. That marks the seventh consecutive year the Irish have attracted a top-20 freshman class.
— ND —