Nov. 2, 2016
By Leigh Torbin
Two of the finest players ever to suit up for the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, both of which have gone on to make vast contributions mentoring Irish teams of the recent past and present, will formally join the program’s all-time legends this season as Beth Cunningham and Niele Ivey will each be enshrined into the Ring of Honor.
Ivey’s presentation will come during the Dec. 4 home game against Valparaiso while Cunningham’s date is set for Jan. 29 as the Irish play host to Virginia.
Ivey’s number 33 and Cunningham’s number 21 will join the number 00 of Ruth Riley and the number four of Skylar Diggins above the Purcell Pavilion court.
Beth (Morgan) Cunningham graduated in 1997 as the program’s all-time leading scorer at 2,322 points although she has since been narrowly passed by Diggins with her 2,357. Morgan helped the Irish to their first Final Four appearance in 1997 as a two-time honorable mention All-American and a two-time All-BIG EAST selection. That inaugural Notre Dame Final Four appearance was cemented by Morgan scoring a career-high 36 points in the Sweet 16 win over Alabama.
After a professional playing career in both the American Basketball League and the WNBA, Cunningham returned to her alma mater in 2012 as an associate coach and has helped guide Notre Dame to three Final Four appearances working adeptly with the team’s wing players.
Ivey is one of three links to all seven Notre Dame Final Four trips, joining McGraw and associate head coach Carol Owens. Ivey co-captained the 2001 national championship team along with Riley and earned All-America accolades that season. Ivey was a finalist for the 2001 Nancy Lieberman Award as the country’s best point guard and claimed the 2001 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award for the nation’s best player 5-foot-8 or under. Ivey was a three-time All-BIG EAST pick who would go on to play in the WNBA for four years.
Like Cunningham, Ivey returned to her alma mater to coach and was recently promoted to the title of associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. Now in her 10th year on McGraw’s staff, Ivey has helped Notre Dame to five Final Four berths and has mentored a pair of consensus All-American point guards and WNBA first round picks Diggins and Jewell Loyd.
Tickets for both of these Ring of Honor ceremonial games are available either online at UND.com/BuyTickets, over the phone at (574) 631-7356, or in person at the Murnane Family Ticket Office in Purcell Pavilion during regular business hours.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.