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Defense Keys Notre Dame Women's Hoops Victory Over Valparaiso

Nov. 17, 2000

Box Score

Associated Press Writer

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) – Valparaiso went into a zone, and so did Notre Dame’s Alicia Ratay.

Ratay was 5-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 17 points in the first half as the No. 6 Irish opened a 30-point lead en route to a 71-46 victory over Valparaiso on Friday night.

“I had a lot of open looks,” said Ratay, who hit only one 3-pointer in the second half to finish with 20 points.

The Irish forced 22 turnovers, frequently making the Crusaders put up difficult shots with the home crowd counting down the seconds with the clock running out. Notre Dame held Valparaiso to 26.7 percent shooting and 17 points in the first half.

The Irish used runs of 13-0 and 16-2 to open a 47-17 halftime lead.

“The team in the first half was full of intensity and aggressiveness. In the second half we got a little complacent,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said. “That’s when you need the bench to contribute. We needed the bench to give us some energy, some intensity and we didn’t quite get that off the bench.”

Freshman Janeka Joyce scored 11 points off the bench, but all but three of those were in the first half. The rest of the Irish reserves combined for seven points.

Valparaiso coach Keith Freeman said he erred in staying with the zone defense, but he was worried his team would get in foul trouble if he didn’t.

“We just felt with their ability to penetrate we’d have to go to the bench and we can’t go too deep in the bench. So we had to go zone,” he said.

The Crusaders slowed down All-American Ruth Riley in the first half, holding her to four points and three rebounds as starting center Marlous Nieuvween played only seven of the first 20 minutes. Riley finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Nieuvween had 13 points and nine rebounds for Valparaiso.

The stat that Riley was most pleased with was the zero under personal fouls. She only fouled out five times last year, but averaged just 24.7 minutes a game because of foul problems.

“That’s going to give me a little more confidence that I can play without getting in foul trouble,” she said.

Niele Ivey scored her 1,000th career points, finishing with 12 points and 10 assists.

Jeanette Gray scored six of her 14 points as Valparaiso used a 14-7 run to close to 58-31 midway through the second half. But Ivey hit a left-handed hook and quickly stole the ball from Amber Schober and scored on a layup to end that run. The Crusaders never got closer than 25 points again.