Nov. 20, 2000
By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw had trouble motivating her team at times last season.
The Arizona sports information office provided the No. 5 Irish with all the motivation they needed Monday night.
The Irish, behind a 26-point performance by Alicia Ratay and inspired by a quote attributed to Arizona freshman Aimee Grzyb, beat the Wildcats 95-65 to extend their home winning streak to 24 games.
“They said they were going to come in and upset us on our home court and snap our win streak, which we didn’t know we had, honestly, until we read it in the newspaper,” McGraw said.
McGraw made printouts of a South Bend Tribune article for her players to see.
“I just think it’s funny how people can come in and be cocky in our home arena. I think it makes us realize we need to be just as cocky as other teams when they come in to play us,” said Neile Ivey, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds. “It brings our level of competition that much higher when we hear things like that.”
But Grzyb said she was misquoted in postgame notes by the Arizona sports information office after the Wildcats beat BYU. Asked about the Notre Dame game, she was quoted as saying: “That’s going to be a nice upset. That’s what I’m thinking.”
She said she would not make such a statement.
“I knew we were coming in playing a team ranked fifth in the nation. I knew it was going to be hard. My quote was, ‘It would be a nice upset,”‘ she said.
Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini said she didn’t blame the Irish for pouncing on the quote.
“When you’re a good team, you’re just trying to use whatever to get you motivated,” she said.
Ratay opened the game with consecutive 3-pointers as the Irish opened a 10-2 lead and were never threatened by the Wildcats (1-1). The Irish opened a 76-33 lead with 13 minutes left when Ratay hit her fifth 3-pointer of the game.
Arizona couldn’t stop the Irish with Ratay scoring from the outside, All-American Ruth Riley and Kelly Siemon scoring inside, and Ivey driving inside and handing out 11 assists, including eight in the first half.
“I thought coming in that Notre Dame had one of the best inside-outside games in the country,” Bonvicini said. “That was evident from the outset.”
Ratay made her first seven shots. On her first miss, five minutes into the second half, she got her own rebound, made the shot, was fouled and completed the three-point play. She also had five rebounds and five assists.
“She’s clearly one of the best perimeter shooters I’ve seen and very, very smart,” Bonvicini said. “Ruth Riley is an unbelievable complement, she’s so efficient around the basket. Their other players really complement and play off those two.”
Riley had 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Ivey had her a second straight game in double figures in points and assists. Siemon had 10 points and six rebounds.
Krista Warren had 13 points and eight rebounds for Arizona, Reshea Bristol had 12 points and 10 assists, and Elizabeth Pickney had 10 points.