Nov. 28, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It may have been the most successful week in the history of athletics at the University of Notre Dame — as Irish teams in football and men’s and women’s basketball have joined for their highest combined rankings in Notre Dame sports history.
Consider what various Irish teams recently accomplished in a seven-day span:
- Monday (Nov. 20)– The week began as Notre Dame’s 20th-rated men’s cross country team finished ninth in the NCAA Championship in Ames, Iowa, as junior Luke Watson finished seventh individually. It marked Notre Dame’s ninth NCAA top 10 finish since 1987.
- Wednesday — The fifth-ranked Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team knocked off 19th-ranked Wisconsin on the Badgers’ floor by an 83-56 count, behind Niele Ivey’s 22 points.
- Friday — The Irish women claimed the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge title with a 75-73 victory over sixth-rated Georgia to match the highest-rated opponent ever beaten by the Notre Dame women’s basketball program (the Irish had four previous wins over teams ranked sixth nationally, all since 1996). Ivey and Ruth Riley each had 19 points, as Ivey earned tournament MVP honors. The Irish now have won five straight and eight of their last 10 games against top-10 non-conference opponents.
That same night on Notre Dame’s Alumni Field, the top-ranked and unbeaten Notre Dame women’s soccer team defeated Santa Clara 2-1 in overtime, to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s Soccer College Cup. This marks the second straight year and the sixth time in the last seven years the Irish have advanced to the semifinals. Notre Dame won the NCAA title in 1995 and took runnerup honors in ’94, ’96 and ’99.
- Saturday — Notre Dame’s 10th-rated football squad moved its record to 9-2 and ensured itself a spot in the Bowl Championship Series selection pool with a 38-21 victory at USC.
The Irish men’s basketball squad, behind Troy Murphy’s 30 points, defeated 16th-ranked Cincinnati 69-51 in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
- Sunday (Nov. 26) — Notre Dame’s 19th-rated women’s volleyball team earned its ninth straight NCAA Championship invitation, after finishing the regular season as BIG EAST Conference champion with a 25-6 record.
Here are current rankings and records for all of these Irish teams:
- Women’s Soccer (23-0-1) — 1st by National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
- Women’s Basketball (5-0) — 4th Associated Press and USA Today-ESPN (highest ranking ever for Notre Dame in women’s basketball).
- Football (9-2) — 10th USA Today-ESPN, 11th AP, 11th BCS (highest ranking in football since the Irish were ninth going into the ’98 regular-season finale at USC).
- Men’s Basketball (3-0) — 11th USA Today-ESPN and AP (highest ranking for Notre Dame in men’s basketball since the Irish headed into the ’86 NCAA Championship 10th in AP, 11th in United Press International).
- Volleyball (25-6) — 18th according to Volleyball magazine, 20th according to USA Today -American Volleyball Coaches Association.
In addition, Notre Dame’s women’s swimming team (6-1) currently ranks 18th nationally.