Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw has led the Irish to their 14th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and 16th overall. She ranks eighth among active NCAA Division I coaches with a .641 winning percentage in the NCAA tournament, and she is tied for 10th among active coaches with 25 NCAA tourney wins.

Irish Seeded Fifth For BIG EAST Championship

March 3, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The No. 20/17 Notre Dame women’s basketball team has earned the No. 5 seed for the 2009 BIG EAST Conference Championship in Hartford, Conn., the conference office announced late Monday evening. The Irish (21-7, 10-6) will have a bye through the first round of the tournament and will begin play with a second-round game on Saturday at noon (ET) against the winner of the first-round contest between 12th-seeded Syracuse (16-13, 5-11) and No. 13 seed St. John’s (16-13, 4-12). For the sixth consecutive year, the championship is being held at the Hartford’s XL Center, with this being the first time that all 16 BIG EAST teams will take part in the event.

Notre Dame’s second-round game against the Syracuse/St. John’s winner will be televised live as part of the BIG EAST Regional Sports Networks package, with SportsNet New York (SNY) serving as the flagship station for that network (additional television clearances are listed at the end of this release, while more could be added prior to the game). In addition, the BIG EAST’s multimedia web site,, is offering free live coverage of all first- and second-round games at the 2009 BIG EAST Championship.

The Irish finished the regular season in a three-way tie with Villanova and DePaul for fourth place in the conference standings, marking the 11th time Notre Dame has earned a top-four finish since joining the BIG EAST 14 seasons ago. Villanova won the three-team “mini-conference” tiebreaker with the Irish and DePaul by virtue of its better record against the other tied teams (2-0), while Notre Dame had a 2-1 record against the other schools and the Blue Demons were 0-3.

Notre Dame won both of its regular-season matchups against its potential second-round opponents, defeating St. John’s, 70-67 on Jan. 17 at the Joyce Center, and toppling Syracuse, 90-79 on Feb. 24, also in South Bend. The Irish are 1-1 all-time against Syracuse in the BIG EAST Championship (won 70-55 in 1996 quarterfinal at Storrs, Conn.; lost 84-79 in 2002 quarterfinal at Piscataway, N.J.), and won their only prior conference tournament meeting against St. John’s (94-57 in a 1998 first-round game, also in Piscataway, N.J.).

Should they win their second-round game on Saturday, the Irish would meet No. 4 seed Villanova in the conference tournament quarterfinals on Sunday, also at noon (ET), with that game to be televised live to a national cable audience by ESPNU. The championship semifinal in Notre Dame’s half of the bracket (which includes top-seeded Connecticut) is slated for Monday at 6 p.m. (ET), also on ESPNU, with the title game penciled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.

Every one of Notre Dame’s games at the 2009 BIG EAST Championship can be heard on the radio all across northern Indiana and southwest Michigan on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), as well as worldwide on the Internet at the official Notre Dame athletics web site (, with veteran broadcaster Bob Nagle on the call.

Single-session tickets for the BIG EAST Championship are on sale, coinciding with Monday night’s announcement of the seeds for the tournament. Championship ticket packages for all 15 games may still be purchased at the reduced value of $99, which is discounted by nearly one half of the face value.

Session tickets are priced as follows (sessions potentially involving Notre Dame shown in boldface):
Session 1 (Fri. afternoon doubleheader) $20
Session 2 (Fri. evening doubleheader) $20
Session 3 (Sat. afternoon doubleheader) $20
Session 4 (Sat. evening doubleheader) $20
Session 5 (Sun. afternoon doubleheader) $25
Session 6 (Sun. evening doubleheader) $25
Session 7 (Mon. semifinal doubleheader) $30
Session 8 (Tues. championship final) $30

To charge tickets by phone, call the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356 or fans may buy their tickets on-line through the “tickets” page of the official Notre Dame athletics web site ( Tickets also can be purchased through all Ticketmaster outlets, including Macy’s at Buckland Hills Mall (Manchester, Conn.) and West Farms Mall (West Hartford, Conn.). The two retail outlets are the closest locations to the XL Center.

Tickets also are available at the XL Center box office — weekday box office hours are noon-5 p.m. (ET). For weekend events, the box office will open four hours prior to the start of an event. All ticket purchases are subject to additional convenience fees.

For group sales (10 or more) information and discounts, please contact the XL Center at (860) 548-2000.

The City of Hartford also has embraced the annual event with the first five years resulting in unparalleled success for the Conference, leading all leagues nationally in average attendance. The Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau and its members are hard at work to offer fans special rates and discounts on hotels, restaurants and complimentary shuttle services to tourist attractions. For more information please visit

— ND —

2009 BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Championship
March 7, 2009 — Noon ET
Second-round game: #5 seed Notre Dame vs. #12 Syracuse/#13 St. John’s

BIG EAST Regional Sports Networks Television Clearances (as of March 3)
SportsNet New York (Live)
FSN Pittsburgh (Live)
Time Warner Cable Sports Upstate NY (Live)
Cox Sports Television New England (Live)
Time Warner Cable Sports Channel 32 Wisconsin (Live)
ESPN Full Court (Live)
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (Live)
Bright House Sports Network (Live)
Cox Sports Television Louisiana-Florida-Texas (Same-day delayed broadcast at 2 p.m.)