Nov. 22, 2005
#13/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Indiana Hoosiers (0-1 / 0-0 Big Ten)
DATE: November 23, 2005
TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
AT: Bloomington, Ind. – Assembly Hall (17,456)
SERIES: Notre Dame leads 5-3
1ST MTG: 3/9/83 (ND 63-61, OT)
LAST MTG: 12/11/96 (ND 71-63)
RADIO: ESPN Radio 1580 AM
WNDV 1490 AM
Sean Stires, p-b-p
LIVE STATS: www.und.com
TICKETS: (812) 855-4006
Notre Dame faces the second of four Big Ten Conference opponents on its 2005-06 schedule when it visits Indiana Wednesday night. The Irish are making their first visit to IU’s Assembly Hall in almost exactly a decade, and will be facing the Hoosiers for the first time in nine seasons.
With little time to rest, No. 13/16 Notre Dame plays its third game in six days Wednesday night when it travels to Bloomington, Ind., for a 7 p.m. (ET) contest with in-state rival Indiana. The Irish and Hoosiers will tangle for the ninth time in the history, with Notre Dame owning a 5-3 edge. However, this will be the teams’ first matchup since 1996. Notre Dame improved to 2-0 this season with a 71-68 victory at Western Michigan on Sunday afternoon. Although the Irish led virtually from tip to buzzer, they were challenged much of the way by the upstart Broncos. Still, senior guard Megan Duffy tallied team highs of 19 points and seven rebounds, and buried four key free throws in the final minute as the Irish won their road opener for the fourth consecutive season.
Notre Dame is 13th in the latest Associated Press poll and 16th in the Nov. 15 ESPN/USA Today poll (new poll released Tuesday). Indiana is unranked.
Setting The Standard
Under the guidance of 19th-year head coach Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame has evolved into one of the country’s leading women’s basketball powers. The Irish have appeared in 12 NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 six times in the past nine years. Notre Dame also has reached the NCAA Women’s Final Four twice, winning college basketball’s ultimate prize with the 2001 national championship.
In its history, Notre Dame has developed eight All-Americans, eight WNBA players (including five draft picks in the past five years) and four USA Basketball veterans (eight medals won). Now in their 29th season in 2005-06, the Irish own an all-time record of 577-254 (.694).
Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw
Saint Joseph’s ’77 19th season at Notre Dame
- 413-155 (.727) at Notre Dame.
- 501-196 (.719) in 24 years as head coach.
27th NCAA Division I coach with 500 wins 2001 consensus National Coach of the Year Four-time Naismith Coach of the Year finalist Four-time conference Coach of the Year
- BIG EAST Conference (2001)
- Midwestern Collegiate Conference (1991)
- North Star Conference (1988)
- East Coast Conference (@ Lehigh) (1983)
A Quick Look At The Fighting Irish
Balance and chemistry will be the two main ingredients as Notre Dame looks to build upon last year’s successful 27-6 season that saw the Irish win the Preseason WNIT, rise to No. 3 in the national polls and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
With the graduation of 2004-05 BIG EAST Player of the Year and All-America forward Jacqueline Batteast, as well as rugged and dependable center Teresa Borton, Notre Dame will have a large infusion of youth on its roster, as eight of its 12 players are underclassmen (four freshmen, four sophomores). However, the team is in more than capable hands, as senior point guard and two-time captain Megan Duffy returns to run the Irish offense. Duffy spent the summer as a co-captain on the USA World University Games Team that won a gold medal and went unbeaten in Izmir, Turkey, and she hopes to use the lessons she learned on the international stage to help her take the Irish to grand heights in 2005-06.
After being ranked anywhere from 15th to 22nd in preseason polls released by various media outlets, Notre Dame has risen to No. 13 in this week’s Associated Press poll, and was 16th in last week’s ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll (the updated version was to be released Tuesday afternoon). The balance the Irish have sought this season has been evident at times during the team’s first two victories this season vs. Michigan (55-45) and Western Michigan (71-68).
Notre Dame has had three double-figure scorers in each game and five of the eight players who have seen action have scored in double digits in at least one of the two outings thus far. What’s more, all eight players in the current rotation are averaging at least 19 minutes of action per night.
Duffy has been a strong all-around contributor for Notre Dame during its first two games. The veteran floor general is averaging a team-best 11.0 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game,while tying for third on the squad with 5.5 rebounds per contest. Although she was held to three points in the season opener vs. Michigan, Duffy found other ways to help her team win, coming up with eight assists, four steals and four rebounds in 39 minutes. She regained her scoring touch at Western Michigan with a team-best 19 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds.
Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader also has shown tremendous promise during the first week of the season. The former McDonald’s All-American was tapped as the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Monday, after averaging 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in her first two college games, both starts. She turned in an impressive 10-point, 14-rebound effort in her debut outing against Michigan, becoming just the second player in school history (first since 1979) to record a double-double in her first game.
A pair of sophomores – guard Charel Allen and center Melissa D’Amico – have made solid impacts in the early moments of the season. Allen, who is still working her way back to full strength after surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered in last spring’s NCAA Tournament, showed little sign of her injury against Michigan, coming off the bench to drop in a game-high 16 points, including 12 in the second half. Meanwhile, the 6-5 D’Amico has stepped into the starting lineup in the post and has provided capable production at both ends of the floor, averaging 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds with a .500 field goal percentage in her first two career starts.
Potent Notables About The Fighting Irish
- Notre Dame’s No. 13 ranking in the latest Associated Press poll represents the 21st consecutive appearance for the Irish in that survey, dating back to the start of the 2004-05 season. All told, Notre Dame has appeared in 130 Associated Press polls since the balloting debuted 30 years ago, with their first AP ranking (No. 25) coming on Dec. 31, 1990.
- The Irish have won 55 of their last 58 non-conference home games, dating back to the 1994-95 season. All three of the losses in that span have come against Big Ten Conference opponents (Wisconsin in 1996, Purdue in 2003, Michigan State in 2004).
- The Irish defense continues to be its calling card. In each of the past six seasons, Notre Dame has held its opponents to an average of less than 62 points per game, including a 56.8 ppg. mark last year, which ranked as the third-lowest opponent scoring average in school history and second-best of the Muffet McGraw era (55.8 ppg. in 2000-01). Thus far in 2005-06, the Irish are allowing opponents to score just 56.5 ppg.
- The Irish have posted 37 wins over top 25 opponents in the past seven seasons (1998-99 to present), an average of more than five per year. In each of the past two years, Notre Dame has set a school record with seven regular-season wins over ranked opponents.
- Following last week’s season opener vs. Michigan, the Irish have welcomed crowds of 5,000 or more fans to 66 of their last 68 home games. The only two blemishes on that mark came in the semifinals and finals of last year’s Preseason WNIT, because tickets for those games could not be included in the Notre Dame season ticket package and had to be purchased separately.
- Senior guard Megan Duffy was named a preseason All-American by three sources, has been cited on the preseason watch lists for both the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy and the John R. Wooden Women’s Award, and most recently was tabbed as one of the top five point guards in the nation by ESPN.com. Duffy also was a preseason all-BIG EAST Conference selection, following up her first-team all-league citation last year.
- With a 55-45 victory over Michigan on Nov. 18, Irish head coach Muffet McGraw became the 27th coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 500-win mark. She also is the 10th Division I coach to earn her 500th victory prior to age 50.
A Quick Look At Indiana
It’s a new era in women’s basketball at Indiana, as Sharon Versyp returns to her home state to take over as the Hoosiers’ head coach. She assumes the reins for a program that has a proud tradition of women’s basketball success, highlighted by four NCAA Tournament appearances (most recently in 2002). However, IU is coming off three consecutive losing seasons, including a 10-18 record last year and enters the 2005-06 campaign looking to return to contention in the Big Ten Conference.
Wasting little time in mixing it up with the heavyweights of the women’s college basketball world, Indiana opened this season last Saturday with a 74-62 loss to defending national champion and (then) sixth-ranked Baylor at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers battled the Lady Bears every step of the way, taking a six-point lead in the first half and coming back to forge a 40-all tie at the break. In the end, Baylor used some veteran experience and savvy to pull away from a stubborn IU squad.
Senior point guard Cyndi Valentin led Indiana in last weekend’s loss, scoring 25 points and adding six rebounds and four assists. Senior forward Angela Hawkins chipped in with 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds for the Hoosiers.
Valentin is IU’s top returning scorer from a year ago, registering 15.0 ppg. as the only player to average double figures in scoring. She also led the team in three-pointers made (44) and steals (38) and was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection for the second consecutive season. This past summer, she honed her skills even further, leading the Big Ten Foreign All-Star Team in scoring (15.0 ppg.) and also spending time with the Puerto Rican National Team.
Fifth-year senior forward Jenny DeMuth is looking to make a comeback from a knee injury that forced her to the sidelines last season. DeMuth was among the Big Ten leaders in scoring (18.3 ppg.) and rebounding (7.7 rpg.) as a junior in 2003-04. Versyp is a native of Mishawaka, Ind., not far from the Notre Dame campus, and was named Indiana Miss Basketball in 1984 as a senior at Mishawaka High School. She went on to a successful career at Purdue, graduating from there in 1988 before turning to the coaching profession. Prior to arriving at Indiana, she was the head coach at Maine for five seasons (2000-05), amassing a 98-51 (.658) record that included three consecutive America East Conference regular-season titles, three straight 20-win seasons and a trip to the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
Versyp will be facing Notre Dame for the first time in her coaching career on Wednesday night.
The Notre Dame-Indiana Series
Following nearly a decade of dormancy, Notre Dame and Indiana will resume their women’s basketball rivalry Wednesday night in Bloomington. The Irish lead the all-time series with the Hoosiers, 5-3, including a 2-1 edge when the scene shifts to Assembly Hall.
Notre Dame and IU first met on the hardwood at the end of the 1982-83 season, with the Irish pulling out a thrilling 63-61 overtime victory at the Joyce Center on March 9, 1983. As it turned out, that would be an omen for the series, which has been dominated by nail-biting affairs.
The teams met for five consecutive seasons from 1986-87 through 1990-91, with the Hoosiers claiming wins in three of those five encounters (two of them coming on the Notre Dame campus). However, when they renewed acquaintances for a home-and-home series in the mid-’90s, the Irish won both contests, including their last visit to Bloomington almost exactly 10 years prior to Wednesday’s game (Nov. 24, 1995).
The Last Time Notre Dame And Indiana Met
All-Americans Beth Morgan and Katryna Gaither combined for 49 points, including 26 in the second half, as No. 10/17 Notre Dame rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to shade Indiana, 71-63, on Dec. 11, 1996 at the Joyce Center.
Morgan led all scorers with 25 points, while Gaither chalked up a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Irish. Point guard Jeannine Augustin dished out seven assists and added four steals as Notre Dame forced 25 IU turnovers and made 24-of-30 foul shots in the victory.
Indiana had three players in double figures, paced by Tatjana Vesel, who tallied 19 points and knocked down a trio of three-pointers. Dani Thrush contributed 13 points, also with three treys, and Kameelah Morgan came off the bench to offer up 12 points. The Hoosiers’ standout post, Quacy Barnes, was held largely in check, but did grab a game-high 11 rebounds.
Notre Dame trailed 38-34 at halftime and then saw its deficit grow as large as 13 points (49-36) when Sunday Watson banged in a three-pointer with 15:43 to play. From there, the Irish stunned Indiana with a 21-5 run, punctuated by 12 points from Gaither. IU steadied the ship long enough to knot the score at 59-all with 5:22 left, but Morgan scored eight of her team’s last 11 points to salt away the comeback win.
The Last Time Notre Dame And Indiana Met In Bloomington
It was the Katryna Gaither and Beth Morgan Show, as Notre Dame’s inside-outside tandem rang up a combined 53 points in an 82-73 Irish victory over Indiana on Nov. 24, 1995, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
Gaither dominated in the paint to the tune of 31 points (on 13-of-22 shooting) and 14 rebounds. Meanwhile, Morgan enjoyed a successful return to her hometown with 22 points, seven rebounds, and game-highs of five assists and four steals. Mollie Peirick also cracked double digits with 10 points and five assists for Notre Dame.
Lisa Furlin led three Hoosiers in double figures with 22 points, while Jenny Dittfach had a double-double of her own with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Jaime Garner had 14 points as well for IU. Notre Dame trailed by as many as nine points in the opening moments of the game, but closed the first half on a 10-4 run to take a 38-34 halftime lead. Unfazed, Indiana came back and rebuilt a six-point advantage two minutes into the second half and led as late as the 4:46 mark after Vesel hit two free throws for a 64-63 IU edge. However, Morgan hit a three-pointer on Notre Dame’s next possession to put the Irish in front for good, and then slammed the door on the Hoosiers by canning another trey with 1:59 remaining after Indiana had trimmed the margin to three points.
Other Notre Dame-Indiana Series Tidbits
- The eight-game series between Notre Dame and Indiana has been amazingly close, with each game decided by single digits. The Irish have outscored the Hoosiers by an average of just 2.8 points per game, with three games decided by one possession, including an overtime contest in the teams’ first-ever matchup on March 9, 1983 (won by Notre Dame, 63-61 in South Bend).
- The Irish have come away victorious in their last two visits to Assembly Hall (75-67 in 1989; 82-73 in 1995) after losing their first game at Indiana’s arena back in 1987.
- Wednesday’s game will come one day shy of 10 years since the last time Notre Dame traveled to Bloomington to face Indiana. On Nov. 24, 1995, the Irish played their first game as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, and pulled out an 82-73 win.
- Notre Dame is 103-30 (.774) all-time against other schools from the state of Indiana, including a 39-16 (.709) on their opponents’ home court. Last season, the Irish swept both of their games against in-state foes, defeating Valparaiso (69-59) and Purdue (86-69).
- The states of Indiana and Michigan have produced more Notre Dame women’s basketball players (14 each) than any other in the program’s 29-year history. Freshman walk-on guard Brittney Bolden is the only Hoosier State native on this year’s Notre Dame roster, although the Irish have signed three Indiana standouts to National Letters of Intent for the 2006-07 season.
- Indiana head coach Sharon Versyp is a familiar name to longtime basketball observers in Michiana. Versyp grew up in Mishawaka, just minutes from the Notre Dame campus, and earned Miss Basketball honors in 1984 while attending Mishawaka High School.
- Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer, Beth Morgan (2,322 points from 1993-97), is a native of Bloomington and graduated from Bloomington South High School, where she departed as the school’s career scoring leader with 1,645 points. Morgan, now known as Beth Cunningham, currently is in her third season as the head women’s basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth, and is one of five active Division I head coaches who either played or assisted under 19th-year Irish head coach Muffet McGraw.
- Morgan’s father, Bob, also shouldn’t be a stranger to Indiana athletics fans. He retired back in June after a storied 22-year career as the head baseball coach for the Hoosiers, ranking as one of just 30 skippers in NCAA Division I history with at least 1,000 victories.
Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten Conference
The Irish are 30-43 (.411) all-time against Big Ten Conference teams, following its season-opening victory over Michigan (55-45) on Nov. 18 at the Joyce Center. Indiana is the second of four Big Ten opponents on Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule, with the remaining three games on the road (also Dec. 4 @ Wisconsin; Dec. 7 @ Purdue). It’s the first time the Irish will play four regular-season games against the Big Ten since the 1996-97 campaign – Notre Dame split those four contests (d. Iowa, 61-50; d. Indiana, 71-63; l. Purdue 73-58, l. Wisconsin, 81-69). The Irish did play four Big Ten teams in 2003-04, going 1-3, but the last of those was a 55-49 loss to Penn State in the NCAA Sweet 16.
Give Her Five (Hundred)
With Notre Dame’s 55-45 victory over Michigan on Nov. 18, head coach Muffet McGraw became the 27th women’s basketball coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 500-win mark. McGraw now has a career record of 501-196 (.719) in 24 years of coaching, including 19 seasons at Notre Dame (413-155, .727).
Here’s a closer look at how that milestone victory breaks down for McGraw:
- She is the 10th NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach to register her 500th victory before turning 50 years old.
- McGraw is the fourth active coach in the BIG EAST Conference to reach the career 500-win mark, joining Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (723, as of Nov. 22), Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma (561) and Villanova’s Harry Perretta (509).
- She is the third BIG EAST coach in as many seasons to celebrate her 500th win. Auriemma hit the milestone late in the 2002-03 campaign, while Perretta joined the club with his landmark victory midway through last season.
Lindsay Schrader Named BIG EAST Freshman Of The Week
Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett HS) was selected as the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week, the league office announced Monday. Schrader is the 10th different Irish women’s basketball player to earn the award since Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST for the 1995-96 season, and she is the first Notre Dame rookie honoree since current sophomore guard Charel Allen (Monessen, Pa./Monessen HS) was chosen on Feb. 7, 2005.
Schrader tipped off her college career in grand fashion this past weekend, averaging 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while starting twice as the Irish defeated Michigan (55-45) and Western Michigan (71-68). In the season opener against the Wolverines, the former McDonald’s All-American collected 10 points and 14 rebounds, becoming just the second player in school history to register a double-double in her collegiate debut (and the first to do so since the program elevated to Division I status in 1980). Shari Matvey is the only other Irish cager to pull off that feat, amassing 21 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Marion College on Nov. 30, 1979 in the Taylor Invitational at Upland, Ind. Schrader’s 14 rebounds vs. Michigan also were the most by a Notre Dame player in nearly three years, dating back to Jacqueline Batteast’s 18-rebound day at Connecticut on Feb. 23, 2003.
Two days later at Western Michigan, Schrader logged 11 points and five rebounds as the Irish won their road opener for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. She also played a key role in her team’s second half effort, scoring seven points in the final 20 minutes.
Game #2 Recap: Western Michigan
Senior All-America guard Megan Duffy scored 19 points, including four straight free throws in the final minute, for 15th-ranked Notre Dame. But Western Michigan’s Casey Rost almost stole the show.
Rost had a career-high 29 points in her first game in a year. Rost, who also made a career-high seven 3-pointers, had been sidelined by a knee injury.
Duffy hit all eight of her free throws attempts and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Notre Dame to a 71-68 victory and its third 2-0 start to a season in four years.
“They’ve got a great team,” Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw said of Western (0-1), adding special praise for Rost. “I think she’s a great player, and she’s someone who’s really hard to guard.”
Notre Dame only trailed once, in the game’s first minute, but twice had its lead trimmed to one point in the second half – including on a three-pointer by Rost with 11:50 left.
“We thought we were on her,” Duffy said, “and she just shot right over us.”
“What can you say about her?” Western coach Ron Stewart said. “I certainly didn’t think Casey Rost would be playing 40 minutes in the first game.”
But not even Rost could save the Broncos from their eighth consecutive loss to Notre Dame.
Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader scored 11 points for Notre Dame, reaching double figures in her second consecutive start, and senior forward Courtney LaVere came off the bench to score eight of her 10 points in the second half.
Western’s Lindsey Brown had 16 points and Tiera Delahoussaye had 11. The Irish, who won 27 games last year, have only one senior in their starting lineup: Duffy.
“We have to play hard no matter who we play,” McGraw said. “That’s the way our team is going to go this year. We don’t really have a go-to post player that we had in the past. And that makes it tougher on the guards. For us to win, we have to play great defensively and we have to rebound.”
The Irish outrebounded Western 39-37, although Western’s Amanda Parker had a game-high nine rebounds. Notre Dame also held Western to 34.3 percent shooting in the first half before Rost warmed up with 21 points in the second half, and forced 18 Western turnovers.
“Notre Dame is good, no question about it,” Stewart said.
Noting The Western Michigan Win
- Leading for all but the first 1:26 of the contest, Notre Dame won its road opener for the fourth consecutive season and seventh time in the past eight years.
- ND started the season 2-0 for the third time in four years and 10th time in the 19-year Muffet McGraw era.
- The Irish improve to 8-0 all-time against Western Michigan, including a 3-0 record in Kalamazoo.
- The three-point margin was the closest in the eight-game series, topping a 68-62 Notre Dame victory spread on Dec. 8, 1982, also in Kalamazoo.
- The Irish have scored 70 points in seven of their eight all-time matchups with the Broncos.
- WMU tallied its highest point total ever against Notre Dame, exceeding the 65-point mark it had in a 94-65 loss to the Irish on Dec. 2, 1985, the clubs’ most recent contest at University Arena prior to this year; in fact all three of the Broncos’ 60-point games vs. Notre Dame have come in Kalamazoo.
- The Irish have won 10 consecutive games against Mid-American Conference opponents, a streak that dates back to 1995.
- Notre Dame is 99-8 (.925) during the past six years when leading at halftime, having won 28 of its last 30 such games (2-0 this year).
- Western Michigan guard Casey Rost tied a Notre Dame opponent record by canning seven three-pointers, with Connecticut’s Ann Strother the most recent foe to reach that total, doing so on nine attempts in a 65-59 Irish win on Jan. 30, 2005 in Storrs, Conn.
- With two assists at WMU, senior guard Megan Duffy moved past former teammate Le’Tania Severe (2000-04) into seventh place on Notre Dame’s career assist chart with 386 handouts; Jeannine Augustin (1994-97) is up next for Duffy with 387 assists.
- With her next point, senior forward Courtney LaVere will reach the 900-point mark for her career (she had 10 points at Western Michigan).
- LaVere also had two blocked shots against the Broncos and is two away from becoming the eighth player in school history to record 100 career blocks.
Heading Into The Holiday
Notre Dame is 8-5 (.615) all-time in its final pre-Thanksgiving game, although the Irish didn’t regularly open their season before the holiday until 1996. Since then, Notre Dame is 6-3 (.667) in its last game before Thanksgiving, including last year’s 69-47 win over Colorado State on Nov. 22, 2004, at the Joyce Center.
A Double Cheeseburger For Schrader
A 2005 McDonald’s All-America selection who played in that elite all-star game back in March on her new home floor at the Joyce Center, freshman guard Lindsay Schrader felt right at home from the first moment she stepped into the historic venue, scoring nine points in that contest.
As if there was any doubt about her abilities, Schrader put them all to rest in Friday’s season-opening win vs. Michigan, rolling up a double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds) in her first college game, which she started. Schrader is just the second Notre Dame player ever to record a double-double in her debut contest, and the first Irish player to do so since the program elevated to Division I status in 1980-81 (ND was a Division III program for its first three seasons). The only other career-opening double-double by a Notre Dame freshman came from Shari Matvey, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds in a 68-60 conquest of Marion on Nov. 30, 1979 at the Taylor Invitational in Upland, Ind.
Duffy Rakes In Preseason Honors
Senior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio) already has found her name on preseason candidate lists for two of the top national player-of-the-year trophies this season. The 5-foot-7 floor general is among 25 early candidates for the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy, and she is on the 30-player watch list for the John R. Wooden Women’s Award. It’s the first time in Duffy’s career she has been placed under consideration for either award, and it marks the third consecutive season a Notre Dame player has made both preseason candidate list (Jacqueline Batteast was chosen prior to the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns).
Besides the Wade Trophy and Wooden Women’s Award, Duffy is a prime candidate for the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which goes the country’s top senior player who stands 5-foot-8 or under, and the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented to the nation’s top point guard.
In addition, Duffy has been tapped as a preseason All-American by three national media outlets – Women’s Basketball News Service (first team), Street & Smith’s (“Terrific 10”) and Lindy’s College Basketball Annual (third team) – and has been chosen as one of the top five point guards in the country in the ESPN.com 2005-06 season preview.
Duffy also was one of 12 players selected to the 2005-06 Preseason all-BIG EAST Conference Team, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Duffy is one of three returning first-team all-BIG EAST picks from a year ago, joining West Virginia’s Meg Bulger and this year’s Preseason Player of the Year, Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers. Duffy is tops among all returnees in assists (5.39 apg. in 2004-05, second in the BIG EAST), steals (2.73 spg., first) and free throw percentage (.895, first), setting a school record and ranking fourth nationally in the latter category. She also ranks fourth among BIG EAST returnees in assist/turnover ratio (1.73) and is seventh among veterans in three-point field goals per game (1.52).
Last season, Duffy was an honorable mention All-America choice by the Associated Press and was a finalist for the Kodak/WBCA All-America Team. She also earned a spot on the all-tournament teams for the Preseason WNIT and the BIG EAST Championship.
Notre Dame Ranked Third In Preseason BIG EAST Poll
According to a preseason survey of the BIG EAST Conference coaches, Notre Dame is expected to finish third in the conference this season. Those were the results released at the league’s annual Media Day Oct. 27 at the ESPN Zone in New York’s Times Square. The Irish earned 191 points, which placed them behind the defending BIG EAST regular-season champion Rutgers (221 points, 11 first-place votes) and the reigning BIG EAST Championship victor, Connecticut (215 points, five first-place votes). Conference newcomer DePaul was fourth, followed by Villanova, Louisville, West Virginia, St. John’s, South Florida and Marquette. All 10 of those schools qualified for postseason play last season, with Notre Dame, Rutgers, Connecticut, DePaul and Louisville all advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame is beginning its 11th season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference in 2005-06. The Irish have gone 137-31 (.815) all-time in regular-season conference games, posting the best winning percentage in league history. Connecticut is second with a .779 success rate. Notre Dame also has finished among the top three in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings nine times in its first 10 seasons in the conference, including a share of the BIG EAST title in 2000-01.
Changes On The Sideline
There are three changes to the Notre Dame staff for the 2005-06 season. Coquese Washington, who is in her seventh season on the Irish bench, has been promoted to associate head coach. Washington, who also played for head coach Muffet McGraw from 1989-93, has been part of the Notre Dame women’s basketball program for 11 of the 19 seasons of the McGraw era.
Angie Potthoff has been hired as an assistant coach, replacing longtime aide Carol Owens, who resigned in March to become head coach at her alma mater, Northern Illinois. Potthoff, a 1997 graduate of Penn State where she was a two-time All-American and three-time first-team all-Big Ten selection, focuses her efforts primarily on working with the Irish posts. Stephanie Menio (pronounced MANY-o) is Notre Dame’s new coordinator of basketball operations, assuming the marketing and promotional responsibilities for the program. She replaces Heather Maxwell, who departed in August to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota.
Late Additions To Irish Roster
Notre Dame has added two walk-on players to its roster for the 2005-06 season, with both joining the squad through preseason tryouts after the media guide went to press.
Brittney Bolden (5-7, Fr., G, South Bend, Ind./Adams HS) averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season while helping Adams to one of its best seasons of late in the Northern Indiana Conference (NIC). She is the fourth South Bend native ever to play for the Irish, with the most recent being former South Bend Washington High School standout Jacqueline Batteast (2001-05). Ironically, Bolden graduated from John Adams High School, making Adams the fourth different South Bend school to send a player to Notre Dame – the others are St. Joseph’s (Molly Mahoney in 1986-87) and Clay (Mary Borkowski, 1983-84).
Bolden was a three-sport letterwinner at Adams, participating in basketball, soccer and track & field. She was a two-time all-Northern Indiana Conference selection in basketball and a two-time first-team all-conference pick in soccer, as well as a four-time state finalist on the track as a sprinter. In addition, she was an excellent student, graduating with a 3.7 grade-point average and academic honors. She comes from a family with a rich athletic heritage – two of her cousins are Shannon Bolden (currently a senior guard/forward at Minnesota) and Stephanie Bolden (a former standout at South Dakota State, where she helped the Jackrabbits to the NCAA Division II title in 2002-03).
Christine Trezza (6-0, Fr., F, Staten Island, N.Y./Notre Dame Academy HS) averaged 10.4 points and 12.0 rebounds per game during her high school career, earning second-team all-borough honors from the New York Daily News and all-conference laurels as a senior. Last year, she helped Notre Dame Academy to a regional title (had career highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds in one playoff game) and averaged 14.8 points and 13.0 rebounds per game along the way. Also, she was a three-time captain of the nationally-ranked Staten Island Rebels AAU squad that finished second at the USA Junior Nationals in 2003. Like Bolden, Trezza was a multi-sport athlete in high school, garnering four letters in volleyball and one in cross country.
Trezza was a member of the National Honor Society, in addition to serving as student government president, class valedictorian and captain of the math team. She is from the same borough as Irish men’s basketball freshman Kyle McAlarney (Moore Catholic HS) and joins Notre Dame sophomore center Melissa D’Amico (Manorville, N.Y./William Floyd HS) as the New York natives on this year’s Irish roster.
Half And Half
During the past six seasons, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Irish are 99-8 (.925) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including wins in 28 of their last 30 such contests. Notre Dame has opened this season by win both of its games in which it led at the break.
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense
During the past 11 seasons, Notre Dame has discovered that a solid defensive effort can almost certainly guarantee a victory. In fact, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season (Notre Dame’s first in the BIG EAST Conference), the Irish have an amazing 151-9 (.944) record when they hold their opponents to less than 60 points in a game. Notre Dame added another tally to this ongoing defensive trend with a 55-45 conquest of Michigan on opening night at the Joyce Center.
But Sometimes You Have To Score If You Want To Win
Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. During the past decade (1995-96 to present), the Irish are 91-3 (.968) when they score at least 80 points in a game. The only blemishes on that record are a pair of overtime losses to Texas A&M (88-84) and Michigan State (87-83) in 1995 and a 106-81 loss to Connecticut in 1998. Notre Dame tacked on three more wins to that tally in 2004-05.
Notre Dame is one of only nine schools in the country to have appeared in the NCAA Sweet 16 six times in the past nine seasons (1997-2005). The others are Connecticut and Tennessee (nine times), Duke (eight times), Louisiana Tech (seven times), and Georgia, LSU, North Carolina and Texas Tech (six times).
The Gold Standard
The Irish are one of six teams nationwide to have an active streak of 12 consecutive 20-win seasons. The others in this club are Tennessee (29), Texas Tech (16), Louisiana Tech (14), Old Dominion (14) and Connecticut (12).
Now That’s A Home Court Advantage
One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame’s success has been its stellar play at home. In fact, the Irish have been virtually untouchable at home in recent years, winning 128 of their last 139 games (.921) at the 11,418-seat Joyce Center, including winning streaks of 51 and 25 games in that span. Notre Dame also has a 76-8 (.905) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the Joyce Center, sporting a 31-game league winning streak at home before it ended with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the ’02 home finale.
The Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 55 of their last 58 non-BIG EAST contests (.948) at the Joyce Center, dating back to the 1994-95 season. The only three losses in that span all came at the hands of Big Ten Conference opponents – Wisconsin in 1996 (81-69), Purdue in 2003 (71-54) and Michigan State in 2004 (82-73 OT). The Purdue loss snapped a 33-game non-conference home winning streak which began after the UW setback.
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the Joyce Center, posting a 278-72 (.794) record at the venerable facility. In three of the previous six seasons (1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2003-04), the Irish were a perfect 15-0 at home, setting a school record for home wins in a season.
Jammin’ The Joyce
Beginning with its national championship season of 2000-01, Notre Dame has ranked among the top 20 in the nation in attendance each of the past five years, including a No. 16 rating in 2004-05 (5,830 fans per game). Notre Dame opened this season with a crowd of 6,134 fans on hand to witness last Friday’s 55-45 win over Michigan.
What’s more, each of the top 20 women’s basketball crowds in Joyce Center history have occurred during the 19-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw (1987-present), with 19 of those 20 occurring in the past six seasons (2000-01 to present). Lastly, the Irish have attracted at least 5,000 fans to 66 of their last 68 home games, including 12 contests with at least 8,000 fans and the first two sellouts in the program’s history (both in 2001).
Oh Captain, My Captain
Notre Dame’s two seniors – guard Megan Duffy and forward Courtney LaVere – will serve as team captains for the 2005-06 season. Duffy is in her second year as a captain (making her the 16th two-time captain in school history, and 12th in the Muffet McGraw era), while LaVere is a first-time captain. Both players received the captain’s honor following a vote of their teammates prior to the season.
Notre Dame On The Small Screen
Notre Dame will have nine of its regular-season games televised during the 2005-06 season. Highlighting this year’s television docket are six nationally-televised Irish women’s basketball contests, including three consecutive games on the ESPN family of networks during a 12-day span in mid-February.
This year’s TV slate continues a recent trend that has seen the Irish become a regular fixture on television. Beginning with the NCAA championship season of 2000-01, Notre Dame has played in 60 televised games, including 37 that were broadcast nationally. Last year, the Irish had 17 games televised, with 10 being national broadcasts.
Notre Dame will make its 2005-06 television debut Sunday when its 2 p.m. (ET) road opener at Western Michigan is aired live on Comcast Local. That will be the first of two regional Irish women’s basketball broadcasts for the Detroit-based network, with the second coming a week later (Nov. 27) in a 2 p.m. (ET) home game against USC.
The remaining six televised games on the ’05-06 Notre Dame schedule all are slated for national broadcasts. The first of three Irish appearances on College Sports Television (CSTV) comes on Dec. 31, when Notre Dame plays host to Tennessee at 2 p.m. (EST). Notre Dame returns to the CSTV airwaves for a pair of January contests that will be part of the BIG EAST/CSTV Tuesday Game of the Week package. The Irish will welcome DePaul to the Joyce Center on Jan. 17, before visiting Rutgers on Jan. 24, and both games will tip off at 7:30 p.m. (ET). CSTV has aired eight Notre Dame women’s basketball games during the past three seasons, with the first being that network’s inaugural broadcast of any sport (a Feb. 2003 game at Connecticut).
The Irish then make three consecutive appearances on the ESPN family of networks, beginning with a Feb. 7 home game against Villanova that will be broadcast live on ESPNU. That game now will tip off at 6 p.m. (ET), one hour earlier than previously listed on some schedules. The following Sunday (Feb. 12), Notre Dame will travel to DePaul for a 4 p.m. CST (5 p.m. ET) game that will air on ESPN2 as part of that network’s “February Frenzy” split-national coverage designed to preview a similar coverage pattern for the NCAA Tournament. The Irish are back on ESPN2 on Feb. 19, when they play host to Connecticut in a 7 p.m. (ET) prime-time BIG EAST showdown at the Joyce Center. During the past five seasons, Notre Dame has appeared on the ESPN family of networks 24 times, averaging nearly five telecasts per year on “The Worldwide Leader in Sports”.
Notre Dame will make its final regular-season television appearance on Feb. 25, when it travels to new conference member Cincinnati for a 2 p.m. (ET) game that will air as part of the BIG EAST-Regional Sports Network (RSN) package. Among the outlets scheduled to televise the game live are WHME-TV (Channel 46 in South Bend), Comcast Chicago, Comcast Local, Comcast Philadelphia and Madison Square Garden Network.
Notre Dame On The Airwaves
Once again this season, every Irish women’s basketball game (home and away) will air on the flagship stations of the Artistic Media Partners (AMP) Network – WDND-AM (ESPN Radio 1580) and WNDV-AM (1490) in South Bend. Veteran broadcaster and AMP sports director Sean Stires is now in his sixth season handling the play-by-play for Notre Dame. The Irish also can be heard on the Internet at Notre Dame’s official athletics web site (www.und.com) by subscribing to Fighting Irish All-Access, which gives listeners full multimedia access to a variety of Irish athletics events for only $6.95 per month.
Here’s a rundown of some upcoming promotions and giveaways at future Notre Dame women’s basketball games this season. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Irish athletics ticket office (second floor of the Joyce Center through Gate 1; 574-631-7356) or on game day at the Gate 10 ticket windows of the Joyce Center. Please note – additional promotions and giveaways may be added at a later date, so consult the Notre Dame promotions web site (www.notredamepromotions.com) for the latest information:
- Nov. 27 vs. USC – Family Day (four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas for $25) Notre Dame women’s basketball mouse pads to first 1,000 fans (courtesy of Chili’s and Papa Vino’s) post-game autograph session with selected Irish players.
Next Game: USC
Notre Dame opens a brief two-game homestand Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET) against 24th-ranked USC at the Joyce Center. The game will be televised regionally by Comcast Local and can be seen on Comcast Cable Channel 3 in South Bend.
USC (2-0) opened this season by winning the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic in Hawaii, defeating the host school and Eastern Illinois. The Women of Troy will tip off their home schedule Wednesday night vs. Long Beach State before making the cross country flight to South Bend.