Dec. 31, 2002
* Notre Dame broke out its third different lineup combination of the season today, as freshman Courtney LaVere made her first career starts at one of the forward positions. Sophomore Jacqueline Batteast manned the other forward spot, while sophomore Teresa Borton held down the center post. Junior Le’Tania Severe and senior Alicia Ratay once again comprised the Irish backcourt. Ratay was making the 107th start of her career, sixth-best in school history, and 17 away from the Notre Dame record held by Ruth Riley (1997-2001).
* Irish head coach Muffet McGraw won her 350th game at Notre Dame this afternoon, joining Digger Phelps as the only basketball coaches (men’s or women’s) to collect 350 victories at the school. McGraw is 350-129 (.731) in 16 seasons with the Irish, and owns a career record of 438-170 (.720) in 21 years. Phelps posted a 393-197 (.666) mark in 20 seasons as the Notre Dame men’s basketball coach from 1971-91.
* McGraw also holds the third-highest winning percentage of any basketball coach at Notre Dame (men’s or women’s) with at least five years of service, and her ratio is the best by any Irish hoops skipper in the last 60 years. Only men’s coaches Bertram G. Maris (.794 from 1907-12) and George Keogan (.771 from 1923-43) have had more success at Notre Dame than McGraw over such an extended period of time.
* With today’s win, Notre Dame moves to 8-2 this season, matching the third-best start in school history (previously achieved four times, most recently in 1999-2000). It also marks the fourth time in the last five seasons the Irish have won at least eight of their first 10 games. Notre Dame’s best 10-game start was a 10-0 ledger in 2000-01, followed by a 9-1 debut in 1998-99.
* Notre Dame collected its seventh consecutive series victory over Marquette this afternoon, and carded its 23rd win in its last 24 games with the Golden Eagles. The Irish also improve to 24-4 all-time against Marquette, with the 24 wins and 28 games played standing as school records.
* The Irish registered their 10th win in the last 11 games against Conference USA teams with this afternoon’s win over Marquette. Notre Dame holds an all-time record of 45-21 (.682) against current C-USA members, having played more games (66) against that league than any other outside of the BIG EAST Conference (138).
* Notre Dame continues to sparkle on New Year’s Eve, moving to 5-1 all-time when playing on Dec. 31. Today’s game marked the third consecutive season the Irish played on the last day of the year, and it was their fifth straight win on that date. Notre Dame lost its first Dec. 31 game to Montana (50-48) in 1986, but has rebounded to defeat Syracuse (81-60) in 1991, Pittsburgh (66-46) in 1997, Rice (80-40) in 2000, DePaul (79-50) in 2001, and Marquette (75-68) in 2002.
* The Irish now are 29-8 (.784) all-time against teams from the state of Wisconsin. Notre Dame has a winning record against every Badger State team except current Division III member Wisconsin-La Crosse, to whom the Irish lost, 80-57, in their only meeting on March 15, 1980, at the AIAW Division III National Tournament in La Crosse.
* Notre Dame improved to 54-1 (.982) over the last three seasons (7-0 this year) when it leads at halftime. The Irish were up by a point, 29-28, at the break this afternoon vs. Marquette.
* The Irish snapped out of their recent shooting slump in a big way, hitting at a 54-percent clip and topping 50 percent for the sixth time this season. Notre Dame is 6-0 this year when it makes at least half of its shots in a game.
* Notre Dame won the rebounding battle for the eighth time in 10 games this season, earning a 39-24 edge over Marquette. The Irish are 8-0 this year when they claim the advantage on the glass.
* Notre Dame committed 19 turnovers against Marquette, but only two came in the final 15 minutes of the contest.
* Sophomore forward Jacqueline Batteast scored the 500th point of her career on a fast break layup early in the first half. Batteast needed just 36 games to reach the 500 mark, becoming the fourth-fastest player in school history to reach that milestone. Only Shari Matvey (29 games), Beth Morgan (29 games) and current senior guard Alicia Ratay (35 games) scored 500 points quicker than Batteast.
* Batteast also registered her third double-double of the season, and second in the last three games, with a game-high 23 points and a season-best 11 rebounds. She also connected on a career-high 11-of-17 shots and those 11 made field goals were one shy of the U.S. Cellular Arena record for a Marquette opponent. Furthermore, Batteast is the first Irish player to have 20 points and 10 boards in a game since she herself turned the trick with 21 points and 12 rebounds at Seton Hall on Feb. 2, 2002.
* Junior guard Le’Tania Severe scored a career-high 20 points today, knocking down all five of her shots from the floor and 10-of-11 free throws. Her previous high point total was 17 vs. USC on Dec. 9, 2001. In addition, Severe’s 10 converted charity tosses were one short of her career best set back on Dec. 4 at Valparaiso, and they were one away from the U.S. Cellular Arena record for a Marquette opponent. Interestingly, that record is currently held by former Northwestern guard Michelle Ratay, who just happens to be the sister of current Irish senior guard Alicia Ratay.
* Notre Dame had two 20-point scorers in the same game (Batteast – 23, Severe – 20) for the second time in the last four contests. Back on Dec. 21, senior guard Alicia Ratay and freshman forward Courtney LaVere both scored 20 points in an 82-54 win over IPFW at the Joyce Center.
* LaVere posted her second double-double is as many games with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. The latter total also a season-high, topping the 11 caroms she had in her last outing vs. #5 Tennessee on Dec. 28. In addition, LaVere notched five blocks (all in the first half), setting a U.S. Cellular Arena record for a Marquette opponent (previous: 3 by three players). LaVere’s five rejections were the most by an Irish player since Amanda Barksdale chalked up a school-record 11 swats vs. Boston College on Feb. 10, 2002.
* With double-doubles from Batteast and LaVere, Notre Dame had two players with double dips in the same game for the first time since Feb. 13, 2002, when sophomore forward Katy Flecky (12 pts., 10 rebs.) and senior guard Alicia Ratay (14 pts., 10 rebs.) turned the trick against St. John’s.
* Freshman guard Megan Duffy scored a season-high six points today, canning the first two three-point field goals of her career.
— ND —