Nov. 17, 2005
2005-06 ND Women’s Basketball: Game 1
#15/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0 / 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Michigan Wolverines (1-1 / 0-0 Big Ten)
DATE: November 18, 2005
TIME: 9:00 p.m. ET
AT: Notre Dame, Ind. – Joyce Center (11,418)
SERIES: Tied 6-6
1ST MTG: 1/20/79 (UM 93-66)
LAST MTG: 12/2/01 (UM 78-63)
RADIO: ESPN Rad io 1580 AM
WNDV 1490 AM
Sean Stires, p-b-p
Sara Liebscher, color
LIVE STATS: www.und.com
TICKETS: (574) 631-7356
- Notre Dame tips off its 2005-06 season Friday vs. Michigan. The Irish are 20-8 in season openers, including a 15-3 mark in the Muffet McGraw era and have won their last 10 lidlifters.
- McGraw goes after her 500th career victory Friday vs. Michigan. She would be the 27th NCAA Division I coach to reach that milestone and the 10th to do so before age 50.
The No. 15/16 Notre Dame women’s basketball team opens its 29th season of varsity action Friday at 9 p.m. (ET) vs. Michigan at the Joyce Center. The Irish have eight monogram winners, including three starters, back from last year’s 27-6 club that rose to third in the national rankings, won the Preseason WNIT and made the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame rolled through its two exhibition games this year, defeating NCAA Division II foes Indianapolis (84-59) and Ferris State (96-45). Senior All-America guard Megan Duffy averaged a team-high 21.0 ppg. in the preseason.
Michigan (1-1) opened its season last weekend at the Women’s Sports Foundation Challenge in Eugene, Ore., losing to No. 21/20 Temple (65-48) and defeating St. Francis (Pa.) (80-52).
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.
Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 25 by every major media outlet, including a No. 15 preseason ranking in the Associated Press poll and a current No. 16 slot in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll (after being ranked 15th in the preseason balloting). Other outlets have placed the Irish anywhere from 15th (Athlon Sports and Women’s Basketball News Service) to 22nd (Basketball Times).
Notre Dame looked sharp at times during its two exhibition victories against NCAA Division II foes Indianapolis (84-59) and Ferris State (96-45). As a team, the Irish averaged 90.0 points per game, shot 52 percent from the floor (66-127), connected at a 55-percent clip from the three-point line (11-20), held a +12.5 rebound margin and forced 25.5 turnovers per game (highlighted by 18.5 steals a night).
As expected, Duffy led the way for Notre Dame in the preseason, collecting 21.0 points, 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game with a .625 field goal percentage (15-24) and a .615 three-point ratio (8-13). Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader, a 2005 consensus prep All-American and the reigning Illinois Miss Basketball, made solid contributions with 16.0 points per game on a .560 field goal percentage (14-25). Meanwhile, sophomore center Melissa D’Amico showed flashes of the improvement she has made during the summer and gave Irish fans hope for another strong post presence this season, averaging 16.0 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game with a .522 field goal percentage (12-23).
Potent Notables About The Fighting Irish
- Notre Dame’s No. 15 preseason ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls marks the ninth time in the past 10 seasons the Irish have appeared in both preseason surveys. In addition, it’s the seventh consecutive year in which Notre Dame has been ranked 16th or better to open the campaign.
- The Irish have won 54 of their last 57 non-conference home games, dating back to the 1994-95 season. However, 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).
- 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.
- Entering Friday’s game with Michigan, the Irish have welcomed crowds of 5,000 or more fans to 65 of their last 67 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 has been 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 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.
- Head coach Muffet McGraw needs one victory to become the 27th coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach the 500-win mark. Should that milestone win come prior to Dec. 5, McGraw also would be the 10th Division I coach to earn her 500th victory prior to age 50.
A Quick Look At Michigan
Building a successful women’s basketball program starts with a healthy foundation. At Michigan, the Wolverines have that strong base, thanks to the arrival of head coach Cheryl Burnett, who came to Ann Arbor 2003-04 following a successful 15-year run at Southwest Missouri State. UM has had to endure some growing pains during Burnett’s first two seasons at the helm, including a 5-23 campaign last year, but the Wolverines appear to have been fortified by those struggles and ready to return to contention in the Big Ten Conference.
Michigan (1-1) got a head start on the 2005-06 season last weekend, splitting its two games at the Women’s Sports Foundation Challenge in Eugene, Ore. The Wolverines opened up with a 65-48 loss to one of last year’s feel-good stories, No. 21/20 Temple. However, UM then bounced back well with an 80-52 conquest of St. Francis (Pa.) in the consolation game of the tournament. In that second contest, the Wolverines raced out to a 52-16 halftime lead and cruised to their first win of the young season, tying a school record by making 30 free throws (on 35 attempts) in the victory.
Freshman center/forward Stephany Skrba wasted little time in making herself known on the college level, averaging 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game with a .529 field goal percentage (9-17) last week to earn all-tournament team honors and recognition as the year’s first Big Ten Player of the Week. Another freshman, guard Jessica Minnfield, also posted a double-figure scoring average last week, collecting 10.5 points per game, sparked by a 3-of-5 effort from the three-point arc.
Now in her third season at Michigan and 18th season as a college head coach, Burnett owns a sharp 339-177 (.657) career record, and a 20-41 (.328) mark with the Wolverines. Friday’s game is Burnett’s second all-time against Notre Dame – her Southwest Missouri State team lost to the Irish, 78-64 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on March 13, 1998 in Lubbock, Texas.
The Notre Dame-Michigan Series
Notre Dame and Michigan are slated to meet for the 13th time on Friday night, with each side having won six of the first 12 contests in the series. This will be the seventh series matchup at the Joyce Center, where the Irish hold a 5-1 edge, having won the past five home games against the Wolverines since UM claimed a 66-60 overtime victory at the Joyce Center on Dec. 8, 1979, one season before Notre Dame elevated its program from AIAW Division III to Division I status.
The Notre Dame-Michigan series dates back nearly 20 years to the infancy of the Irish women’s basketball program. The Wolverines won the first three games between the two schools, twice in Ann Arbor and scoring 90+ points in both games at Crisler Arena. However, Notre Dame came back to win its next three meetings with Michigan, limiting the Wolverines to less than 60 points in all three victories.
After playing one another in eight consecutive seasons from 1978-79 through 1985-86, the series went on a five-year hiatus before a two-year resumption in 1991-92 and 1992-93 (both games won by the home team). Since then, Notre Dame and Michigan have met just twice, both in tournament settings, with the Irish earning an 88-54 victory in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament, and the Wolverines winning the last matchup, 78-63, on Dec. 2, 2001 at the Women’s College Basketball Showcase in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Last Time ND And Michigan Met
Notre Dame fell to 2-3 on the 2001-02 season following a 78-63 loss to No. 16/17 Michigan on Dec. 2, 2001 in the Women’s College Basketball Showcase at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Junior guard Alicia Ratay poured in a team-high 19 points and freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast added 17 points and nine rebounds to secure BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Week honors. Sophomore guard Jeneka Joyce also turned in a solid performance with 11 points.
Notre Dame jumped out to an early 7-4 lead, thanks to seven quick points from Batteast. Michigan rallied to take the lead, but Ratay’s bucket pulled the Irish within 10-9 at the 14:34 mark of the first half. From there, the Wolverines set Notre Dame on its heels, going on a 28-10 run over the next 10:35 to take a 19-point lead.
The Irish scored the first six points of the second half to pull within 45-33 with 17:54 left. But, Michigan guard Alayne Ingram responded with her third three-point field goal of the game and the Wolverines held Notre Dame in check the rest of the way. Ingram finished with a game-high 22 points and LeeAnn Bies added 18 points and 12 rebounds to pace four UM players who hit double digits in the scoring column.
The Last Time ND And Michigan Met At The Joyce Center
In front of the fourth-largest women’s basketball crowd in Joyce Center history (9,597), second-ranked Notre Dame booked its fourth trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 in five years with an 88-54 victory over Michigan on March 19, 2001.
Senior All-America center Ruth Riley led a quartet of Irish players in double figures with 21 points, connecting on 8-of-11 shots from the floor, to go along with seven rebounds. Senior forward Kelley Siemon added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists, while freshman guard Jeneka Joyce came off the bench to pump in 14 points, knocking down 4-of-8 three-point attempts in the game. Raina Goodlow led Michigan with 16 points, while Stephanie Gandy and Jennifer Smith both ended up with 10 points.
Six first-half three-pointers, three each from Joyce and sophomore guard Alicia Ratay, helped the Irish pull out to a 44-28 halftime lead. Joyce nailed a trey at the horn to help build up Notre Dame’s largest margin to that point.
Michigan, which had made a name for itself during the 2000-01 season with a handful of second-half comebacks (including a 17-point rally in its NCAA opener vs. Virginia), watched the Irish use a 17-6 run to start the second half, as Notre Dame fashioned a 27-point advantage less than five minutes removed from the intermission. The lead ballooned to as much as 37 points prior to the final margin, as all 12 players on the Irish roster scored for the second consecutive NCAA contest.
The victory over Michigan was the second in a six-game streak for Notre Dame that would see the Irish go on to win their first NCAA championship. A full box score from the UM game can be found on page 165 of the Irish women’s basketball media guide.
Other ND-Michigan Series Tidbits
- If history is a guide, Notre Dame’s defensive effort could be a key indicator in the outcome of Friday’s game. In their six victories over Michigan, the Irish have held the Wolverines to less than 60 points five times (only exception: 76-71 on Dec. 5, 1985 at the Joyce Center). Conversely, in UM’s six series wins, it has tallied at least 75 points on five occasions (only exception: 66-60 in overtime on Dec. 8, 1979 at the Joyce Center).
- Notre Dame is 43-19 (.694) all-time against Michigan schools, but hasn’t defeated a team from the Wolverine State since Dec. 12, 2002 (a 71-48 win over Western Michigan at the Joyce Center).
- Notre Dame senior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS) and Michigan junior guard/forward Kelly Helvey (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic HS) are no strangers, having faced one another on several occasions during their high school and AAU careers back in Ohio. Incidentally, Helvey’s alma mater, Toledo Central Catholic, also happens to be the same school that produced a key member of Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA championship team – guard/forward Ericka Haney.
- 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. One of those Michigan natives on the all-time Irish roster is current Notre Dame associate head coach Coquese Washington, who grew up in Flint and played for the Irish from 1989-93 before embarking on a successful pro career in the American Basketball League (ABL) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
- While they didn’t face one another at the time, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw and Michigan head coach Cheryl Burnett crossed paths at the 2001 NCAA Women’s Final Four in St. Louis. McGraw was piloting the Irish to their first national championship, while Burnett had led Southwest Missouri State to its second Final Four appearance (the Lady Bears fell to Purdue in the national semifinals, 81-64).
- McGraw and Burnett both have ties to the now-defunct Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) of the late 1970s-early 1980s. McGraw played with the California Dreams in 1979, while Burnett was a 1980 draft pick of the New Jersey Gems.
Notre Dame vs. The Big Ten Conference
The Irish are 29-43 (.403) all-time against Big Ten Conference teams, although Notre Dame is 17-14 (.548) at the Joyce Center vs. the Big Ten.
Michigan is the first of four Big Ten opponents on Notre Dame’s 2005-06 schedule, with the remaining three games on the road (Nov. 23 @ Indiana; 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 first victory this season, head coach Muffet McGraw will become the 27th women’s basketball coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 500-win mark. McGraw has a career record of 499-196 (.718) in 23 years of coaching, including the past 18 seasons at Notre Dame (411-155, .728).
Here’s a closer look at how the milestone victory will break down for McGraw:
- Should Notre Dame’s first win come prior to Dec. 5, she will be the 10th NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach to register her 500th victory before turning 50 years old.
- McGraw will be the fourth active coach in the BIG EAST Conference to reach the career 500-win mark, joining Stringer (723, as of Nov. 16), Auriemma (559) and Perretta (507).
- She will be 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.
Blowing The Lid Off
Notre Dame is 20-8 (.714) all-time in season openers and takes a 10-game winning streak into Friday’s game with Michigan. The Irish also are 15-3 (.833) in season openers in the Muffet McGraw era, with their last season-opening loss coming on Nov. 26, 1994 (65-60 in overtime to No. 25 Seton Hall).
Notre Dame also has done well in its first home game of the season, going 20-8 (.714) in Joyce Center lidlifters, including an active 10-game winning streak and a 14-4 (.778) under McGraw. The last Irish home-opening loss was Nov. 30, 1994, when 13th-ranked Purdue edged out Notre Dame, 87-83.
Staying Up Late With The Irish
Friday’s 9 p.m. (ET) start marks only the second time ever that Notre Dame has opened with a late tip time following a football pep rally at the Joyce Center. Last season, the Irish started off with a 92-73 victory over Illinois State in the first round of the Preseason WNIT.
Getting An Early Start
If form holds from Notre Dame’s two exhibition games, freshman guard Lindsay Schrader will be in the starting lineup when the Irish open their season Friday night against Michigan. Schrader would be the first Notre Dame rookie to get the call in her college debut since Nov. 18, 2001, when Jacqueline Batteast and Teresa Borton both started in a 42-35 victory over Valparaiso at the Joyce Center.
Exhibition Game #1 Recap: Indianapolis
Senior All-America guard Megan Duffy scored a team-high 18 points to pace four Notre Dame players in double figures as the Irish tipped off their 2005-06 season with an 84-59 exhibition victory over Division II entity Indianapolis on Nov. 1 before a crowd of 5,053 fans at the Joyce Center.
Duffy connected on 7-of-13 shots from the floor, including 4-of-8 from three-point range, and added a game-high seven assists with just one turnover. Sophomore center Melissa D’Amico looked strong as well, collecting 16 points (7-12 FG) and a best seven rebounds. Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader got the starting nod in her first outing and responded with 13 points (6-13 FG), while matching D’Amico’s game-high seven rebounds. Senior forward Courtney LaVere rounded out the double-figure scoring quartet with 10 points (5-9 FG).
As a team, Notre Dame shot 53 percent from the floor (35-of-66) and owned a 40-29 edge on the boards. The Irish also had 25 assists and only 14 turnovers on the evening, with sophomore guard Tulyah Gaines nearly equalling Duffy’s performance with six assists and one turnover.
Notre Dame stormed from the gate with a 15-5 run during the first 6:08 of the contest, getting six points from D’Amico in the stretch. However, Indianapolis rallied back with a 19-7 run of its own and actually took the lead when Mandy Geryak hit a layup at the 9:54 mark.
With the crowd buzzing nervously, the Irish went to work, closing the first half on a 22-7 spurt, with Schrader and LaVere each kicking in six points for the home team. Sophomore guard Amanda Tsipis also contributed during the run with a basket, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in the final four minutes of the period as Notre Dame went to the locker room on top, 44-31.
The Greyhounds kept the margin at 13 points for the first two minutes of the second half. The Irish then iced the game with a 20-8 run that pushed them in front by a 68-43 count on a three-pointer by Duffy at the 8:33 juncture. Notre Dame opened up its largest lead of the night at 84-57 on a short jumper by freshman forward Chandrica Smith with one minute to play.
Exhibition Game #2 Recap: Ferris State
Senior All-America guard Megan Duffy scored a game-high 24 points to pace four Notre Dame players in double figures as the 15th-ranked Irish wrapped up exhibition play with a convincing 96-45 victory over NCAA Division II member Ferris State on Nov. 10 before a crowd of 5,421 at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame now has won 24 of its last 25 exhibition games, including 19 in a row, dating back to 1993. The 51-point margin of victory was the largest for the Irish in exhibition play since another 51-point win (88-37) against Estonia in 1998.
Duffy turned in a superb all-around performance, adding seven rebounds, five assists and a game-best five steals to her 24 points, which she amassed on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point line. Freshman guard Lindsay Schrader complemented Duffy well, finishing with 19 points (8-of-12 FG), four rebounds and four steals in only 22 minutes of action.
Sophomore center Melissa D’Amico offered up a second consecutive solid outing with 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Junior forward Crystal Erwin came alive in the second half and wound up with 12 points.
As a team, the Irish shot 50.8 percent from the floor (31-of-61), highlighted by a sharp .778 mark (7-of-9) from three-point range. Notre Dame also owned a 45-31 rebounding edge, although the Irish trailed in that category by one at the half. In addition, the Irish defense created 30 FSU turnovers, with 24 of those coming on steals.
Ferris State did not appear intimidated by its surroundings, scoring seven of the game’s first nine points and hitting its first three shots in less than two minutes. However, that would be the largest lead of the night for the Bulldogs, as the Irish reeled off a 26-2 run during the next 8:42 and held FSU without a point for nearly eight minutes. Schrader had eight points during the run, which yielded a 28-9 lead for Notre Dame with 9:19 remaining in the first half. The teams then played virtually even for the rest of the period, with the Irish taking a 41-24 lead to the locker room.
Notre Dame left little doubt regarding the game’s outcome with a 15-2 run to open the second half. Ten of the 11 Irish players in uniform found the scoring column, including freshman walk-on forward Christine Trezza, who connected on 1-of-2 free throws late in the contest. Notre Dame opened up its largest lead at 96-43 on D’Amico’s jumper in the paint with 1:15 to play. As further evidence of the sturdy Irish defense, Notre Dame did not allow Ferris State to string together more than three consecutive points in the second half, with the only three-point “run” coming on a trey by Kristin Reinhart at the 3:54 mark.
A box score of this game appears on page 2 of this notes package.
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 entering 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 10 of the first 18 years 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, will focus 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 five seasons, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Irish are 97-8 (.924) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including a 20-1 mark last year (only loss: 70-61 to Arizona State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament).
The Best Offense Is A Good Defenses
During the past decade, 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 150-9 (.943) record when they hold their opponents to less than 60 points in a game. Notre Dame added 21 more wins to that ledger last season.
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 Sixteen six times in the past nine seasons (1997-2004). 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 just six teams nationwide to have an active streak of 12 consecutive 20-win seasons. The others in these elite 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 127 of their last 138 games (.920) 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 was snapped with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the 2002 home finale.
The Irish have been particularly strong when it comes to non-conference games at home, winning 54 of their last 57 non-BIG EAST contests (.947) 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 277-72 (.794) record at the venerable facility. In three of the past 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).
What’s more, each of the top 20 women’s basketball crowds in Joyce Center history have occurred during the 18-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw (1987-present), with 19 of those 20 occurring in the past five seasons (2000-01 to present). Lastly, the Irish have attracted at least 5,000 fans to 65 of their last 67 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. 18 vs. Michigan – Opening Night 2005 â€¢ free popcorn to first 500 fans â€¢ Notre Dame women’s basketball “I Bring The Spirit” t-shirts to first 1,000 fans (courtesy of PJ Marketing) â€¢ fans can get photo taken by professional photographer Michael Bennett from Lighthouse Imaging and free hard copies of those pictures will be available after the game â€¢ post-game autograph session courtside with selected Irish players.
- Nov. 27 vs. USC – Family Day (four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas for $25) â€¢ Notre Dame women’s basketball mouse pads to first 1,000 fans (courtesy of Chili’s and Papa Vino’s) post-game autograph session courtside with selected Irish players.
Next Game: Western Michigan
It’s a quick turnaround for Notre Dame, as the Irish make the hour-long trip north to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a Sunday matinee contest against Western Michigan. Tipoff time from University Arena is set for 2 p.m. (ET) and the game will be televised live on a regional basis by Comcast Local (Cable Channel 3 in South Bend).
Western Michigan will be opening its season with Sunday’s game against Notre Dame. The Broncos split their two exhibition games this year, falling to Hillsdale (72-66) before rebounding to defeat Northwood (93-59).
Notre Dame leads the all-time series with WMU, 7-0, including a 2-0 mark in Kalamazoo, which the Irish last visited in December 1985.