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No. 15 Irish Tangle With 20th-Ranked Colorado In WBCA Classic Title Game

Nov. 15, 2003

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2003 WBCA CLASSIC (presented by Basketball Travelers, Inc.)
(#15 AP/#16 ESPN/USA Today) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0)
vs. (#20 AP/#20 ESPN/USA Today) Colorado Buffaloes (1-0)

The Date and Time: Saturday, Nov. 15, 2003, at 8:15 p.m. MT (10:15 p.m. ET in South Bend).

The Site: Coors Events Center (11,064) in Boulder, Colo.

The Radio Plans: All Notre Dame games are broadcast live on WDND-AM (ESPN Radio 1620) and/or WNDV-AM (1490) in South Bend with Sean Stires (play-by-play) and Shawn Lewallen (analysis). These broadcasts also are available through the Notre Dame athletics web site at

Web Site: Notre Dame (, Colorado (

The 15th-ranked Notre Dame women’s basketball team will look to win a tournament title and make a little history in the process when it squares off with No. 20 Colorado in the championship game of the WBCA Classic Saturday at 8:15 p.m. (MT) inside the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo. Never in the 27-year history of the program have the Irish been able to open the season with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents, with this year marking the fourth time Notre Dame has met two straight Top 25 foes to begin a campaign.

The Irish (1-0) tipped off the 2003-04 season in grand style Friday night with a wire-to-wire 77-64 win over No. 22 Auburn in the opening round of the WBCA Classic. Notre Dame scored the first seven points of the contest, boosted its lead to as much as 15 points and then fought off several Tiger challenges to win its ninth consecutive season opener.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast gave every indication that last year’s struggles in the NCAA Tournament are behind her, pumping in a career-high 27 points on 12 of 20 shooting. Junior forward Katy Flecky contributed 17 points and knocked down a career-high three three-pointers to thrill her family and friends who made the trek from her hometown of Lone Tree, Colo.

Colorado (1-0) also opened its season on Friday night at the WBCA Classic, ousting Old Dominion by an 84-67 count. Freshman guard Emily Waner had a successful debut with a game-high 17 points, including five three-pointers, and senior center Tera Bjorklund added 16 points for Colorado, which shot 48 percent (12 of 25) from three-point range.

Bjorklund is a national honors candidate this season after being named a first-team all-Big 12 pick a year ago and logging a team-high 18.5 points per game. Senior guard Kate Fagan also is a threat after averaging 10.9 ppg. last season.

Head coach Ceal Barry is in her 21st season at CU with a 397-215 (.647) record at the school. She is 2-0 all-time vs. Notre Dame.

With eight monogram winners and four starters back in the fold this season, Notre Dame has many of the pieces in place to be a major contender on the national scene. The Irish posted a 21-11 record last season and made their fifth NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in the past seven years, a feat only seven other schools in the country can match. However, although the majority of the 12-player Notre Dame roster has plenty of experience in pressure situations, the key this season will be to use that knowledge and bring the team one step closer to its ultimate goal – the national championship.

The primary strength for the Irish lies in the post, where all three frontline starters return. Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection and an All-America candidate this season after averaging 13.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.56 blocks per game last season. She is one of only five players in school history to score more than 800 points in her first two seasons at Notre Dame. Sophomore forward Courtney LaVere turned in an impressive rookie season, collecting 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last year on the way to a spot on the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team and Freshman All-America honors from Women’ Junior center Teresa Borton has been a mainstay in the paint the past two seasons, averaging 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last season with a team-high .574 field goal percentage. Junior forward Katy Flecky has played all three post positions during her Irish career, while also stepping outside to stretch the defense from the three-point line. Flecky logged 7.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in just over 23 minutes per game last season.

If there’s one area that will be closely scrutinized for Notre Dame this season, it is the backcourt. Senior Le’Tania Severe spent the past two years running the point for head coach Muffet McGraw, but she slides over to the shooting guard position this year in place of the departed Alicia Ratay. While it will be next to impossible to fill the shoes of the best three-point shooter in NCAA history, Severe has shown an ability to knock down long-range shots with strong accuracy, hitting at a .429 clip for her career from beyond the arc. Last season, Severe averaged 7.3 points and 3.8 assists per game, and her playmaking abilities will likely be called upon at times this year. Sophomore Megan Duffy takes over the everyday point guard responsibilities after earning her stripes in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, averaging 6.7 points in helping the Irish reach the Sweet Sixteen. A strong ballhandler with a smooth left-handed shot, Duffy spent much of this past offseason working on her perimeter shooting, hoping to improve on last year’s .242 field goal percentage (.200 from the three-point line).

One thing working in Notre Dame’s favor this season will be its depth. Up front, freshman Crystal Erwin will push for playing time immediately after a stellar prep career that saw her pick up All-America honors from virtually every media outlet as a senior. She averaged 22.3 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game in high school and was chosen as the 2003-04 BIG EAST Co-Freshman of the Year. In the backcourt, a trio of seasoned veterans and a pair of eager rookies will give the Irish added support. Seniors Jeneka Joyce and Monique Hernandez were members of Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA title-winning squad and bring with them the intangible qualities of leadership and a championship attitude. Joyce missed all of last season with various leg injuries, while Hernandez is back after sitting out the last season and a half for personal reasons. Fellow senior Anne Weese joined the Irish as a walk-on midway through last season and also has championship experience, having won a junior college title at Seward County (Kan.) Community College in 2001-02. Entering the fray this year are freshmen guards Breona Gray and Susie Powers. Gray is a speedy, aggressive defender who averaged 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game during her high school career. Meanwhile, Powers was a playmaking guard at one of the nation’s top prep programs (Highlands Ranch HS in Colorado), averaging 13.6 points and 6.8 assists per game on the way to twice earning honorable mention All-America recognition. She also is a perimeter scoring threat, hitting at a 42 percent rate from behind the ring in high school.

Three starters and nine letterwinners have back in the fold for Colorado after the Buffaloes made their sixth NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2003. CU also has added four talented newcomers to the mix and is considered one of the top teams in the always-rugged Big 12 Conference.

The Buffaloes opened their season Friday night with an impressive 84-67 win over perennial national power Old Dominion in the first round of the WBCA Classic. Freshman guard Emily Waner turned in a sparkling debut, coming off the bench to score a game-high 17 points, including five three-point field goals. Three other CU players finished in double digits against ODU, with senior center Tera Bjorklund tallying 16 points, senior guard Kate Fagan adding 13 points and junior guard/forward Veronica Johns-Richardson chiming in with 12 points. As a team, Colorado shot 51.7 percent from the floor and hit 12 of 25 three-pointers, while forcing 29 Old Dominion turnovers.

Bjorklund is considered a national honors candidate by virtually every media outlet, headlined by her selection to the preseason watch lists for the Naismith Award, the State Farm Wade Trophy and the John R. Wooden Women’s Award. The 6-5 post was a first-team all-Big 12 selection last season after averaging a team-high 18.5 points per game and posting a .539 field goal percentage. Fagan capably complements Bjorklund on the perimeter, averaging 10.9 ppg. last season with a solid .387 three-point percentage. The additions of Waner (who shot .524 from three-point range as a high school senior in 2002-03) and redshirt sophomore guard Whitney Law (a transfer from Georgia) make Colorado an even more dangerous team in 2003-04.

Veteran head coach Ceal Barry now is in her 21st season patrolling the sidelines for the Buffaloes, having compiled a 397-215 (.649) record during her tenure in Boulder. She has an overall mark of 480-257 (.651) in her 25th year as a collegiate skipper.

Colorado leads the all-time series with Notre Dame, 2-0, with both previous games having been played at neutral sites. On Dec. 6, 1986, the Buffaloes downed the Irish, 76-53 at the Texas Classic in Austin, Texas. More than eight years later, CU once against upended Notre Dame, winning 91-70 at the Seattle Times Husky Classic. Saturday’s game will mark the first time the Irish and Buffaloes have met at the Coors Events Center.

The Irish are 5-8 (.385) against current Big 12 Conference teams, including a 3-2 record on the road. Notre Dame last played a Big 12 team on March 25, 2003, when it defeated Kansas State in the first-ever matchup between the schools, 59-53 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Manhattan, Kan.

Besides Colorado and Kansas State, Notre Dame has played seven other Big 12 teams – Iowa State (1-0), Missouri (1-0), Nebraska (0-1), Oklahoma (0-1), Texas (1-1), Texas A&M (0-1) and Texas Tech (1-2). The Irish still have yet to match up with Baylor, Kansas or Oklahoma State.

Notre Dame has been extremely successful in the month of November over the last eight seasons. Since the start of the 1995-96 campaign, the Irish are 28-5 (.848) in November games, including wins in 10 of their last 12 games in the month. Notre Dame kept that streak going and opened this season in fine fashion with a 77-64 win over 22nd-ranked Auburn on Friday night.

Notre Dame is wasting little time in squaring off with ranked competition as the Irish take on their second consecutive Top 25 opponent Saturday night (No. 20 Colorado). This represents the fourth time in school history that Notre Dame has opened the season against two consecutive ranked opponents, and the first time since Nov. 26 & 30, 1995, when the Irish bowed to No. 25 Seton Hall (65-60 in overtime) and No. 13 Purdue (87-83).

Over the years, Notre Dame has had most of its success against ranked opponents when it is ranked itself – the Irish are 159-36 (.815) all-time when they takes the floor as a Top 25 team. Notre Dame stands 15th in the Associated Press poll and 16th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll entering Saturday’s game with No. 20 Colorado. See pages 170-172 in the Notre Dame women’s basketball media guide for more information on the Irish against ranked opponents.

Coming into this weekend’s appearance in the WBCA Classic, Notre Dame has played just three games in the state of Colorado in its history. On March 24 and 26, 2001, the Irish defeated Utah (69-54) and Vanderbilt (72-64) at Denver’s Pepsi Center to win the NCAA Midwest Regional and set the stage for their first national championship a week later in St. Louis. Notre Dame returned to the Centennial State on Nov. 21, 2001 to meet Colorado State in Fort Collins – the Rams came away with a 72-66 win. The Irish will get a chance to avenge that loss this season when they make a return visit to CSU on Dec. 29.

As was the case during the exhibition season, this weekend’s WBCA Classic is being played with the experimental court markings that feature the international trapezoid-shaped free throw lane and the international three-point line (which is nine inches farther from the basket than the current distance of 19-9). The NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee is trying out the new court markings in an effort to acclimate teams to the possibility that the international free throw lane and three-point line will be used beginning with the 2004-05 season. The experimental rules are being used in all exhibition games and all certified tournaments (including the WBCA Classic) played prior to Jan. 1, 2004.

Notre Dame has two Colorado natives on its 2003-04 roster – junior forward Katy Flecky (Lone Tree) and freshman guard Susie Powers (Centennial). In addition to being high school teammates at national prep power Highlands Ranch High School, the pair were teammates on the Colorado Hoopsters, one of the country’s premier AAU programs. While with the Hoopsters, Flecky and Powers played alongside Colorado sophomore guard Whitney Law and helped their team win the 2001 AAU national championship. Another CU player, freshman guard Emily Waner also played for the Hoopsters and regularly squared off with Powers during the past two seasons while playing for archrival ThunderRidge High School. Meanwhile, during her high school and AAU days, Flecky often faced yet another CU player, sophomore forward Amber Metoyer, when the latter was playing at Fairview High School in Boulder. Off the court, Notre Dame and Colorado have another connection. Irish head coach Muffet McGraw is a member of the USA Basketball Women’s Collegiate Committee, which is chaired by none other than Colorado radio analyst Carol Callan.

Notre Dame has a record of 32-24 (.571) when playing in a regular-season, multi-game tournament. However, more than half of those losses (14) came before head coach Muffet McGraw arrived on the scene in South Bend 17 seasons ago. In fact, the Irish are 20-10 (.667) in such tournament games in the McGraw era, including a 9-3 (.750) mark since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96. What’s more, Notre Dame has won its last six in-season tournament games, claiming titles at the 1996 Comfort Inn Downtown Classic, and the 2001 Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge.

When it comes to regular-season tournament championship games, such as the one Notre Dame will take part in Saturday night, the Irish are 9-5 (.643), including a 5-2 (.714) ledger in the McGraw era.

Four of the nation’s premier women’s basketball coaches have converged on Boulder this weekend for the WBCA Classic. Counting Friday’s games, Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, Auburn’s Joe Ciampi, Colorado’s Ceal Barry and Old Dominion’s Wendy Larry have 85 years and 2,744 games worth of head coaching experience, with all four having spent at least 16 years at their current school and 19 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Their collective resume is mind-boggling – the quartet has a combined record of 1,945-799 (.709), good for an average of better than 22 wins per season. They also have led their teams to 51 NCAA Tournament appearances, 27 Sweet Sixteen berths, six Final Fours and one national championship (McGraw’s crown at Notre Dame in 2001).


  • Notre Dame will claim the 10th regular-season tournament title in school history and its first since the 2001 Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge.
  • The Irish will register their seventh consecutive victory when playing in a regular-season, multi-game tournament (a streak that dates back to the 1996 preseason WNIT).
  • Notre Dame will open the season with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents for the first time in the 27-year history of the program.
  • The Irish will earn their first win over Colorado in three tries.
  • Notre Dame will improve to 6-8 (.429) all-time against the Big 12 Conference, including a 4-2 (.667) mark on the road.
  • The Irish will start the season at 2-0 for the sixth time in the past nine years.
  • Notre Dame will rise to 29-5 (.853) when playing in the month of November during the past nine seasons and collect its 11th win in the last 13 November contests.
  • Head coach Muffet McGraw will see her record at Notre Dame rise to 365-138 (.726) in 17 seasons under the Golden Dome. She also will watch her career ledger improve to 453-179 (.717) in 22 years at the college level.
  • The Irish will raise their all-time record to 529-237 (.691) in 27 seasons of varsity competition.

No. 15 Notre Dame scored the first seven points of the game and never looked back, defeating 22nd-ranked Auburn, 77-64 in the opening round of the WBCA Classic Friday night in Boulder, Colo. The Irish shot an even 50 percent from the field (24 of 48), including 46.7 percent of their three-point tries (seven of 15), to win their season opener for the ninth consecutive season and knock off a ranked opponent in their first game of the year for the second time in school history (and the first time since 1998).

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast was a major catalyst for Notre Dame, scoring a career-high 27 points on 12 of 20 shooting. Junior forward Katy Flecky had a triumphant return to her home state with 17 points, including a trio of three-point field goals, and four other players added at least seven points in the contest. The Irish defense also played a key role, forcing 23 Tiger turnovers and limiting Auburn to a .362 field goal percentage.

Notre Dame went on the offensive from the opening tip, racing out to a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game. The Irish widened the gap to 12 points when Batteast hit a transition layup for a 21-9 advantage at the 9:34 junction. Auburn then clawed its way back, going on an 18-8 run to pull within 29-27 on a layup by Natasha Brackett with 2:22 remaining in the half. However, Notre Dame closed out the period on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a rare three-pointer from senior guard Monique Hernandez, to take a 36-27 lead into the intermission.

The teams traded scores for the first five minutes of the second half, as the Irish matched every Auburn parry with a thrust of their own. Notre Dame then seemed to have put the Tigers down for good with a 13-4 run midway through the second half, going up by a 59-44 count on Batteast’s jumper with 11:31 to play. The Tigers still had a little left in their tank and mounted another charge, getting as close as four points twice, the second coming on two Tia Miller free throws with 5:21 left. In the end, that would be the limit for Auburn, as Flecky buried her third triple of the night on Notre Dame’s next possession and the Irish canned all eight of their free throws in the final 4:08 to seal the victory.

At least for one night, junior forward Jacqueline Batteast put to rest the memory of her 6-for-43 (.140) shooting performance in last year’s NCAA Tournament. The South Bend native erupted in the season-opening win over No. 22 Auburn, pouring in a career-high 27 points on 12 of 20 shooting, breaking her previous personal best of 26 points, which she achieved twice (vs. Providence and Virginia Tech in the 2001-02 season). She also added a career-high tying five steals against the Tigers.

Batteast is a candidate for numerous postseason honors, including the Naismith Award, the State Farm Wade Trophy and the John R. Wooden Women’s Award. She will be facing another candidate for those awards on Saturday night, as she goes up against Colorado’s Tera Bjorklund.

Junior forward Katy Flecky had a wildly successful return to her home state on Friday night, piling up 17 points, including a career-high three three-point field goals, in Notre Dame’s 77-64 win over No. 22 Auburn. Coming into this season, the Lone Tree, Colo, product had made just seven treys in her two-year career and never more than one in a game.

Flecky also has enjoyed playing in season openers during the past two years, averaging 18.5 points per game in annual lidlifters (she had a career-high 22 points in the 2002 season opener vs. Cleveland State).

In her first game in a Notre Dame uniform in more than 18 months, senior guard Monique Hernandez played a key role in a 77-64 Irish win over 22nd-ranked Auburn. With many of her family and friends in town from Rio Rancho, N.M., Hernandez scored seven points, hitting all three of her shots from the floor. However, it may have been her three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the first half that proved most critical – it helped blunt a late Tiger rally and gave the Irish a nine-point lead at halftime. Ironically, Hernandez is not normally regarded as a three-point threat, having hit just one trey in her college career and that came nearly four years ago on Dec. 8, 1999 at Purdue.

Capitalizing on its strong finish last season, Notre Dame has been ranked in both major national preseason polls. The Irish are 15th in the first Associated Press poll of the year, marking the seventh time in eight years that Notre Dame has begun the season by appearing in that poll. They were 20th in 1996-97, 17th in 1998-99, seventh in 1999-2000, sixth in 2000-01, 15th in 2001-02 and 10th in 2002-03.

The Irish also were tabbed 16th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. Like the AP survey, this is the seventh time in the past eight seasons that Notre Dame has appeared in the preseason coaches’ poll – the Irish were 25th in 1996-97, 19th in 1998-99, ninth in 1999-2000, fifth in 2000-01, 14th in 2001-02 and 12th in 2002-03.

Notre Dame has a full stable back in the fold this season, with four starters and eight monogram winners returning from last year’s club that advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time in seven seasons. Numerous media outlets have taken notice of these facts and have pegged the Irish high in the their preseason rankings. Seven of those publications have ranked Notre Dame in the Top 20 in the country to begin this season – Athlon Sports (13th), Basketball Times (13th), Women’s Basketball Magazine (16th), Street & Smith’s (17th), Women’s Basketball News Service (17th), Full Court Press (18th) and Lindy’s Annual (18th). In addition, Women’ had the Irish ranked 14th in its “Final Early Bird Top 50 for 2003-04.”

According to a preseason survey of the BIG EAST Conference coaches, Notre Dame will finish third in the conference this season. Those were the results released at the league’s annual Media Day Oct. 30 in Newark, N.J. The Irish earned 139 points, placing them behind two-time defending national champion Connecticut (169 points, 13 first-place votes) and Rutgers (156 points, one first-place vote) in the preseason poll. Virginia Tech was fourth, followed by Boston College, Miami and Villanova. All seven of those schools qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season, with Notre Dame, Connecticut, Boston College and Villanova all advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

Notre Dame is beginning its ninth season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference in 2003-04. The Irish have gone 112-24 (.824) all-time in regular-season conference games, posting the best winning percentage in league history. Connecticut is second with a .773 success rate. Notre Dame also has finished either first or second in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings six times, including a share of the BIG EAST title in 2000-01.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind.) is one of 30 players who were named to the 2003-04 John R. Wooden Women’s Award Preseason All-America Team on Aug. 13. Based on a vote of the Wooden Women’s Award National Advisory Board, these 30 players are considered the top candidates for the inaugural Wooden Women’s Award, which will be presented to the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player at the conclusion of the ’03-04 season.

Batteast is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection who started every game for the Irish last season, leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.56 bpg.). She also ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in those categories, as well as steals (1.97 spg.) and double-doubles (8). In addition, the 6-2 wing scored in double figures 26 times, topped the 20-point mark five times, and earned game-high rebounding honors of 14 occasions. She ranks among Notre Dame’s career leaders in scoring average (6th – 13.8 ppg.) and rebounding average (tie-2nd – 8.1 rpg.), and she is one of only five players in school history to amass at least 800 points in her first two seasons under the Golden Dome.

Batteast is one of five BIG EAST players named to the Wooden Preseason All-America Team, joining Rebekkah Brunson of Georgetown, Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers, and the Connecticut duo of Ann Strother and Diana Taurasi. In mid-January, the Wooden Women’s Award Committee will release its Midseason Top 20 List, followed in March by the official voting ballot which will consist of the top 10-15 players who have proven their success in the classroom (minimum 2.0 grade-point average) as well as on the court. More than 250 voters, comprised of sports media members and women’s college basketball experts around the country, will then cast their votes for the five-member Wooden All-America Team and the Wooden Award winner.

Although the 2003-04 season marks the debut of the Wooden Women’s Award, the honor initially was created in 1976 to recognize the top male collegiate basketball player in the nation. Past winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84) and Tim Duncan (’97).

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast is one of 35 players who were selected to the 2003-04 State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List on Aug. 20 by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Based on a vote of committee members which include leading coaches, journalists and basketball administrators, these 35 players are considered the top candidates for the State Farm Wade Trophy, which will be presented to the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player at the conclusion of the ’03-04 season.

Batteast is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection who started every game for the Irish last season, leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.56 bpg.). She also ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in those categories, as well as steals (1.97 spg.) and double-doubles (8). In addition, the 6-2 wing scored in double figures 26 times, topped the 20-point mark five times, and earned game-high rebounding honors of 14 occasions. She ranks among Notre Dame’s career leaders in scoring average (6th – 13.8 ppg.) and rebounding average (tie-2nd – 8.1 rpg.), and she is one of only five players in school history to amass at least 800 points in her first two seasons under the Golden Dome.

Batteast was one of five BIG EAST players named to the ’03-04 Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List, joining Rebekkah Brunson of Georgetown, Ieva Kublina of Virginia Tech, Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers and last year’s Wade Trophy recipient, Diana Taurasi of Connecticut.

The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 27th year, is named after Margaret Wade, the late Delta State University coach who won three national championship in the mid-1970s. The Wade Trophy is considered the one of the most prestigious individual awards in women’s college basketball and is organized by the WBCA, in conjunction with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS).

Adding to her armload of preseason hardware, junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind.) was named a preseason honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith’s in the magazine’s annual basketball preview issue. It’s the third preseason honor for the talented 6-2 wing, who is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection. She also was the 2001-02 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year and a WBCA/Kodak honorable mention All-American that season, as well as the unanimous choice for BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind.) and freshman forward Crystal Erwin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) both received preseason recognition in a vote of the BIG EAST Conference coaches that was released at the league’s annual Media Day on Oct. 30 at the Newark (N.J.) Liberty Airport Hilton. Batteast was a preseason first-team all-BIG EAST selection, while Erwin was named the Preseason BIG EAST Co-Freshman of the Year, sharing the honor with Connecticut’s Liz Sherwood.

Batteast led the Irish in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.), blocked shots (1.56 bpg.) and double-doubles (8), ranking among the BIG EAST leaders in all four categories. She is a two-time second-team all-conference selection and is one of only five players in school history to score 800 points in her first two seasons at Notre Dame.

As a senior last year at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Erwin earned All-America honors from Parade, Street & Smith’s and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and also was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-America Game in Atlanta. She averaged 22.3 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game during her storied prep career, averaging double-doubles during both her junior (24.9 ppg., 14.9 rpg.) and senior seasons (21.2 ppg., 10.2 rpg.). She holds career records at St. Paul for points (2,720), rebounds (1,630) and blocks (380), as well as the school single-season scoring mark (869 in 2001-02). She follows Batteast as the second Irish rookie in three years to be chosen the BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast is among 30 preseason candidates named to the watch list for 2003-04 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Awards which are presented annually by the Atanta Tip-Off Club. The Naismith Awards program, now in its 36th year, honors the outstanding male and female college basketball players in the United States. The awards program was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an organization dedicated to recognizing the achievements of student-athletes in basketball. The candidates were selected by a vote of the Board of Selectors comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball analysts.

Batteast is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection who started every game for the Irish last season, leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.56 bpg.). She also ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in those categories, as well as steals (1.97 spg.) and double-doubles (8). In addition, the 6-2 wing scored in double figures 26 times, topped the 20-point mark five times, and earned game-high rebounding honors of 14 occasions. She ranks among Notre Dame’s career leaders in scoring average (6th – 13.8 ppg.) and rebounding average (tie-2nd – 8.1 rpg.), and she is one of only five players in school history to amass at least 800 points in her first two seasons under the Golden Dome.

The Naismith Award is the latest in a series of preseason honors for the Batteast. She was named a preseason All-American by both the John R. Wooden Women’s Award and Street & Smith’s magazine, and she also was selected to the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List. In addition, she was chosen as a first-team all-BIG EAST choice, according to a vote of the league’s head coaches.

Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Irish are 63-4 (.940) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead..

Over the last nine 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 114-4 (.966) record when they hold their opponents to less than 60 points in a game.

Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. Over the last nine seasons (1995-96 to present), the Irish are 85-3 (.966) 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 is one of only eight schools in the country to have appeared in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen five times in the past seven seasons (1997-2003). The others are Connecticut (seven times), Tennessee (seven times), Duke (six times), Louisiana Tech (six times), North Carolina (five times), Old Dominion (five times) and Texas Tech (five times).

The Irish are one of just six teams nationwide to have an active streak of 10 consecutive 20-win seasons. The others in these elite club are Tennessee (27), Texas Tech (14), Louisiana Tech (12), Old Dominion (12) and Connecticut (10).

For the first time since the 1998-99 season, the Irish will be wearing white uniforms at home this season, eschewing the golden togs they sported for the past four seasons. Notre Dame has worn white uniforms on numerous occasions on the past, dating as far back as the school’s first varsity women’s basketball squad, which took the floor in 1977-78. Blue will continue to be the primary color for the Irish road uniforms.

The newest addition to the Notre Dame coaching staff is Jonathan Tsipis, who was hired on May 13, 2003. Tsipis (pronounced SIP-iss) comes to Notre Dame following one season as the director of men’s basketball operations at UNC Greensboro, working under former Irish assistant coach Fran McCaffery.

Prior to arriving at UNC Greensboro, Tsipis spent two seasons as an assistant men’s coach at Elon (N.C.) University. While there, he worked primarily with the Phoenix’s perimeter players and also helped coordinate the team’s scouting and recruiting efforts. In addition, he was responsible for organizing the team’s travel plans and off-season workout programs.

Tsipis came to Elon after one year as the top assistant men’s coach at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. He also spent three seasons on the men’s basketball staff at Cornell University (one as a full-time assistant, two as a volunteer aide), and one year as a student assistant men’s basketball coach at Duke University. In the latter role, he served under legendary Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski and worked alongside current University of Missouri head men’s basketball coach Quin Snyder.

In addition to his coaching duties, Tsipis also serves as the President of the Future Hoopsters Basketball Camp which he founded in 1991. The four-week camp, which focus on specialized individual instruction, originated with 13 campers and now brings in over 100 each summer. He also worked at the Basketball Camp USA in Letahoria, Greece, in July of 2001. There, Tsipis worked clinics for top-ranked junior players from Greece and Macedonia, focusing on perimeter and ball handling skills.

A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Tsipis graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree in Pharmacy. He and his wife, Leigh, reside in South Bend.

Notre Dame has won 182 games over the last eight seasons, which stands as the sixth-most wins of any school in the country during that time.

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 85 of their last 92 games at the 11,418-seat Joyce Center, including a school-record 51-game winning streak from 1998-2002 (at the time, it was the 10th-longest string in NCAA history).

Notre Dame also has a 61-7 (.897) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the Joyce Center, sporting a 31-game winning streak at home before it was snapped with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the 2002 home finale.

Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the Joyce Center, posting a 248-70 (.780) record at the venerable facility. In both the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons, the Irish were a perfect 15-0 at home, setting a school record for home wins in a season. Also, since joining the BIG EAST prior to the 1995-96 season, Notre Dame is 98-9 (.916) at the Joyce Center.

For the third consecutive season, Notre Dame finished among the Top 10 in the nation in attendance for 2002-03. The Irish averaged 7,132 fans for their 13 home games last season, good for eighth in the final NCAA attendance rankings. Last season also saw Notre Dame register two of the top 10 crowds in school history, including a season-high gathering of 9,483 fans, the fifth-largest in school history for the nationally-televised matchup with Purdue on Jan. 4.

All of the top 20 crowds in the Irish record book have occurred during the 17-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw (1987-present). And, as more evidence of Notre Dame’s rapid elevation to “hot ticket” status in South Bend, 19 of the top 20 crowds in school history have been recorded in the last four seasons.

Historically, Notre Dame has always played a difficult schedule and 2003-04 is more evidence of that fact. The Irish will play no less than 17 teams that qualified for postseason play last year, including 12 NCAA Tournament squads and six that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen (highlighted by two-time defending national champion Connecticut and NCAA runner-up Tennessee). In addition, five opponents (Connecticut, Purdue, Tennessee, Valparaiso and Villanova) won the regular-season or tournament title in their respective conference. Furthermore, 19 of the 26 possible Irish opponents finished with records of .500 or better last season, including 12 squads that posted 20-win campaigns. All told, Notre Dame opponents had a combined winning percentage of .610 last season (490-313).

With all of this in mind, Notre Dame’s 2003-04 schedule has been ranked 22nd in the nation, according to the preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/Summerville RPI.

Based on its success in recent years, Notre Dame continues to be a favorable television draw and the 2003-04 season will be no exception. The Irish are slated to play on the small screen no less than seven times in the coming campaign, including three appearances on national television.

Notre Dame will make its ’03-04 television debut Dec. 7 at Washington in a matchup that will be shown to a national cable audience on Fox Sports Net. The Irish are back on coast-to-coast television Jan. 4 when they visit Purdue for the inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. That contest will be shown live on ESPN2.

In addition, Notre Dame has been selected to appear on the BIG EAST Conference television package four times this season, including three home games. The Irish will take on Virginia Tech (Jan. 10), Villanova (Jan. 24) and Boston College (Jan. 31) at home and travel to Rutgers (Feb. 28) for games in front of the BIG EAST TV cameras. Those games may be seen on a regional basis in several major East Coast markets, including New York, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, as well as South Bend, where WHME-TV will show the games on a delayed basis.

It also was recently announced that Notre Dame will make a third national TV appearance during the 2003-04 regular season. The Feb. 25 game between the Irish and Miami at the Joyce Center will be broadcast live by College Sports Television (CSTV) and will tip off at 8 p.m. (ET) – some early schedules initially had this game listed one hour earlier.

The semifinals of this year’s BIG EAST Championship presented by State Farm also will be broadcast on the BIG EAST television package Monday, March 8 at 6 and 8 p.m. (ET) from the Hartford (Conn.) Civic Center. WHME-TV in South Bend will carry those games live. The championship game will air live on ESPN2 on Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. (EST).

After a two-year absence, the Joyce Center once again will be home to NCAA Tournament competition as Notre Dame was selected to be one of 16 sites for first- and second-round games in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Action at the South Bend subregional will take place Sunday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 23, with exact tipoff times and potential television broadcasts to be determined by the NCAA during the week leading up to the competition.

Should Notre Dame qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in school history (and the ninth consecutive season), the Irish are guaranteed to play at home. Notre Dame has played five NCAA tourney games at the Joyce Center in its history, going 4-1 and and advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2000 and 2001 (the Irish went on to win the national championship in the latter season).

Tickets for NCAA Tournament games at the Joyce Center currently are available only to Notre Dame season ticket holders, who have a priority option to purchase seats for the event. Tickets for the Sunday and Tuesday sessions will go on sale to the general public Monday, Dec. 1. Single-game tickets will not be made available until after the field of 64 is announced on March 14. For more information on how to purchase tickets for the 2004 NCAA Tournament at the Joyce Center, contact the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356.

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 1620) and WNDV-AM (1490) in South Bend. Veteran broadcaster and AMP sports director Sean Stires is now in his fourth season handling the play-by-play for Notre Dame, while AMP sports personality Shawn Lewallen begins his second season providing analysis. The Irish also can be heard on the Internet at Notre Dame’s official athletics website ( by subscribing to Fighting Irish Pass, which gives listeners full access to a variety of Irish athletics events on radio for only $6.95 per month.

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw tried her hand at writing during the past year and has co-authored a book with Bradley University professor Paul Gullifor entitled “Courting Success: Muffet McGraw’s Formula For Winning In Sports And In Life.” The book, which currently is in bookstores nationwide and may be purchased through on-line booksellers such as, touches on how, in the shadows of the nation’s most storied football program, McGraw has quietly built the women’s basketball program into a national power.

Women’s basketball has been one of the University’s most consistently successful varsity sport during the past 16 years, qualifying for the postseason 13 times, including 10 trips to the NCAA Tournament, five NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances and two Final Fours berths. The team’s rise to national prominence was then cemented with a national championship in 2001. In short, the Notre Dame women’s basketball program has been steadily built into a perennial national championship contender, and its architect for those 16 years has been McGraw. As the Irish head coach, the Pottsville, Pa., native has won 363 games at Notre Dame, has a stellar .725 winning percentage and was the consensus 2001 national Coach of the Year.

Personal accolades aside, McGraw has always been more concerned with off-court success than the progress of her teams. Accordingly, this book is a motivational and inspirational book in which she shares her ingredients for success – on and off the court. It provides lessons for those aspiring toward success in basketball, and in life, while illustrating why Muffet McGraw is one of college basketball’s most accomplished coaches.

Here’s a rundown of some upcoming promotions and giveaways at future Notre Dame women’s basketball games this season (additional promotions and giveaways may be added at a later date):

  • Dec. 4 vs. Wisconsin – Notre Dame player trading cards to the first 2,500 fans
  • Dec. 22 vs. USC – Holiday Celebration
  • Jan. 10 vs. Virginia Tech – Hawaiian Luau Day
  • Jan. 13 vs. Connecticut – Irish Celebration (blinking shamrocks to first 5,000 fans)
  • Jan. 24 vs. Villanova – Fiesta Day (Notre Dame sombreros to the first 2,000 fans)

Notre Dame will open the home portion of its 2003-04 schedule Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. (ET) against Valparaiso at the Joyce Center. The Irish have won all 16 meetings in the series with the Crusaders, dating back to the first season of Notre Dame women’s basketball in 1977-78. The perfect 16-0 record also is the best against one opponent in school history. The Irish are 12-4 in home openers under head coach Muffet McGraw and have won their last eight Joyce Center lidlifters, coinciding exactly with Notre Dame’s membership in the BIG EAST Conference (1995-96 to present).