February 2, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame womens basketball team looks to extend its season-high eight-game win streak as the Irish play host to two BIG EAST foes this week. Coach Muffet McGraws squad, off to its best start in school and currently 17-2 overall and 9-2 in league play, entertains 20th-ranked Boston College on Wednesday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m. and also plays host to Seton Hall on Saturday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m.
The Irish climbed to sixth in the Associated Press ranking and remained seventh in the USA Today/ESPN Poll. Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 10 for a school-record 11 consecutive weeks.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW – SYRACUSE: Notre Dame registered its third consecutive 30-point win in earning a 96-61 victory at Syracuse. The Irish, led by Sheila McMillens (Rochester, Ind.) 23 points, had three players scored in double figures. In addition to her team-high 23 points, McMillen equalled her personal best as she grabbed eight rebounds. Ruth Riley (Macy, Ind.) added 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) chipped in 19 points and dished off eight assists. Notre Dame shot 50.7 percent from the field and held the Orangewomen to 34.5 percent shooting and forced 25 turnovers. The Irish trailed just once in the game and built a 26-point lead (37-11) with 9:01 left in the first half. Notre Dame was outrebounded (43-40) for the just the third time this season. PROVIDENCE: Ruth Riley scored a career-high and Notre Dame school-record 41 points and recorded her eighth double-double of the season as she grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Riley was one of three Irish players in double figures as Notre Dame posted its eighth straight win (a season high) with a 97-59 victory at Providence. The 38-point margin in the win marked the fourth straight game the Irish had beaten an opponent by 30-plus points. In addition to setting the single-game points record, Riley also established a new school mark for field goals in a game as she connected on 18-of-22 field goal attempts. Sheila McMillen and Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.) were also in double figures as they added 14 and 13 points, respectively. Notre Dame shot a season-high 59.4 percent from the field and held the Friars to just 23.6 accuracy from the field, the lowest an opponent has shot against the Irish this season. Notre Dame held a 52-37 advantage on the boards.
HEAD COACH MUFFET McGRAW – Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is in her 12th season along the Notre Dame sidelines and 17th as a collegiate coach. She has guided Notre Dame to three straight NCAA tournament appearances and five overall. McGraw led the Irish to the 1997 Final Four as her team claimed the East Regional championship. In 1998, McGraws squad finished with a 22-10 mark and advanced to the Sweet 16. In her 11-plus seasons at Notre Dame, she has a record of 252-107 (.702) and in 16-plus campaigns overall, her teams have registered a 340-148 (.697) ledger.
McGRAW EARNS 250TH CAREER WIN AT NOTRE DAME – Notre Dames 99-60 victory over St. Johns on January 23 gave Irish head coach Muffet McGraw her 250th career win at the school. In 11-plus seasons, her teams have won 20 or more games nine times and have averaged 21.7 wins per season. The Irish, off to their best start in school history at 17-2, are likely to reach the 20-win plateau for the sixth consecutive season.
McGRAW NAMED FINALIST FOR NAISMITH WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD – Muffet McGraw has been named one of 15 finalists for the Naismith Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year award sponsored by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. McGraw has guided the Irish to their best start in school history (17-2) and have held a top 10 ranking in each of the two polls for a school-record 11 consecutive weeks.
SERIES RECORD VERSUS UPCOMING OPPONENT – BOSTON COLLEGE: The series between the two teams is tied at 3-3 after the Eagles beat Notre Dame 78-65 earlier this season in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Boston College is 0-2 in the two games it has played at the Joyce Center. SETON HALL: Notre Dame leads the series 6-2. The Irish have won six straight, including a 40-point victory, 87-47, on January 20. Seton Hall’s last win in the series was on November 11, 1994 when it beat Notre Dame 60-55 in overtime. The Pirates are 2-1 at the Joyce Center.
BIG WINS FOR THE IRISH – Notre Dame has won each of its last four games by 30-plus points and its average margin of victory has been 37.5 points per game. The Irish are averaging 82.5 ppg. this season and 96.7 ppg. in its last four outings.
RILEY HONORED BY BIG EAST FOR THIRD TIME – For the third time this season, Ruth Riley has earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors. She averaged 30.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in Notre Dame’s two road wins time this season, Ruth Riley has been named the BIG EAST Player of the Week. Riley averaged 29.5 points and 10 rebounds in Notre Dame’s two road wins last week. In the 97-59 win at she scored a school-record 41 points and recorded her eighth double-double of the season (17th of her career) as she grabbed 13 rebounds. Riley hit an Irish school-record 18 field goals on 22 attempts. She also posted 20 points and seven rebounds in a 94-61 win at Syracuse. In the two games, Riley shot 77.1 percent (27-35) from the field.
McMILLEN MOVES UP SCORING CHART – Senior guard Sheila McMillen has moved to eighth and needs just 35 points to move into seventh past Margaret Nowlin who played for the Irish from 1988-92 and finished her career with 1,298 points. McMillen became the 14th player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point mark earlier this season. She has a 10.6 career career scoring average and has started 57 of the 119 games she has played in. Currently, McMillen is third on the team with a 15.0 scoring average. She leads the team with eight 20-point outings.
McMILLEN NEARS THREE-POINT MARK – Sheila McMillen hit her 200th career three-pointer in Notre Dame’s victory over St. John’s and became only the second player in Irish women’s basketball history to make more than 200 career three-pointers. Beth Morgan, who played for Notre Dame from 1993-97 and finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer, holds the Irish mark with 231. She also holds the single-season mark with 71 (1995-96). McMillen has 207 career three-pointers and already has 56 on the season. More than half of the 92 field goals she has made in ’98-’99 have come from three-point range.
BIG CROWDS – Notre Dame is averaging 2,862 fans at Joyce Center home games this season. The crowd of 6,384 which saw the Irish defeat St. John’s on January 23 was the third largest in Notre Dame history. Prior to that game, the largest crowd of the campaign was 5,102 when Coach Muffet McGraw’s squad faced the then number-one ranked Connecticut Huskies on December 8.
HELPING PUT THE BIG IN THE BIG EAST – During its three-plus seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame has proven to be one of the league’s most dominant teams. The Irish have a 53-12 record (81.5 percent) in regular season games and a 6-3 mark (66.7 percent) in BIG EAST tournament action for an overall record of 59-15 (79.7 percent) against league opponents. Of Notre Dame’s 15 total league losses, eight have come against Connecticut when the Huskies were ranked among the top three teams nationally. The Irish have lost to four other teams in the BIG EAST – Rutgers (twice), Boston College (twice), Villanova and Miami.
IRISH TOUGH AT HOME AGAINST BIG EAST FOES – Notre Dame has compiled a 30-3 (.909) record against BIG EAST opponents at the Joyce Center since joining the league in 1995-96. The only two losses have been to Connecticut. Notre Dame was a perfect 9-0 at home in league action during the 1996-97 season.
IRISH 3-1 AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS – Notre Dame’s three wins over ranked opponents thus far are the most by an Irish team during the regular season. Coach Muffet McGraw’s squad posted victories over UCLA and Duke, when both teams were ranked sixth in the polls, and also had a win over then 25th-ranked Illinois. Last season, Notre Dame was 0-5 versus ranked opponents until its second round win in the NCAA tournament versus Texas Tech (ranked sixth at the time of the game). Notre Dame has two remaining opponents on its schedule who are ranked in this week’s two polls – Boston College and Rutgers.
DOMINATION ON THE BOARDS – Notre Dame is outrebounding its opponents by an 10.7 margin. The Irish were most dominant against Duke as they outrebounded the Blue Devils 67-34, and were just seven rebounds away from tying the school record of 74. Ruth Riley and Danielle Green combined for 33 of those 67 rebounds as Riley finished with a career-high18 boards, while Green also established a personal best with 15. Riley leads the team with 9.2 rpg., while Green is second in the rebounding column with a 7.3 average. Notre Dame is averaging 45.8 rebounds per game and has only been outrebounded in three games this season (UCLA, Boston College and Syracuse).
BALANCED SCORING ATTACK – Four players are averaging double figures scoring for the Irish this season. Ruth Riley leads the team with 17.8 ppg., followed by Danielle Green (16.1 ppg.), Sheila McMillen (15.8 ppg.), and Niele Ivey (13.1 ppg.). Notre Dame had six players in double figures against St. John’s, and in four other games this season, five players haved scored in double figures. Against Illinois and West Virginia, three players ended up with 20 or more points.
IRISH SCORE HIGH MARKS IN THE CLASSROOM – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team earned a 3.091 cumulative grade point average for the fall semester with four players earning Dean’s List distinction. Diana Braendly (Staten Island, N.Y.) led the team with a 3.917. Danielle Green finished with a 3.834, Ruth Riley posted a 3.619 and Sheila McMillen had a 3.500. Riley has been on the Dean’s List all three semesters at Notre Dame.
(Week of Feb. 1)
LW 1. Tennessee (19-1) 1 2. Purdue (19-1) 2 3. Louisiana Tech (17-2) 3 4. Connecticut (18-3) 5 5. Colorado State (22-1) 6 6. NOTRE DAME (17-2) 7 7. UCLA (17-4) 8 8. Georgia (18-3) 4 9. Duke (17-4) 910. Texas Tech (19-2) 1011. Old Dominion (16-3) 1212. Rutgers (18-4) 1313. North Carolina (21-4) 1414. Virginia Tech (19-1) 1115. Iowa State (15-3) 1616. Virginia (15-5) 1917. Clemson (17-4) 1518. Penn State (16-5) 2119. Auburn (16-4) 1720. Boston College 2221. Alabama (13-7) 2322. Kansas (16-6) 2423. UC Santa Barbara (15-3) 2524 LSU (15-5) NR25. Florida International (16-3) NR
(Week of Feb. 1)
LW 1. Tennessee (19-1) 1 2. Purdue (19-1) 2 3. Lousiana Tech (17-2) 3 4. Connecticut (18-3) 5 5. Colorado State (22-1) 1 6. Georgia (18-3) 4 7. NOTRE DAME (17-2) 7 8. Texas Tech (19-2) 8 9. UCLA (17-4) 910. North Carolina (21-4) 1011. Duke (17-4) 1312. Old Dominion (16-3) 1413. Rutgers (18-4) 1114 Virginia Tech (19-1) 1215. Iowa State (15-3) 1616. Virginia (15-5) 1817. Penn State (16-5) 1718. Clemson (17-4) 1519. UC-Santa Barbara (15-3) 1920. Kansas (16-6) 2321. Auburn (16-4) 2022. Boston College (17-3) 2523. Alabama (13-7) 2124. Ohio State (14-6) 2225. Florida International (16-3) NR
1998-99 BIG EAST STANDINGS
(through games of Jan. 31)
BIG EAST Overall Record Record Connecticut 11-1 18-3Rutgers 10-1 18-4NOTRE DAME 9-2 17-2Boston College 9-3 17-3Georgetown 6-6 12-8Miami 5-6 10-9Villanova 5-6 9-10St. John's 5-7 10-13Syracuse 4-7 8-11West Virginia 4-8 9-11Pittsburgh 3-8 8-11Seton Hall 2-10 5-15Providence 2-10 3-16