Dec. 28, 2000
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ruth Riley came up big for Notre Dame.
The 6-foot-5 senior All-American scored a season-high 23 points to lead the third-ranked Irish to a 70-61 victory over Southern California on Thursday night.
“I think the key was Ruth Riley,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “We were able to get the ball inside and she was able to respond with a big offensive game.”
Before fouling out, Riley also grabbed six rebounds and blocked one shot to help the Irish improve to 11-0.
“They don’t give you anything inside,” Trojan coach Chris Gobrecht said. “It’s very difficult when you have somebody that big and that much of an intimidating presence.”
USC (5-5) used a 15-2 run to narrow its deficit to 44-41 with 13:59 to play. Freshman Jessica Cheeks scored seven points and made two steals during the surge.
The Irish, however, went on a 17-1 run to extend their lead to 61-42 with 8:58 remaining. Riley and reserve Monique Hernandez each scored five points during the run.
“I think (USC) has one of the best defensive teams we’ve played,” Riley said. “They did a good job denying the wings and playing really strong, in-your-face defense.”
Alicia Ratay and Ericka Haney each scored 12 points for Notre Dame, which shot 51.2 percent from the floor. Teammate Niele Ivey added five steals and four assists.
USC freshmen Ebony Hoffman and Aisha Hollans each scored 11 points, and Hoffman had eight rebounds. The Trojans made just 32.8 percent of their field-goal attempts and missed 16 of 33 free throws.