Dec. 31, 2000
Notre Dame, Ind. (AP) – Ericka Haney got off to a great start Sunday, helping Notre Dame move out to its best season start ever.
Haney scored 16 of her 18 points in the first half and added 12 rebounds as third-ranked Notre Dame beat Rice 80-40 to improve to 12-0 for the time.
It was Notre Dame’s 29th consecutive home victory, and gave coach Muffet McGraw 300 wins at the school.
“I think it’s really a great thing for the program,” said McGraw, who was handed a bouquet of flowers by her son as she left the floor. “I don’t think you do anything in this game by yourself.”
Haney was in charge early, scoring 10 of Notre Dame’s first 13 points as the Irish pulled out to a 13-9 lead with 13:20 left in the first half.
“You’d think from the first half we didn’t respect Ericka Haney,” Rice coach Cristy McKinney said, “and that’s not true.”
Haney, a junior, insisted she wasn’t concerned with scoring.
“I told a couple of my teammates I was going to have a career high today in rebounds,” said Haney, who wound up two short of her best rebounding total. “I was really intense about my rebounding. Whatever I got offensively was extra.”
Ruth Riley added 18 points, and Niele Ivey had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Notre Dame, which used a 27-8 run to close the first half with a 40-17 lead.
Kara Liggett led Rice (8-4) with nine points.
Rice shot just 23 percent from the field (14-of-62) while Notre Dame shot 44 percent (28-of-64).
“We just didn’t make any shots,” McKinney said. “We put ourselves in a hole early and then everything snowballed.”
Notre Dame also outrebounded the Owls 58-36, a statistic that jumped out at McKinney.
“A lot of that’s effort,” McKinney said. “Notre Dame gave a great effort on the boards and we didn’t give that same effort.”