Dec. 3, 2000
By MIKE BRANOM
Associated Press Writer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Notre Dame’s Niele Ivey scored all but two of her 18 points in the decisive first half as the No. 4 Fighting Irish beat North Carolina 78-55 Sunday in the Elite 4 Holiday Classic held at Walt Disney World.
The Irish are off to only their second 6-0 start in the program’s 23 years, and can set the school record for consecutive wins to open a season against Villanova on Wednesday. The 1998-99 team lost in its seventh game to top-ranked Connecticut.
Ruth Riley added 17 points while Ericka Haney added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
North Carolina (3-3) was led by LaQuanda Barksdale’s 14 points. Barksdale, UNC’s leading scorer entering the game, was held to 6-of-24 shooting, but did have 17 rebounds.
This is the Tar Heels’ worst start since 1984, when they also began the season 3-3.
Notre Dame opened up a 20-point lead less than 10 minutes into the game, as Ivey dropped in four 3-pointers and Ruth Ratay added two. Ratay had all 12 of her points in the first half.
The Irish eventually expanded the margin to 23 points with 4:28 remaining in the half. Notre Dame had shot 57 percent (16-for-28) from the field to that point, but then missed its last nine attempts.
The Tar Heels (3-3) shot only 22 percent in the first half and were held scoreless for more than seven minutes spanning halftime.
Notre Dame began the second half on a 9-2 run, and pushed the margin to 30 points, 51-21, with 16:52 to play. The Irish cruised from there and only in the final minute did North Carolina cut the deficit to 20 points.
The Tar Heels received a bad break early in the game when starting guard Juana Brown appeared to injure her right knee while trying to block a shot. She was carried off the court and did not return, but her injury was not believed to be serious.
The Elite 4 Holiday Classic is sponsored by Honda.