December 21, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Seventh-ranked Notre Dame depended on a strong start and strong play by its starters to beat Michigan State 75-64 on Monday.
The Irish (9-1) used a 15-0 run midway through the first half to take command, and never let the Spartans (6-4) get any closer than seven points.
“I was really pleased with how we got off to a big lead early in the game, then we didn’t play with as much intensity,” said Irish coach Muffet McGraw.
The Irish, who relied heavily on their bench for a win last week over South Florida, got only five points from reserves against the Spartans.
But four of the five starters reached in double figures, with Ruth Riley scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds and Danielle Green adding 16 points and 10 rebounds. Niele Ivey added 16 points and five assists, and Sheila McMillen scored 11 points. Kelley Siemon had nine points.
The Irish used the 15-0 run in the first half to open a 30-11 lead. The Lady Spartans broke the 11:32 scoreless streak, starting a 13-2 run that cut the halftime lead to 32-24.
The Irish quickly extended the lead to 15 points early in the second half. The Spartans closed to 67-60 when Christie Pung hit a 3-pointer with 2:15 left. But a layup by Ivey and a pair of free throws by McMillen ensured Notre Dame its second straight victory following a loss to top-ranked Connecticut.
“I guess you have to be pleased when you stay with the seventh-ranked team in the country – but I’m not,” said Michigan State coach Karen Langeland. “I’m not totally disappointed. I thought we played well in stretches, but you can’t win games like this when you give up 27 offensive rebounds.”
The Irish had a 52-27 rebounding advantage.
Maxann Reese led Michigan State (6-4) with 15 points, Becky Cummings had 14, Kristen Rasmussen had 13 and Pernille Dalgaard 10.