Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

No. 8 Irish Begin Conference Play

Jan. 4, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) – Eighth-ranked Notre Dame looks for its sixth straight win as the Fighting Irish begin their Big East season against West Virginia on Wednesday.

The Irish (9-2) improved to 6-0 at home with a 75-60 victory over Marquette on Sunday.

Senior guard Niele Ivey had 19 points and 12 assists while junior center Ruth Riley scored 18 and grabbed nine rebounds.

With the game tied at 36 early in the second half, Notre Dame went on a 20-6 run over a 10-minute stretch to take control.

The Irish shot 55.2 percent from the field in the second half after a 33.3 percent effort in the first.

Notre Dame held Marquette to 25.8 percent shooting in the second half and 32.8 for the game.

“I was really pleased with our defense, we’re definitely making some strides there,” said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw.

Both Riley and freshman guard Alicia Ratay are averaging 15.5 points. Riley is also grabbing a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game.

During their current winning streak, the Irish are beating opponents by an average of 18.2 points while scoring 77.8.

Notre Dame has topped 80 points four times this season and just missed the century mark with a 99-86 win over North Carolina on Dec. 4.

West Virginia (5-6, 0-1 Big East) dropped a 69-57 decision to Liberty on Sunday.

Junior forward Brandi Batch led the Mountaineers with 17 points and senior guard Christin Annie had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Batch leads West Virginia with 13.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while Annie is scoring 12.5.

Wednesday’s game will be the first of three straight on the road for West Virginia against Big East opponents. The Mountaineers face Pittsburgh on Jan. 8 and top-ranked Connecticut four days later.

West Virginia lost both games against Notre Dame last season and is 30-42 in conference play since joining the Big East in 1995.

Notre Dame has not had a losing campaign in the Big East since joining the conference in the 1994-95 season.

At 59-13, the Irish have the best winning percentage (.819) in their short conference history.