Jan. 25, 2003
* Notre Dame unveiled its fourth different lineup this season, sending out sophomore Jacqueline Batteast at forward and sophomore Teresa Borton at center, along with a trio of guards — junior Le’Tania Severe, freshman Megan Duffy and senior Alicia Ratay. It was the first start of Duffy’s young career. Meanwhile, Ratay earned her 114th starting assignment (and 56th in a row), moving her into a tie with Niele Ivey (1996-2001) and Beth Morgan (1993-97) for fourth place on the Irish career games started list. Next up for Ratay are Karen Robinson (116 from 1987-91) and Mollie Peirick (118 from 1994-98).
* Notre Dame collected its first win over a Top 25 opponent in four tries this season, and its first victory over a ranked opponent since a 60-44 conquest of No. 16 Boston College on Feb. 10, 2002 at the Joyce Center. In addition, the Irish notched their first road win over a Top 25 opponent since an 83-56 triumph at No. 19 Wisconsin on Nov. 22, 2000, in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge. Notre Dame now is 8-39 all-time on the road against ranked teams.
* With today’s win, Notre Dame snaps a two-game losing streak to Villanova, earning its first win over the Wildcats since a 64-33 victory at the Joyce Center on Dec. 6, 2000. It also was the first Irish win at Villanova’s Pavilion since Feb. 16, 2000 (a 70-52 verdict), a conquest that marked Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw’s last win in her native region (she was born in Pottsville, Pa., and attended Saint Joseph’s University). Notre Dame now is 12-5 all-time against Villanova, including a 5-4 mark on the Wildcats’ home floor.
* The last three games in the Notre Dame-Villanova series have been decided by a combined total of six points. In the 17-game history of the series, eight games now have been decided by eight points or less.
* Today’s game represented the third time this season Notre Dame has been involved in a game decided by five points or less. The Irish are 2-1 in these nail-biters, downing Colorado State (46-45) and Villanova (58-56), but falling to Rutgers (64-61). Over the last three years, Notre Dame is 7-7 in five-point games, with a 15-13 record in such contests since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 1995-96.
* Notre Dame continues its amazing success away from home, improving to 7-2 outside the Joyce Center (7-1 road, 0-1 neutral). In addition, the Irish have won 11 of their last 13 (and 13 of their last 17) regular-season road games. That’s a far cry from last season, when Notre Dame had seven road victories all year, and the seventh didn’t come until the opening round of the NCAA Tournament (a 58-44 win over New Mexico in Knoxville, Tenn.).
* The Irish connected on 20-of-25 free throws this afternoon at Villanova, good for an even 80 percent success rate. Today’s game marked the ninth time this season Notre Dame has shot 75 percent or better from the foul line, and the sixth time it has cracked the 80-percent barrier.
* Notre Dame picked up its second win in six televised games this season when BIG EAST Television aired today’s win at Villanova. The Irish also registered an 81-52 win at Arizona State on Dec. 7, a game that was broadcast nationally on Fox Sports Net.
* Notre Dame had three players score in double figures today, as freshman Courtney LaVere (20), sophomore Jacqueline Batteast (12) and senior Alicia Ratay (10) all reached the double-digit mark. The Irish now have had at least three double-figure scorers in 14 of their 17 games this season, including 10 of their 11 wins.
* Today’s game marked the first time this season Notre Dame did not make a three-point basket. The last time the Irish went scoreless from beyond the arc was Feb. 13, 2002, when they were 0-15 in a win over St. John’s.
* The Irish tied a season-low with just 12 turnovers (previously set vs. Cleveland State). However, they also matched their low-water mark this year with three steals.
* Notre Dame trends this season: 11-0 when outrebounding opponent; 10-3 when posting higher field goal percentage than opponent; 9-3 when making more free throws than opponent; 5-2 in games decided by 10 points or less; 6-1 when outscoring opponent’s bench.
* The Irish now are 56-2 over the last three seasons when they lead at halftime. Today’s win avenged one of those two losses — Villanova rallied from a six-point deficit to edge Notre Dame, 60-59, in last year’s contest at The Pavilion.
* Notre Dame improved to 109-2 over the last seven seasons when it holds the opposition to less than 60 points. The Irish have turned this trick seven times in 2002-03.
* Villanova set a Notre Dame opponent record for fewest turnovers with just five giveaways this afternoon. The previous mark was six turnovers, set three times (most recently by Virginia Tech on Jan. 26, 2002).
* Villanova tied a Notre Dame opponent record with 33 three-point field goal attempts, matching the mark established by Connecticut on Jan. 15, 2001. The Wildcats’ nine treys equalled the Irish opponent season-high, set twice before.
* Villanova attempted just six free throws this afternoon, tying for the fewest by a Notre Dame opponent this season (USC went 6-for-6 at the line back on Nov. 29).
* VU forward Courtney Mix pulled down an Irish opponent season-high 13 rebounds today, the most against Notre Dame since Purdue’s Mary Jo Noon also had 13 boards on Dec. 6, 2001.
* Freshman forward Courtney LaVere recorded her fifth double-double of the season this afternoon, and her third double-dip against a Top 25 opponent. LaVere’s 12 rebounds tied her career high (vs. Marquette, 12/31/02), and matched the most by an Irish player this season.
* In addition, LaVere was 12-of-16 at the free throw line, setting a Notre Dame freshman record for free throws made. It also was the fifth-highest total by any player in school history, tying her with Meaghan Leahy (12 vs. Fordham, 11/27/00). LaVere’s 16 free throw attempts are the fourth-most by an Irish player, matching Beth Morgan’s total vs. Georgetown on Jan. 25, 1997.
* LaVere has scored in double figures in eight of Notre Dame’s last nine games, including three 20-point outings (part of her team-high four 20-point games this year). In fact, since the Christmas holiday, she is averaging 16.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
* Junior guard Le’Tania Severe canned a pair of clutch free throws with 27 seconds left, helping seal the Irish win. She now is 20-of-24 (.833) at the foul line inside the final five minutes of games this season.
* Freshman guard Megan Duffy turned in a yeoman performance in her first college start, playing a career-high 34 minutes and recording three assists with just one turnover.
* With 10 points today, senior guard Alicia Ratay notched the 83rd double-figure scoring game of her career. That pushed her past Karen Robinson (1987-91) into sole possession of fourth place on the Irish career charts. Ratay also pulled down a season-high nine rebounds, narrowly missing her first double-double of the year.
* Notre Dame returns to action Wednesday when it takes on No. 25 (ESPN/USA Today) Boston College at the Silvio O. Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Tipoff time is slated for 7 p.m. (EST).
— ND —