March 17, 2001
By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame simply had too much for 16th-seeded Alcorn State.
Too much size. Too much skill. Too much depth.
The Lady Braves were able to keep the game close briefly, but No. 2 Notre Dame broke it open with a 15-0 run and the Irish easily advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday with a 98-49 victory.
Ruth Riley was perfect from the floor and the free-throw line while scoring 16 points in only 20 minutes.
“It was fun to watch from the bench,” she said.
Four Irish starters scored in double figures, and all 12 players on the roster scored as Notre Dame shot 54.5 percent for the game.
The top-seeded Irish, who have five players 6-feet or taller, had a 62-34 rebounding advantage over Alcorn State (21-11), which has no players taller than 5-11.
Notre Dame (29-2) will face Michigan in the second round Monday. The winner advances to the Midwest Regional in Denver.
The Irish, wearing green uniforms on St. Patrick’s Day, held Alcorn State to a season-low 21.1 percent shooting. The Lady Braves said it was their shooting, not the Irish defense, that was their biggest problem.
“We just missed a lot of shots,” Cherea Wood said.
Wood, the Lady Braves’ leading scorer at 17.2 points a game, was held to nine points on 4-of-24 shooting. She had only two points in the first half and fouled out with five seconds left in the game.
The Lady Braves used a pair of 3-pointers by Daisha Reed to open a 10-6 lead. They led again 13-11 after Taresha Coleman’s 3-pointer, but then the Irish took control.
“We jumped out pretty good in the first few minutes, but we had some problems with their height down low,” Alcorn State coach Shirley Walker said.
The Irish went on their run when they switched from a 2-3 zone defense to a man.
“Their shooting really surprised us and forced us out of the zone,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said.
Notre Dame also had a 17-0 run and led 47-23 at halftime.
The Lady Braves went 14:11 without making a shot from the floor. Reed finally ended it with a 3-pointer with 14:22 left, making it 61-29.
Riley was 6-for-6 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line while adding seven rebounds. Erica Haney had 14 points and six rebounds, Kelley Siemon had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Alicia Ratay scored 13.
Coleman led the Lady Braves with 15 points.