March 24, 2003

GAME: No. 11 Notre Dame (20-10) vs. No. 3 Kansas State (29-4).
REGIONAL: East, Second Round.
TIME: Tuesday, 9:27 p.m. EST.
SITE: Bramlage Coliseum; Manhattan, Kan.

To make the regional semifinals, Kansas State knows it can’t take anything for granted when it meets Notre Dame in a second-round matchup.

Against 14th-seed Harvard on Sunday, the Wildcats built a 19-point second-half lead but had to stave off a late charge by the Ivy League champion Crimson. Kansas State saw its lead shrink to eight before holding on for a 79-69 victory.

“I was never nervous or worried about them getting control of the game,” said Kansas State forward Kendra Wecker, who scored a team-high 21 points. “We stayed composed, even though they had some huge 3s.”

Nicole Ohlde added 20 points for the Wildcats and Laurie Koehn had 17. Koehn also made five free throws in the final minute to make sure Kansas State would continue to play on its home court.

Notre Dame, which beat sixth-seeded Arizona 59-47 on Sunday, is the lowest-seeded team still alive in the tournament. Irish coach Muffet McGraw, however, noted that her players will not be intimidated playing before 10,000 purple-clad Kansas State fans.

“I like purple,” said McGraw, who quickly added, “Green would be number one.”

Against Arizona, senior guard Alicia Ratay scored nine of her 20 points in a 15-0 second-half run to help the Irish pull the upset.

After going scoreless in Notre Dame’s previous game, a 50-39 loss to Villanova in the Big East quarterfinals, Ratay went 3-for-4 from 3-point range and added nine rebounds and four steals.

“She played the most complete game of the season,” McGraw said. “The only offense I wanted to run was the one that got her the ball. She did it all tonight – steals, scoring, rebounding.”

Kansas State and Notre Dame have never met.

The winner of this game will play second-seeded Purdue in the regional semifinals next Sunday in Dayton, Ohio.

Notre Dame – F Jacqueline Batteast, F Katy Flecky, C Teresa Borton, G LeTania Severe, G Ratay.
Kansas State – F Chelsea Domenico, F Wecker, C Ohlde, G Koehn, G Meghan Mahoney.

Notre Dame – Batteast, 14.5 ppg and 8.3 rpg; Severe, 3.9 apg.
Kansas State – Wecker, 19.3 ppg; Ohlde, 8.9 rpg; Mahoney, 4.8 apg.

Notre Dame – At-large bid, Big East; beat No. 6 Arizona 59-47, first round.
Kansas State – At-large bid, Big 12; beat No. 14 Harvard 79-69, first round.

Notre Dame – 18-8, 10 years.
Kansas State – 6-6, 7 years.