March 12, 2001

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame’s Joyce Center will be the site for one of four Midwest subregionals this weekend, consisting of games in the first two rounds of the 2001 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. This marks the second consecutive season the Joyce Center has served as host of a subregional. The first-round games will be played Saturday, March 17, at 11 a.m. The winners advance to play a second-round contest on Monday, March 19, at 7 p.m. The winner of that game advances to the Midwest Regional semifinals at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.

The eighth-seeded Michigan Wolverines (18-11) tip off the tournament with the ninth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers (18-13) in the first game Saturday. The second game, starting 30 minutes after the conclusion of that game, will feature the top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish (28-2) versus the 16th-seeded Alcorn State Lady Braves (21-10). The Michigan-Virginia game and Monday’s second-round contest will both be broadcast live on ESPN.

mich_logo_75.gifMichigan: Michigan earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and fourth time in school history. The Wolverines received an at-large bid to the tournament after going 18-11 in the regular season and finishing fifth in the Big Ten Conference with a 10-6 record. The Wolverines played a formidable non-conference schedule, as six of the 11 games out of conference were against NCAA Tournament teams. Overall, Michigan was 7-8 against tournament teams, including a 69-66 upset of sixth-ranked Louisiana Tech in the season opener.

Michigan is 1-3 in NCAA Tournament play with its only victory coming in its first-ever appearance, in the first round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament against Oklahoma State 77-68. This year’s number-eight seeding matches the best in school history, equaling the Wolverines’ seeding from last season. In the 2000 tournament, Michigan lost to ninth-seeded Stanford 81-74 in overtime in Athens, Ga.

The Wolverines are led by sophomore center LeeAnn Bies, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. An all-Big Ten honorable mention selection, she also leads the team in blocked shots (1.17) and shoots 51 percent from the field. A pair of guards also received all-conference honorable mention recognition for Michigan — junior Alane Ingram and senior Anne Thorius. Thorius averages a team-best 4.7 assists per game, while Ingram is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game and also averages 4.0 assists per contest. Ingram ranks second and Thorius third in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio. Michigan is coached by Sue Guevara, who is in her fifth season and has guided the Wolverines to three NCAA Tournament appearances in her tenure.

Coach Sue Guevara

Senior Anne Thorius


Virginia: Virginia’s berth in this year’s NCAA Tournament marks the 18th straight appearance by the Cavaliers. Virginia received an at-large bid in 2001 after finishing 18-13 in the regular season and tying for fifth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an 8-8 league ledger. The Cavaliers faced 12 teams selected to play in the 2001 NCAA Tournament and compiled a 7-11 record against them.

Virginia has competed in every NCAA Tournament since 1984, a streak that is the third-longest in the nation behind Tennessee and Louisiana Tech’s streaks of 20 consecutive appearances. The Cavaliers are 29-17 (.630) all-time in the tournament, including three consecutive trips to the Final Four from 1990-92. Virginia has reached the Sweet 16 on 12 occasions, including 11 straight appearances from 1987-97. The only other time Virginia was in the Midwest region was 1991, when the top-seeded Cavaliers advanced to the national title game before falling to Tennessee, 70-67, in overtime. In the 2000 tournament, fourth-seeded Virginia played host to a subregional and defeated 13th-seeded Pepperdine (74-62) and fifth-seeded Boston College (74-70) before falling to top-seeded and eventual national runners-up Tennessee 77-56 in the regional semifinals in Memphis, Tenn.

First-team all-ACC center Schuye LaRue leads Virginia in scoring and rebounding this season with averages of 17.9 points and 11.9 rebounds. The sophomore finished the regular season as the top rebounder in the ACC and ranked fifth in the nation. LaRue also was the leading scorer in ACC games (19.5). Senior forward Svetlana Volnaya was an honorable mention all-conference selection and is the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.6 points per game.

The Cavaliers are coached by Debbie Ryan, who is in her 24th season at the helm of the Virginia program and has accumulated a career record of 544-196, an average of nearly 23 wins per season. Ryan has recorded 20 or more wins in a season 18 times and has registered 30 or more wins twice. She has been named ACC Coach of the Year seven times and has won 11 regular-season conference crowns.

Coach Debbie Ryan

Sophomore Schuye LaRue


Alcorn State: After earning its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth a year ago, Alcorn State returns to the tournament this season. The Lady Braves received an automatic bid to the 2001 NCAA Tournament after winning their sixth Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament title. Alcorn State was 21-10 in the regular season and finished 15-3 in conference play to win the regular season SWAC championship. The Lady Braves defeated Grambling State last weekend in the final of the SWAC Tournament 86-74 to secure Alcorn State’s second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. In the Lady Braves’ first NCAA appearance, Alcorn State also received a No. 16 seed and lost in the first round to top-seeded Louisiana Tech 95-53 in Ruston, La.

The Lady Braves feature senior forward and All-America candidate Cherea Wood. Wood was named the SWAC Player of the Year this season and has been an all-SWAC first-team selection for two straight seasons. Wood has also won the SWAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player award in each of the past two seasons. She leads the Lady Braves in scoring (17.2), rebounding (7.7), assists (4.24), steals (2.07), field-goal percentage (.481), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.43), blocked shots (0.76) and free-throw percentage (.778). She is among the conference leaders in seven categories, including ranking fourth in scoring and rebounding and second in assists. She is fourth on the Alcorn State all-time lists for both scoring and rebounding.

Alcorn State is coached by Shirley Walker, who is in her 23rd season as head coach of the Lady Braves. She holds a 384-248 career record and was named SWAC Coach of the Year in 2000-01 for the ninth time in her career. Walker has won 10 regular-season conference titles and six SWAC tournament championships.

Coach Shirley Walker

Senior Cherea Wood

nd_sm.gifNotre Dame: The Fighting Irish are playing in their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament and eighth overall after receiving an at-large bid and their first number-one seeding in school history. Notre Dame is having its best season in the 24-year history of the program. The Irish are 28-2, were co-champions of the BIG EAST Conference (15-1 record) and reached the conference tournament title game. Notre Dame is currently ranked second after being ranked number one in the nation twice this year for a total of five weeks. The Irish played 11 games against NCAA Tournament teams and were 9-2 against those teams. Notre Dame currently holds a 36-game winning streak at the Joyce Center.

The Irish are 10-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and have advanced to the Sweet 16 three of the last four seasons, including a Final Four appearance in 1997. Notre Dame has won its last five first-round games. Last season, the Irish were seeded second and played host to a subregional in the tournament. They beat 15th-seeded San Diego (87-61) and seventh-seeded George Washington (95-60) to advance to the regional semifinals, where they lost to Texas Tech 69-65.

All-American and BIG EAST Player of the Year Ruth Riley has been the center of the Irish attack for the past four seasons. The senior center leads the BIG EAST in scoring (17.8) and ranks in the top five nationally in blocked shots (3.1) and field-goal percentage (.627). Riley is the third-leading scorer in school history. In addition, All-America candidate and all-BIG EAST first-team selection Niele Ivey leads the team and is ranked in the top three in the BIG EAST in assists (6.97), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.20) and steals (2.47). Sophomore guard Alicia Ratay leads the nation in three-point field-goal percentage (.526).

Notre Dame is coached by 2001 BIG EAST Coach of the Year Muffet McGraw, who is in her 14th year with the Irish and 19th as a collegiate coach. She holds a 316-117 (.730) record at the school and is 404-158 (.719) overall. She has led Notre Dame to eight consecutive 20-win seasons and eight NCAA Tournament berths.

Pre- and post-game quotes and notes, game play-by-play descriptions and box scores will be available this weekend at

Coach McGraw
Coach Muffet McGraw

Senior Ruth Riley