Jan. 18, 2003
* For the sixth consecutive game, Notre Dame fielded the same starting lineup of forwards Jacqueline Batteast and Courtney LaVere, center Teresa Borton, and guards Le’Tania Severe and Alicia Ratay. It was the 54th consecutive start for Ratay, who ranks sixth in school history with 112 career starts. With two more starting assignments, she will tie Niele Ivey (1996-2001) and Beth Morgan (1993-97) for fourth place on the Irish all-time list.
* Notre Dame loses its third consecutive home game, the first time that has happened since the end of the 1993-94 season and the start of the 1994-95 campaign. In that instance, the Irish lost to Minnesota (81-76) in the opening round of the ’94 NCAA Tournament, then fell to Purdue (87-83) and Michigan State (75-73) in their first two games the following year. This year’s three-game home losing streak is the first in the same season for Notre Dame since it lost the final three home contests in 1981-82 to Nebraska (98-88, 2 ot), DePaul (60-55) and Michigan State (68-59). The Irish never have lost four straight home games.
* Today’s game marked just the second time this season Notre Dame has not had at least three players scoring in double figures. The other was a 46-45 win over Colorado State on Dec. 23, when Jacqueline Batteast was the only player to finish in double digits with 18 points.
* Today’s loss is just the second for Notre Dame in the last three seasons when it leads at halftime. The Irish are now 55-2 (.965) since the 2000-01 season when they are up at the intermission. The other loss was a last-second 60-59 setback at Villanova last year.
* Today’s game marks the ninth time in 17 career games between Notre Dame and Rutgers that the final margin was nine points or less. It’s also the seventh time in the last nine meetings that the Irish and Scarlet Knights have played a nail-biter.
* Notre Dame cracked the 45-percent mark from the field for the 10th time this year, finishing with a .512 field goal percentage. The Irish are 7-3 this season in such games.
* After winning their first four games decided by 10 points or less, the Irish have lost their last two close affairs (80-70 to Miami on Jan. 11, and today’s 64-61 verdict vs. Rutgers).
* Rutgers earns its first win at the Joyce Center since a 71-50 victory on Nov. 29, 1986. The Scarlet Knights had been 0-4 in South Bend since they began facing Notre Dame in BIG EAST play in 1995-96.
* Freshman forward Courtney LaVere tied her career high with 23 points, equalling the mark she established against Purdue on Jan. 4. She also had nine field goals, tying the mark she set against IPFW on Dec. 21. LaVere is averaging 16.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game with a .585 field goal percentage (38-65) since she joined the starting lineup on New Year’s Eve at Marquette.
* Senior guard Alicia Ratay tallied 12 points this afternoon, logging the 82nd double-figure scoring game of her career. That ties her with Karen Robinson (1987-91) for fourth place on the Notre Dame career chart. Beth Morgan owns the school record with 115 double-digit scoring games from 1993-97.
* With her five free throws today, senior guard Alicia Ratay moved into sole possession of fourth place on Notre Dame career free throws made list. She now has made 312 charity tosses in her career, and has a lifetime free throw percentage of 86.9 percent (312-359), good for sixth in NCAA history.
* Today’s attendance of 7,697 represents the 14th-largest crowd in Joyce Center history and the third top-20 crowd of the year for Notre Dame. The Irish are averaging 7,174 fans for their seven home games this season.
— ND —