March 4, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Notre Dame All-America center and 2001 consensus National Player of the Year Ruth Riley has been selected to the BIG EAST Conference Silver Anniversary Women’s Basketball Team, the league office announced Thursday. Riley was the only Irish player selected to the 15-member squad, which will be honored at the annual BIG EAST Championship awards dinner Friday night in Hartford, Conn., on the eve of the BIG EAST Championship.
A 6-foot-5 native of Macy, Ind., Riley was a key factor in Notre Dame’s run to the 2001 NCAA championship, averaging 18.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game with a .628 field goal percentage that season. She was named the ’01 BIG EAST Player of the Year and was a three-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year selection and three-time all-BIG EAST pick during her storied career. She ranks among the Top 10 in numerous career categories at Notre Dame, including scoring (3rd – 2,072), rebounding (1st – 1,007), field goal percentage (1st – .632) and blocked shots (1st – 370). In conference games, she also ranks first among BIG EAST players in career field goal percentage (.646), second in blocks (193), eighth in scoring (1,135) and 10th in rebounds (544).
In addition, Riley was an exceptional student during her tenure at Notre Dame, twice earning first-team Academic All-America honors as well as being named the 2001 Academic All-America Women’s Basketball Team Member of the Year. She graduated from Notre Dame in May 2001 with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology.
In September, Riley completed her third WNBA season with a bang, leading the Detroit Shock to the league championship. She was at her best in the postseason, being named the Most Valuable Player of the WNBA Finals after averaging 14.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in the three-game championship series, including a career-high 27 points in the decisive Game 3 win over the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks. Riley also became the first women’s basketball player ever to be named the Finals MVP at both the college and professional levels – she also was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2001 NCAA Final Four.
Currently, Riley is in her first season playing with the Colorado Chill of the National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL), averaging 13.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while sparking the Chill to a league-best 10-5 record. She also was selected as an NWBL All-Star.
Riley recently added yet another feather in her cap when she was one of four WNBA players who were selected to attend the 2004 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team training camp Feb. 19-27 in Jacksonville, Fla. The camp was used as part of the evaluation process in selecting the final three members for the U.S. team that will compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. During the camp, the U.S. team traveled to Cuba for a three-game series with the Cuba National Team – Riley averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game with a .538 field goal percentage as the Americans swept all three games.
— ND —