Aug. 2, 2001

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame women’s basketball All-American standout Ruth Riley (Macy, Ind.), currently the starting center for the Miami Sol of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and Emporia State women’s basketball and Division II player of the year Emily Bloss were named the 2000-01 national Verizon Academic All-America Team Members of the Year.

The selections for the highest academic honors for all sports were announced today by a voting of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Riley, the Division I player of the year for the past season, is the recipient in the University (Division I) Division, and Bloss is the winner in the College (Division II-III) Division. Other finalists for the national award, which were voted Team Members of the Year in their respective sports, included Shane Battier of Duke (University Division men’s basketball), Drew Brees of Purdue (University Division football) and golfer Bryce Molder of Georgia Tech (University Division men’s at-large).

A two-time Associated Press first team All-American, Riley was selected as the 2001 BIG EAST Player of the Year and the AP and Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year after helping lead the Notre Dame women’s basketball team to the school’s first-ever national title last spring. Off the court, Riley was selected as the Verizon Women’s Basketball Academic All-American of the Year after being named first team Academic All-American for two consecutive years. She also was recently awarded with an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

Riley averaged 19 points and eight rebounds a game, leading Notre Dame to a 34-2 record. The former-Irish center is the only player in Notre Dame history to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds.

An eight-time Dean’s List selection at Notre Dame, Riley graduated in May with a 3.64 grade-point average in psychology and sociology. She was also selected as the BIG EAST women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year and the BIG EAST women’s scholar-athlete of the year for all sports. Riley received the university’s highest scholar-athlete honor when she was awarded the Byron V. Kanaley Award at the 2001 Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet.

“This award is the culmination of a truly magical year, for myself and also for my team and my univeristy,” said Riley. “I have always strived to maintain a balance in my life between academics and athletics, and to be chosen as the top Division I student-athlete in the country is an absolutely thrilling and humbling honor.”

The Verizon Academic All-America Teams are selected by a vote of the 1,800-member CoSIDA. To be eligible, an athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.20 on a scale of 4.00. Sports information directors nominate eligible athletes from their schools who are named to district teams prior to being voted upon on the national level. CoSIDA has been selecting Academic All-America teams since 1952.