Ruth Riley
Women’s Basketball – 2004 (Gold)

Riley’s Notre Dame Bio


Imposing center who suited up for the United States National Team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, helping the Americans post an 8-0 record and take the gold medal … appeared in seven games for Team USA, averaging 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game with a .667 field goal percentage (10-of-15), including a personal-best nine points in a group-stage win over China … entering the 2012 London Olympics, she is one of seven players in women’s basketball history to earn an Olympic gold medal, WNBA title and NCAA national championship during her career.

Now in her 12th season in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), currently playing for the Chicago Sky, her fourth team … was originally drafted in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2001 WNBA Draft by the Miami Sol, playing two seasons in South Beach … selected No. 1 overall by Detroit Shock in 2003 WNBA Dispersal Draft … played in Motor City from 2003-06, helping that franchise win WNBA titles in 2003 and 2006 … named 2003 WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player after scoring career-high 27 points in decisive Game Three win over Los Angeles, outperforming Hall of Fame center (and four-time Olympic gold medalist) Lisa Leslie … became first player ever named Finals MVP at both the NCAA and WNBA levels … chosen as WNBA Eastern Conference All-Star in 2005 … traded to San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007, playing there through 2011 and helping that franchise reach the league finals in 2008 … signed as a free agent with Chicago in February 2012 … has served as first vice-president of WNBA Players Association since 2005.

Only player in Notre Dame history to score better than 2,000 points and grab at least 1,000 rebounds … three-time All-America selection during her career from 1997-2001, earning first-team honors in 2000 and 2001 … 2001 consensus National Player of the Year after leading Fighting Irish to a 34-2 record and the program’s first NCAA national championship … named Most Outstanding Player of the 2001 NCAA Women’s Final Four after posting 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks in title game win over Purdue, capped off by her two game-winning free throws with 5.8 seconds left … three-time BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Year and all-conference selection (1999-2001) … recipient of NCAA Top VIII Award and NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2001 … in 2006, named her one of the 25 greatest women’s college basketball players of the past 25 years … was enshrined in Notre Dame’s Ring of Honor (first women’s basketball player to be so recognized) in 2010. Riley

Off the court, was a two-time first-team Academic All-America choice (2000, 2001) … selected as Academic All-America Team Member of the Year (all sports in Division I) for 2001 campaign … inducted into Academic All-America Hall of Fame in June 2012 … has been actively involved in numerous charitable causes around the world, spending time as the national spokesperson for “Nothing But Nets” (raises money for bed netting to prevent spread of malaria in Africa), and TRIAD Trust, a non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness and reducing AIDS-related deaths in Africa … received the WNBA’s Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award in 2011 for her ongoing charitable efforts around the world … appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness (now Fitness, Sports & Nutrition) shortly before his term in office ended in 2009.

Born in Ransom, Kan., and grew up not far from the Notre Dame campus in the tiny town of Macy, Ind., and now makes her home in Miami … graduated from Notre Dame in 2001 with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology.