2008 Notre Dame graduate Charel Allen and the Sacramento Monarchs will take on the San Antonio Silver Stars (and former Irish All-America center Ruth Riley) in a WNBA Western Conference semifinal series beginning Thursday at 9 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. <i>(photo courtesy of WNBAE/Getty Images)</i>

Three Irish Alums On 2008 WNBA Opening Day Rosters

May 16, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Notre Dame women’s basketball All-America guard Charel Allen has made the opening day roster for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs, it was announced Friday afternoon. Allen, who was a third-round draft pick by the Monarchs (43rd overall) last month, will be on Sacramento’s 13-player roster when the Monarchs open their 2008 regular season Saturday at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET in South Bend) against the San Antonio Silver Stars (and 2001 Notre Dame graduate Ruth Riley) at Sacramento’s ARCO Arena — the game will be televised live to a national cable audience on NBA TV.

A two-time honorable mention All-America selection and first-team all-BIG EAST Conference pick in 2007 and 2008, Allen is the first Irish women’s basketball player ever to record 1,500 points (1,566), 500 rebounds (656), 200 assists (239) and 200 steals (206) in her career. She also ranks eighth all-time at Notre Dame with 1,566 points, one of 10 categories where she appears in the top 10 in the program’s career record books, in addition to countless appearances on the Irish single-game, single-season and NCAA tournament charts.

As a senior tri-captain in 2007-08, Allen started all 34 games (finishing on a streak of 66 consecutive starts to end her career), ranking 11th in the BIG EAST in scoring (15.1 ppg), fifth in free throw percentage (.815) and 12th in steals (1.85 spg). She also had two double-doubles and scored in double figures 30 times (including 21 of her final 22 games), highlighted by four 20-point outings and a career-high 35 points in the second round of the NCAA tournament against No. 14/13 Oklahoma (a game the Irish won 79-75 in overtime). Earlier in the year, she collected a spot on the Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Team after leading Notre Dame to the semifinals of that event for the third time in as many visits (the Irish won the title in 2004 during Allen’s freshman season).

In two exhibition games for Sacramento this year, the 5-foot-11 Allen averaged 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game with a .500 field goal percentage. She is slated to graduate Saturday from Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters, where she will receive her bachelor’s degree in sociology and computer applications.

Riley is entering her eighth season in the WNBA and her second with the Silver Stars, who acquired her in a February 2007 trade with Detroit. In her WNBA career, Riley is averaging 7.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, ranking fifth in league history for average blocks and total blocks (352). A 2005 WNBA All-Star, Riley also has led her team to the playoffs in six of her first seven seasons, winning a pair of WNBA championships in Detroit (2003 and 2006). The 6-foot-5 center from Macy, Ind., played a pivotal role in Detroit’s first world title, scoring a career-high 27 points in the decisive Game 3 of the WNBA Finals against Los Angeles (and legendary center Lisa Leslie) to earn the Finals Most Valuable Player award. She remains the only player ever to garner Finals MVP honors at the NCAA and WNBA levels — she was the 2001 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after leading Notre Dame to its first national championship (piling up 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks, along with the two game-winning free throws in the title game victory over Purdue).

Allen and Riley are two of three Irish women’s basketball alumnae on 2008 WNBA opening day rosters. Former All-America point guard and 2006 graduate Megan Duffy has cracked the final 13 for the New York Liberty, having signed a free-agent contract with the Liberty in February after two seasons with the Minnesota Lynx (who selected her in the third round of the 2006 WNBA Draft). Duffy, who is averaging 3.1 points and 1.2 assists in her 36-game WNBA career, scored six points in New York’s lone exhibition game (a 58-52 loss at home to Washington). A 5-foot-7 native of Dayton, Ohio, Duffy will make her regular-season debut with the Liberty Sunday when New York travels to Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena for a 4 p.m. (ET) game against the Sun (the game will be televised live to a cable audience on MSG TV).

This season marks the sixth time in eight years that Notre Dame will have at least three alums on WNBA opening day rosters.

With WNBA franchises in Chicago and Indianapolis, local Notre Dame fans will have multiple opportunities to see these former Irish greats in person during the 2008 season. The Chicago Sky, who play at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Pavilion, will host Sacramento next Thursday, May 22 (7 p.m. CT tipoff), San Antonio on July 10 (6 p.m. CT) and New York on Sept. 12 (7:30 p.m. CT). Meanwhile, the Indiana Fever, who play at Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse, will entertain San Antonio on June 15 (6 p.m. ET), New York twice (June 18 at 7 p.m. ET; Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. ET), and Sacramento on June 24 (7 p.m. ET).

Notre Dame women’s basketball alums also will make nine national television appearances during the 2008 WNBA season, according to the broadcast schedule released by the league. Those games are as follows (all times Eastern):

  • Tuesday, May 20 at 10:30 p.m. — Sacramento at Seattle (ESPN2)
  • Sunday, May 24 at 3:30 p.m. — Seattle at San Antonio (ABC)
  • Tuesday, June 24 at 9 p.m. — Houston at San Antonio (ESPN2)
  • Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. — Indiana at New York (ESPN2)
  • Sunday, July 6 at Noon — San Antonio at Washington (ABC)
  • Thursday, July 10 at 9 p.m. — Los Angeles at Sacramento (ESPN2)
  • Tuesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. — New York at Connecticut (ESPN2)
  • Tuesday, July 15 at 9 p.m. — San Antonio at Phoenix (ESPN2)
  • Sunday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. — Chicago at New York (ABC)

Additional games may be seen on NBA TV or on local broadcasts around the country. Consult the official WNBA web site (WNBA.com) or your local media for times and availability.

— ND —