March 19, 2001
By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame’s inside-outside game turned Michigan inside out.
First the Irish pounded the ball inside. When the Wolverines focused on trying to slow All-American center Ruth Riley, Notre Dame started hitting from the outside. Then the Irish began scoring at will as Notre Dame dominated throughout en route to an 88-54 victory Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“They just had too much,” Michigan coach Sue Guevara said. “They were too quick, and we didn’t have enough. They responded to everything we threw at them. They have a lot of weapons.”
Ruth Riley had 21 points, including eight points in the opening seven minutes. Kelley Siemon added four of her 16 points during that span as Notre Dame repeatedly went inside. When the Wolverines tried to shutdown the inside game, Alicia Ratay hit three 3-pointers and Jeneka Joyce made two.
“It’s always difficult when you focus on one person,” Michigan forward Raina Goodlow said. “We doubled and tripled Riley, but the other four players stepped up.”
A crowd of 9,597 watched the Irish win their 38th straight home game. The Irish (30-2), who head to Denver for the Midwest Regional semifinals, need one more victory to match their most wins ever, when they went 31-7 en route to a Final Four appearance four years ago.
The Irish, who struggled with the their emotions in their final regular-season home game, showed no signs of that against the Wolverines. The seniors, who posted the best four-year record ever at Notre Dame at 105-22, walked to midcourt after the game and waved to the crowd.
“I kind of came out for tonight’s game wanting to have fun. I don’t think I could have asked for a better game to end my career here,” Siemon said.
The loss was the largest this season for the Wolverines (19-12), who advanced past the first round of the tournament for only the second time.
The Wolverines had overcome halftime deficits eight times this season, including coming back after trailing by 17 points in the second half against Virginia on Saturday, but never made a run against the Irish. Notre Dame led 44-28 at the half and opened the second half with a 14-3 run.
“We got drilled early,” Guevara said.
Asked what she was thinking when Michigan made just one of their first nine shots, Guevara said: “Please, God, let a shot fall.”
Joyce had a career-high 14 points, making 4-of-8 3-pointers, Ratay had 11 points and eight assists, and Ivey had eight points and eight assists.
Raina Goodlow led Michigan with 16 points, and Stephanie Gandy and Jennifer Smith scored 10 points each and Smith had 12 rebounds. Alayne Ingram, who had a career-high 27 points in leading the Wolverines’ comeback against Virginia, was just 3-of-18 shooting for nine points.