Nov. 23, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. – For only the second time in the history of the program, No. 15 Notre Dame will play a game in the desert Southwest when it travels to Tucson, Ariz., for a matchup with Pacific-10 Conference member Arizona Saturday at 5 p.m. MST (7 p.m. in South Bend) at the McKale Center. The Notre Dame-Arizona game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net and is the first of six Irish contests this season which are slated to be televised.
Notre Dame will be looking to bounce back from a narrow 72-66 loss at No. 20/22 Colorado State Wednesday night in Fort Collins, Colo. Junior guard Alicia Ratay scored a game-high 16 points and sophomore guard Le’Tania Severe tossed in a career-high 15 points, including three three-point field goals, to help pace the Irish attack. In addition, freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast continued her early-season development, picking up her first career double-double with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
After four ties in the first 11 minutes of the contest, Colorado State used an 18-9 run to take a 32-23 lead at the 4:15 mark of the first half. But, just as quickly, Notre Dame came right back, going on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes and taking a one-point lead on Ratay’s three-pointer with 1:18 left. However, CSU ended the half on a 7-0 surge to take a 39-33 lead at halftime.
The Rams pushed their lead to a game-high 12 points just 94 seconds into the second half. It would be the first of three double-digit leads for CSU in the final 20 minutes, the last coming at 69-58 with 3:32 to play.
From there, the Irish put together a dizzying 8-0 run, punctuated by Severe’s driving layup and foul with 37 seconds left. But, she missed converting the three-point play and Colorado State made three of four free throws in the final half minute to preserve its win.
SCOUTING THE IRISH
Notre Dame looks to write a new chapter in its rapidly-developing history as the Irish defend their first NCAA championship in 2001-02. Seven monogram winners, including two starters, return from last season’s title-winning squad, giving head coach Muffet McGraw a broad foundation from which to build this year. In addition, the Irish welcome six talented freshmen to the fold, a group heralded as perhaps the finest recruiting class in school history and ranked as high as third by several national publications.
McGraw is in her 15th year at Notre Dame with a 323-118 (.732) record and has led the Irish to six straight NCAA Tournament appearances and eight overall. She was a near-unanimous choice as national coach of the year in 2000-01, winning top honors from the Atlanta Tipoff Club (Naismith Award), Associated Press, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and Sports Illustrated for Women. She also was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year, marking the third different conference to recognize McGraw as its top skipper since she took the reins at Notre Dame in 1987.
Both of Notre Dame’s returning starters have already been honored by the BIG EAST coaches in their preseason balloting. Senior guard/forward Ericka Haney (5.0 ppg., 3.0 rpg.) was a second team preseason all-conference pick and brings explosive quickness and versatility to the Irish lineup, along with veteran leadership. As Notre Dame’s only captain, she will be called upon to assume a greater mantle of responsibility in ’01-02. Junior guard Alicia Ratay (13.5 ppg., 6.5 rpg.) was a first team preseason all-BIG EAST choice and is one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Award after setting an NCAA record for three-point percentage (.547) by a sophomore last season. She scored a game-high 16 points on Wednesday night’s loss at Colorado State.
Joining Ratay in the backcourt will be sophomore Le’Tania Severe (11.0 ppg., 4.0 rpg, 4.5 apg), who was hampered by injuries last season, appearing in just 22 games, but has confidently taken control of the Irish offense this season. She smashed several of her previous career highs against Colorado State with 15 points, five assists and 36 minutes played. She also canned a trio of three-point field goals, the first of her career. Juniors Monique Hernandez and walk-on Karen Swanson, along with sophomore Jeneka Joyce (1.0 ppg., 1.5 apg.) give McGraw tremendous flexibility in her guard rotation. Additionally, freshmen Allison Bustamante, Jill Krause and Kelsey Wicks (1.5 ppg., 3.5 rpg.) provide the Irish with solid ballhandling and perimeter shooting depth.
A pair of freshmen (and former Parade All-Americans) are poised to make an immediate impact on the Notre Dame front line, as forward Jacqueline Batteast (7.5 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) and center Teresa Borton (11.5 ppg., 8.5 rpg.) have started both regular season games for the Irish. Batteast was named the 2001-02 preseason BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and her combination of speed, athleticism and perimeter shooting ability already make her a valuable weapon in the Irish arsenal. Batteast charted the first double-double of her career against Colorado State with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, at 6-3, Borton is a smooth and versatile post player with excellent mobility and a solid defensive presence. She showed tremendous promise in her first collegiate game against Valparaiso, scoring a game-high 14 points and grabbing a game-best nine rebounds. Junior Amanda Barksdale was one of the nation’s top shot blockers last season but has missed Notre Dame’s first two games with a stress reaction in her right leg, while freshman Katy Flecky was a two-time Miss Colorado Basketball and offers the Irish an physical presence in the post. Flecky turned in a solid performance in returning to her home state, coming off the bench to notch six points and eight rebounds against Colorado State.
Arizona comes into Saturday’s game with Notre Dame sporting a 2-0 record that includes wins over Pepperdine (81-77) and defending WNIT champion Ohio State (90-76). The Wildcats have used a highly-balanced attack in their first two wins, as seven different players are averaging at least nine points per game, and four of them are scoring in double digits this season.
A total of seven letterwinners and three starters are back for 11th-year head coach Joan Bonvicini, who guided UA to a second-round WNIT appearance last season. Heading the lineup for Arizona this season is first-team all-Pac-10 standout forward Elizabeth Pickney, who is averaging a team-high 18 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. She also has been a deadly accurate shooter in the early going this year, hitting 54.5 percent from the field and a sharp 92.3 percent from the foul stripe.
Another Wildcat who has been setting a torrid pace this season is guard/forward Krista Warren, who is averaging a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds per game so far this season. Warren scored a team-high 13 points for Arizona in its loss at Notre Dame last season. Additionally, guard Candice Allen turned in a superb performance off the bench in UA’s win over Ohio State on Wednesday, scoring 18 points on seven of nine shooting. Allen is second on the squad with 14 points per game, despite not having started either contest for the Wildcats this season.
THE NOTRE DAME-ARIZONA SERIES
Notre Dame holds a 2-0 lead in the abbreviated series with Arizona, including a 95-65 win over the Wildcats last season at the Joyce Center. In that game, the Irish shot a season-high 62.3 percent (38-61) from the floor, bolting to an early 12-point lead and never looking back. Notre Dame surged to a 57-29 lead at halftime and put the game on ice with a 19-4 run early in the second half. Alicia Ratay led four Irish players in double figures with 26 points, hitting eight of 10 shots, including five of six three-point field goals. Ruth Riley added 17 points and Niele Ivey recorded her second double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 assists. Krista Warren had 13 points and Reshea Bristol tallied 12 points and 10 assists for UA.
The only other meeting between Notre Dame and Arizona came back in 1988, when the Irish edged the Wildcats, 85-81 in overtime at the Investors Women’s Classic in Richmond, Va. Saturday’s game marks Notre Dame’s first visit to the McKale Center.
IF NOTRE DAME WINS …
* The Irish would win their seventh consecutive game against a Pacific-10 Conference opponent, a streak which dates back to the 1991-92 season.
* Notre Dame would pick up its first win in its second career visit to the state of Arizona.
* The Irish would remain perfect in three all-time meetings with Arizona, one of nine opponents against whom Notre Dame is undefeated.
* Notre Dame would raise its record to 143-26 (.846) all-time as a ranked team.
* The Irish would improve to 89-13 (.873) over the last three-plus seasons.
NOTRE DAME TRAVEL PLANS
While in Tucson, the Irish are staying at the Westin La Paloma (520-577-5857). After playing Arizona, Notre Dame will depart Tucson via commercial airline on Sunday at 8:35 a.m. (MST), returning to South Bend at approximately 1:55 p.m. (EST).
RANK AND FILE
Notre Dame is 142-26 (.845) all-time when it takes the floor as a ranked team, including a 56-18 (.757) on the road – the Irish stand 15th in both major polls entering Saturday’s game at Arizona. See pages 157-159 in the Notre Dame women’s basketball media guide for more information on the Irish against ranked opponents.
NOTRE DAME-ARIZONA CONNECTIONS
* Notre Dame junior center Amanda Barksdale (Friendswood, TX/Clear Brook HS) squared off with Arizona senior forward Elizabeth Pickney (Houston, TX/Alief Hastings HS) and senior center LaKeisha Taylor (Houston, TX/Madison HS) during their high school days in the Houston metro area. The trio has continued to play pickup games over the summer months during their respective college careers. However, the matchup won’t continue on Saturday – Barksdale will miss the Arizona game with a stress reaction in her right leg.
* Notre Dame assistant coach Carol Owens and Arizona associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello were teammates at Northern Illinois from 1988-90. The pair could easily have been labelled NIU’s “Miss Inside” and “Miss Outside” – Owens is the Huskies’ all-time leading scorer with 2,102 points, while Ianello ranks among the NCAA’s career leaders in three-point field goals made and three-point percentage. In 1990, Owens was Northern Illinois’ Player of the Year, while Ianello was the team Defensive Player of the Year as they teamed up to lead the Huskies to the best record in school history (26-5), an NCAA Tournament bid and a No. 11 national ranking. Interestingly, four members of that 1990 NIU squad currently are prominent coaches in four of the nation’s premier conferences – besides Owens (BIG EAST) and Ianello (Pacific-10), former Huskies head coach Jane Albright is now the skipper at Wisconsin (Big Ten), and former NIU assistant Deb Patterson is now the head coach at Kansas State (Big 12).
NOTRE DAME AGAINST THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE
Notre Dame has posted a 10-11 (.476) all-time record against the current members of the Pacific-10 Conference, but owns a solid 8-4 (.667) mark under head coach Muffet McGraw. In fact, the Irish have won their last six games against Pac-10 opponents, a streak which stretches back 11 seasons. The last Pac-10 team to defeat Notre Dame was UCLA, which earned a 92-71 win over the Irish on March 18, 1992, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona is the first of two Pac-10 teams Notre Dame will face this season. On Dec. 9, the Irish will welcome USC to the Joyce Center for a 1 p.m. (EST) tipoff.
REVISITING THE DESERT SOUTHWEST
Notre Dame makes just its second all-time visit to the state of Arizona (and its first in more than 18 years) when it takes on UA Saturday night in Tucson. Just how long has it been since Notre Dame’s last appearance in Arizona? Consider the following: the last time the Irish traveled to the Grand Canyon State (Jan. 27, 1983 for an 82-57 loss at No. 14 Arizona State), freshman forward Katy Flecky was just 17 days old and three Irish players – Jacqueline Batteast, Jill Krause and Kelsey Wicks – weren’t even born yet!
A SEVERE DEVELOPMENT
Sophomore guard Le’Tania Severe turned in the best performance of her career Wednesday night at Colorado State, piling up career highs of 15 points, five assists and three three-point field goals. Through the first two games of this season, Severe is averaging 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Entering the 2001-02 campaign, her previous career bests were seven points and two assists and she had yet to make a three-point field goal in her career.
IT’S BATTEAST, TO SAY THE LEAST
Although the 2001-02 season is only two games old, freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast is already showing flashes of the potential which led the BIG EAST coaches to vote her as the league’s preseason Rookie of the Year. The South Bend, Ind., resident added another accomplishment to her growing resume on Wednesday night at Colorado State, chalking up her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds against the Rams. This season, Batteast is averaging 7.5 points per game and ranks second on the squad with 8.0 rebounds per contest.
RATAY TURNS IN A PAIR OF IRONMAN PERFORMANCES
Junior guard Alicia Ratay has chosen to lead by example in the first two games of this season. In a remarkable display of endurance, the Lake Zurich, Ill., native has played 79 of a possible 80 minutes this season, going the distance in Notre Dame’s season-opening win over Valparaiso last Sunday, and then going 39 minutes in Wednesday’s six-point loss at Colorado State.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
Despite losing its top two rebounders from last year (Ruth Riley and Kelley Siemon), Notre Dame doesn’t appear to have broken stride in the rebounding department this season. The Irish have averaged 43.5 rebounds per game in their first two games of 2001-02, owning a +6.5 edge on the glass this year. Leading the charge on the boards for Notre Dame have been a pair of freshmen – center Teresa Borton is grabbing 8.5 rpg., while forward Jacqueline Batteast is hot on her heels at 8.0 rpg. Batteast also set a team season-high with 11 caroms Wednesday at Colorado State.
IRISH GETTING DEFENSIVE
If the season opener was any indication, Notre Dame is ready to continue the defensive lockdown it mastered last season. The Irish gave up just 35 points in the victory over Valparaiso, holding the Crusaders to a 27.7 field goal percentage and only one field goal over the final 14 minutes of the contest. The 35 points were the fewest allowed by the Irish to a non-conference opponent since Nov. 24, 1989, when Notre Dame routed Liberty, 113-35, at the Rotary Classic in Orlando, Fla. Last year, the Irish led the nation in field goal percentage defense (.336) and ranked fifth in scoring defense (55.8 ppg.). They held 12 opponents under 50 points and 22 of 36 foes under 35 percent shooting.
NOTRE DAME STARTS A NEW THREE-POINT STREAK
The season-opening win over Valparaiso produced an offensive anomaly for Notre Dame. The Irish were held without a three-point field goal, breaking a streak of 50 consecutive games in which they had made at least one trey. Prior to last Sunday, the last time Notre Dame had gone dry from beyond the arc was Jan. 26, 2000, at St. John’s. Notre Dame didn’t waste time in starting up a new three-point streak, canning seven triples Wednesday night at Colorado State. The Irish have now made at least one three-pointer in 147 of their last 149 games, a streak which stretches back more than four seasons.
KILLER B’S IN THE IRISH LINEUP
Notre Dame had a decidedly youthful look in its starting lineup when it opened the season Sunday against Valparaiso, as freshmen Jacqueline Batteast and Teresa Borton got the nod at forward and center, respectively. In doing so, the pair were first rookie tandem in 20 years to start a season opener for the Irish – Ruth Kaiser and Mary Beth Schueth cracked the starting five in a 78-44 win over St. Joseph’s (Ind.) on Dec. 2, 1981. Borton paced the Irish with 14 points and nine rebounds against the Crusaders, while Batteast scored two points and grabbed five rebounds against Valparaiso.
Batteast, a 6-1 native of South Bend, was a consensus All-American as a senior at Washington High School after averaging 26.0 ppg., 16.0 rpg. and 4.4 bpg. She also has been chosen as the 2001-02 BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Year. Borton joined Batteast as a Parade All-America selection last season at West Valley High School in Yakima, Wash., where the 6-3 post player rang up 17.9 ppg. while leading her school to the Class 3A state title.
Notre Dame is ranked 15th in the latest ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll, marking the 59th consecutive week in which the Irish have appeared in the coaches’ poll, extending a school-record streak which dates back to the beginning of the 1998-99 season. This string has been highlighted by a six-week stay atop the rankings last season and a year-end finish at No. 1. Notre Dame also was ranked 15th in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, the 55th consecutive week in which the Irish have appeared in the media poll.
RATAY NAMED NAISMITH CANDIDATE FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
Notre Dame junior guard Alicia Ratay has been selected as a preseason candidate for the 2001-02 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award. It marks the second time in as many seasons that Ratay has been named to the 30-player preseason Naismith watch list.
Ratay averaged 12.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season, and set an NCAA record for three-point percentage (54.7 percent) by a sophomore on the way to third-team all-BIG EAST Conference honors – she was the only sophomore to make any of the three all-league squads. Ratay also is a former BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press in 2000. She will be looking to follow in the footsteps of her former teammate, Ruth Riley, who won the 2000-01 Naismith Award, becoming the first Notre Dame women’s basketball player to be so recognized.
The Naismith Awards, in their 34th year, are given in honor of the inventor of the game of basketball – Dr. James Naismith. The awards program was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an organization dedicated to recognizing the achievements of student-athletes in basketball. The Awards, including Men’s and Women’s College Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year, Male and Female Prep Player of the Year and Men’s and Women’s Official of the Year, are determined by a vote of the Naismith Board of Selectors. In addition, the Board of Selectors, comprised of a select group of leading basketball coaches, journalists and administrators, honors a Men’s and Women’s Outstanding Contributor to Basketball. The 2001-02 Naismith Award will presented April 5, 2002 in Atlanta.
NOTRE DAME PICKED SECOND IN BIG EAST PRESEASON BALLOTING
Fresh off a share of their first-ever BIG EAST championship last season, the Irish have been picked to finish second in 2001-02 according to a preseason poll of the league’s coaches which was released at BIG EAST Media Day on Oct. 25. Notre Dame claimed two first-place votes and 155 points overall, trailing only Connecticut (11 first-place votes, 167 points). Rutgers, Boston College and Villanova round out the top five, with VU picking up the remaining first-place vote.
Individually, junior guard Alicia Ratay was a first team preseason all-BIG EAST selection after earning third-team honors last year. The Lake Zurich, Ill., native set an NCAA record for three-point percentage by a sophomore last season (.547) and is the top returning scorer for the Irish in 2001-02 after charting 12.9 points per game a year ago.
Senior guard/forward Ericka Haney also was recognized by the conference coaches, earning second team preseason all-BIG EAST laurels. She joins Ratay as one of two starters back from last year’s NCAA championship squad and averaged 11 ppg. and 5.7 rpg. during the ’00-01 campaign.
In addition, freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast was chosen as the preseason BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. It’s the latest in a series of early-season honors for the South Bend, Ind., product, who also has been named a first team freshman All-American by the Women’s Basketball News Service and has been tabbed as one of the Top 21 “New Players of Impact” by Women’s College Hoops.com.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
This season, for only the fourth time in school history, Notre Dame will have just one captain – senior guard/forward Ericka Haney. She is the first solo captain for the Irish since Sheila McMillen in 1998-99 and the second in head coach Muffet McGraw’s 15-year tenure.
IRISH HAIL FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA
The 13 players on this season’s Notre Dame roster hail from 10 different states, including two each from Florida, Illinois and Ohio. Other states represented on the Irish roster include Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. The all-time Notre Dame women’s basketball roster features players from 34 different states, including 23 during the Muffet McGraw era. Ironically, the most common home state on the Irish all-time roster – Michigan (14) – is not represented on this season’s roster.
FUN WITH NUMBERS
This season, Notre Dame fans will see a pair of jersey numbers on the floor that haven’t made an appearance in quite some time. Freshman guard Kelsey Wicks has chosen to wear No. 24, becoming the first Irish player since Andrea Alexander (1990-94) to sport those digits. In addition, freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast is wearing No. 21 this season, a number which has not been modeled by an Irish player since All-American Beth Morgan wore the same jersey from 1993-97. Prior to Morgan, the last Notre Dame player to wear No. 21 was current Irish assistant coach Coquese Washington, who had the number from 1989-93.
NOW THAT’S A HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Notre Dame is looking to continue some impressive streaks in 2001-02. The Irish have won a school-record 39 consecutive games at home, the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Kent State’s 43-game run. In fact, the Irish have not lost at home in nearly three years, dating back to a loss to top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 8, 1998. Notre Dame also has a 49-3 (.942) record in BIG EAST games at the Joyce Center, with Connecticut the only league team to solve the Irish at home.
Notre Dame also sports a four-year, 24-game non-conference winning streak at the Joyce Center – a streak that includes victories over a trio of sixth-ranked teams (UCLA and Duke in 1998-99 and Purdue in 2000-01), as well as 25th-ranked Illinois in ’98-99. Notre Dame’s last non-conference loss at the Joyce Center came way back on Dec. 9, 1996, when 19th-ranked Wisconsin toppled the Irish, 81-69. Overall, the Irish are 64-2 (.970) at the Joyce Center in their last 66 home games, with the only losses coming to Connecticut.
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the Joyce Center. The Irish own a 227-65 mark for a .777 winning percentage since that first season. Last year, the Irish were a perfect 15-0 for the second year in a row. The 15 victories are a school record for home wins in a season and the first time Notre Dame teams have been undefeated at home during the regular season. During the last five-plus seasons, Muffet McGraw’s squad is 77-4 (.951) at the Joyce Center.
SEASON TICKET SALES REACH ALL-TIME HIGH FOR IRISH
Attendance at Notre Dame women’s basketball games in 2000-01 increased nearly 88 percent compared to the previous season – and indications suggest another significant jump is in order for the 2001-02 campaign. Coming off the 2001 NCAA championship, there already have been more than 6,700 season tickets sold to the general public and University faculty and staff for the ’01-’02 women’s basketball season. That’s compared to 2,700 a year ago and 940 in 1999-2000- a jump of nearly 150 percent over last season, and a whopping 700 percent rise in just two years.
The sale of season tickets for the ’01-02 campaign actually began midway through Notre Dame’s 2001 championship season. All seats are reserved for Irish women’s games for the first time this season – all seating in previous years had been general admission.
The Irish ranked 10th nationally in attendance last year at 6,376 fans per game, compared to 3,392 in 1999-2000. Notre Dame also recorded the first two women’s basketball sellouts in school history, as 11,418 fans packed the Joyce Center for victories over top-ranked Connecticut and Georgetown.
In their season opener last Sunday, the Irish drew 7,960 fans for their win over Valparaiso, the sixth-largest crowd in school history. In fact, all of the top 20 crowds in the Notre Dame record book have occurred during the 15-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw.
NOTRE DAME FACES TOUGH SCHEDULE IN 2001-02
Notre Dame will play 10 teams which reached the postseason as part of a rugged schedule this year. The Irish battle seven NCAA Tournament squads, including four (Connecticut – 1/1, Purdue – 11/11, Michigan – 19/18 and Colorado State – 20/22) which are ranked in the Top 25 in the latest Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. In addition, six Irish opponents (Villanova, Rutgers, Boston College, DePaul, USC and Arizona) are receiving votes in one or both of the major rankings.
IRISH ON THE SMALL SCREEN
Notre Dame will get a good deal of face time in 2001-02, playing on television six times, including nationally-televised contests against Connecticut (Jan. 21 on ESPN) and Arizona (Saturday on Fox Sports Net). In addition, Notre Dame will appear three times as part of the BIG EAST regular-season television package, playing host to Virginia Tech (Jan. 26) and traveling to Villanova (Jan. 12) and Rutgers (Feb. 16). All three of those games will be telecast live on Fox Sports Chicago as part of the league’s TV deal. The BIG EAST Championship semifinals on March 4 also will be aired on the BIG EAST TV package, while the conference championship game on March 5 will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
Additionally, the rematch of the 2001 NCAA championship game between Notre Dame and Purdue on Dec. 6 from West Lafayette, Ind., will be televised live by LeSea Broadcasting’s flagship station, WHME-TV 46 in South Bend. Other LeSea stations may choose to carry the broadcast as well.
NOTRE DAME RECEIVES COMMITMENTS FROM PAIR OF TOP 25 PROSPECTS
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw announced Nov. 15 that two of the nation’s top high school student-athletes have chosen to continue their careers with the Irish, signing national letters of intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2002. Megan Duffy (Dayton, OH/Chaminade Julienne HS) and Courtney LaVere (Ventura, CA/Buena HS) are the first players to commit to the Irish during the early signing period.
Duffy, a 5-7 guard, averaged 17 points per game last season for Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio. She was a 2001 first-team Division I all-state selection and earned honorable mention All-America accolades from Street & Smith’s. Additionally, Student Sports tabbed her as a junior All-America selection. She was rated as high as No. 24 in the country by the All-Star Girls Report (ASGR) and No. 29 by School Sports.
LaVere, a 6-3 forward, tallied 13.8 points and eight rebounds per game last season for Buena High School in Ventura, Calif. She also shot 54 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line for BHS, which was ranked in the top 10 nationally throughout the 2000-01 season by USA Today. In addition, LaVere was an All-America honoree by both USA Today and Street & Smith’s last year, and she already has been selected as a preseason third-team All-American for the ’01-02 campaign by School Sports. Like Duffy, LaVere also was a first-team all-state selection last season. She is a consensus top-15 player according to all of the major recruiting services – No. 10 by the Blue Star Index, No. 13 by School Sports and No. 15 by ASGR.
The additions of Duffy and LaVere already have given Notre Dame one of this year’s top 10 recruiting classes, according to at least one recruiting outlet. The Blue Star Index has ranked the latest group of Irish signees sixth in the nation, marking the sixth consecutive year in which Blue Star has placed Notre Dame’s recruiting class among the Top 20 in the country.
BOOK ON NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON TO HIT SHELVES IN DECEMBER
Fans of Notre Dame women’s basketball will be able to relive the 2000-01 NCAA championship season in a new book by Mark Bradford entitled “Nice Girls Finish First.” The book, which is slated to hit store shelves on Dec. 10, is the story of how the Irish and head coach Muffet McGraw put together a squad of truly remarkable young women, some of whom overcame great odds, to win the national championship last April. Included in the book are in-depth interviews with members of the Notre Dame senior class and starting lineup, giving an unique perspective on what it goes into putting together a championship team.
Bradford is a sportswriter for the South Bend Tribune, and also has done freelance work for the Associated Press and Indianapolis Star. The Mishawaka, Ind., resident has covered Notre Dame football and men’s and women’s basketball for the last six years.
KRAUSE FEATURED IN “CONFESSIONS OF A FRESHMAN”
Freshman guard Jill Krause will give fans an inside look at the the 2001-02 Irish women’s basketball team through regular diary entries on the Notre Dame athletic website, www.und.com. Entitled “Confessions of a Freshman,” the Glenview, Ill., native will trace the journey for a first-year player on the defending NCAA championship squad. Her diary entries may be accessed either from the front page or the women’s basketball page on the Notre Dame website.
HANEY SHINES ON BIG EAST ALL-STAR TEAM
For the second time in as many years, Notre Dame sent a player with the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball All-Star Team, as guard/forward Ericka Haney joined the squad for its six-game swing of Germany this summer. Haney followed in the footsteps of Niele Ivey, who helped lead the BIG EAST All-Stars to a 5-1 record during a junket through Canada in the summer of 2000.
Haney helped the BIG EAST, which was led by Syracuse head coach Marianna Freeman, to an unbeaten 6-0 record during its tour, scoring a team-high 18 points in a 103-57 win over Ludwigsburg/Malmsheim in the final game of the trip.
Haney finished with a team-high 13.0 points per game and collected 4.5 rebounds per game during her European vacation. She also scored in double figures in five of the All-Stars’ six wins.
– ND –