Jan. 1, 2002
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Almost 10 months after claiming a share of its first-ever BIG EAST Conference regular-season championship, Notre Dame will begin the process of defending its title when it takes on Miami Wednesday at 7 p.m. (EST) at the Knight Sports Complex. The Irish also will be looking to continue their impressive history against the BIG EAST – they are 89-15 in conference games in their six-year affiliation with the league.
Miami (8-3, 1-0 BIG EAST) should provide a stern test for Notre Dame in its BIG EAST opener. After finishing two games below .500 a year ago, the Hurricanes have looked reborn this season, going 6-1 at home and picking up a last-second 57-55 win over No. 17 Texas at the Orange Bowl Classic.
UM has won five of its last six games, but lost its last outing, bowing to rising Big Ten Conference foe Minnesota, 80-65 on Sunday at the Knight Sports Complex. Sophomore forward Chanivia Broussard led the Hurricanes with 17 points off the bench, while sophomore forward Shaquana Wilkins contributed a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Junior guard Meghan Saake, a BIG EAST Player of the Week selection back on Dec. 17, leads UM in scoring at 12.6 points per game while adding 5.5 rebounds per game. Broussard, who earned conference Player of the Week laurels on Dec. 10, is second on the squad at 11.6 ppg, while junior forward Alicia Hartlaub is Miami’s top rebounder, averaging 6.5 boards per outing.
As a team, the Hurricanes are scoring 71.6 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from behind the three-point line. In addition, Miami is turning the ball over nearly 22 times per game, but counters that by logging more than 15 steals per game. The Hurricanes are nearly even in the rebounding department, grabbing 39 boards per game and allowing opponents to take 38 caroms.
UM head coach Ferne Labati is in her 14th season with the Hurricanes (and 23rd overall), owning a 239-150 record in Coral Gables (375-271 overall). She is 1-9 in her career against Notre Dame.
– ND –