Jan. 28, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Just over 72 hours after its biggest win of the season to date, Notre Dame returns to action as it plays host to Syracuse in another BIG EAST Conference matchup Tuesday at 7 p.m. (EST) at the Joyce Center. The Irish and Orangewomen are tied for fourth place in the latest conference standings, but are only one-half game out of second place, making Tuesday’s game of the utmost importance to both teams.
Notre Dame (11-7, 5-2 BIG EAST) comes into the Syracuse contest with some momentum, following its 64-57 win over No. 16/17 Virginia Tech Saturday night at the Joyce Center. Freshman forward Jacqueline Batteast tied her career high with 26 points and junior guard Alicia Ratay added 22 points, 19 in the second half, to pace the Irish to their 47th consecutive home victory, the longest active winning streak in the nation. It also was the 27th consecutive BIG EAST win at home for Notre Dame.
Like the Irish, Syracuse (12-6, 5-2) has won nine of its last 12 games, including three in a row as it prepares to meet Notre Dame. The Orangewomen came directly to town following a come-from-behind 75-71 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday. Sophomore guard/forward Shannon Perry came off the bench to score 28 points and grab 11 rebounds for Syracuse, which trailed by three at the half before rallying for the victory.
The Orangewomen have been successful this season in spite of the fact they only have 10 players on their roster, and only four standing six feet or taller. Four of their five starters are scoring in double figures, led by sophomore guard Julie McBride, who ranks second in the BIG EAST at 16.2 points per game. Syracuse also makes up for its lack of size by shooting a superb 45 percent from the field, good for fourth in the conference.
Marianna Freeman is in her ninth season as the head coach for the Orangewomen, having compiled an 88-149 (.371) record in upstate New York. She is 0-9 in her coaching career against Notre Dame, and is winless in four previous visits to the Joyce Center.
– ND –