Nov. 14, 2002
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw announced Thursday 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 2003. Crystal Erwin, a 6-2 forward from St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and Susie Powers, a 5-11 guard from Highlands Ranch High School in Denver, Colo., are the first players to commit to the Irish during the early signing period, which began Wednesday and continues through Nov. 20.
“With the addition of Crystal and Susie, we have come up with another great incoming class,” McGraw said. “That’s a tribute to the hard work of the entire staff, especially (associate coach) Carol Owens, who has now helped bring us seven straight Top 20 classes. Adding Crystal and Susie to the mix fills our needs and definitely helps us continue to get where we want to go in March and April. We have an exciting future ahead of us, and Crystal and Susie will play important roles in that development.
“We also believe team chemistry is vital to our success at Notre Dame, and both Crystal and Susie will be tremendous complements to the team in that respect next season,” McGraw added. “Our current team thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent with both players on their visits, and we expect that bond to be strengthened even more when Crystal and Susie arrive on campus next year.”
“Very few programs in the country are able to attract one Top 20 player, let alone two like Notre Dame has done,” said Greg Swaim, editor of the Greg Swaim Basketball Report. “With the players they have already signed this year, Notre Dame has once again attracted one of the top 20 recruiting classes in the nation.”
Notre Dame has nine monogram winners and three starters returning this season, following a 20-10 record and a seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2001-02. The Irish were ranked 10th in the preseason Associated Press poll and 12th in the ESPN/USA Today preseason coaches’ poll, marking the sixth time in the last seven seasons Notre Dame has appeared in both preseason rankings. It also represents the third time in four years the Irish will open the season ranked in the top 10 in the AP poll.
Notre Dame will play its second and final exhibition game Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. (EST) against the Ohio Girls Basketball Magazine (OGBM) All-Stars at the Joyce Center. The Irish then will tip off their 26th season Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m. (EST) against Cleveland State, also at the Joyce Center.
A capsule look at the two newest additions to the Notre Dame women’s basketball team follows:
CRYSTAL ERWIN, 6-2, Forward (Santa Fe Springs, Calif./St. Paul High School)
Statistics/Records: 22.6 ppg., 14.5 rpg. in her three-year prep career … 24 ppg., 14.9 rpg. last season … holds school records for career points (2,084) and rebounds (1,324), as well as single-season points (869) … ranked third in nation by All-Star Girls Report (ASGR) … ranked 10th in nation by All-Game Sports (AGS) … ranked 14th in nation by Blue Star Basketball … ranked 16th in nation by Greg Swaim Basketball Report … ranked 26th in nation by Full Court Press.
Awards/Honors: USA Today Preseason Super 25 Team Selection (2003) … Street & Smith’s All-American (Third Team – 2002; Honorable mention – 2001) … USA Today Junior All-American (2002) … Showtime Nationals All-American (2002) … adidas Top Ten Camp All-Star (Upperclass – 2002; Underclass – 2001) … USA Basketball Youth Development Festival West Team (2002) … California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Class 4AA All-State (First Team – 2002) … Cal-Hi Sports Division IV All-State (First Team – 2002) … Cal-Hi Sports All-State (Junior Team – 2002; Sophomore Team – 2001) … Whittier Daily News Area Player of the Year (2001, 2002) … Second California native is as many years to commit to Irish, following current Notre Dame freshman Courtney LaVere (Ventura, Calif./Buena High School).
What They’re Saying About Erwin
“Crystal is someone who will come in and be a big contributor for us right away. She is a strong rebounder and has a very aggressive style in the post. She likes to play a physical game, and I believe she will add a lot to our already-strong post game.” — Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw
“She is a big catch and a surprise catch. Most people thought she would be targeted for a West Coast school.” — Mike Flynn, Blue Star Basketball recruiting analyst
“She’s among the top 10-15 players in the country. As a voter on the McDonald’s All-America Committee, I think she’s got a great shot to be chosen for this year’s team.” — Greg Swaim, editor, Greg Swaim Basketball Report
SUSIE POWERS, 5-11, Guard (Denver, Colo./Highlands Ranch High School)
Statistics/Records: 11.5 ppg., 6.8 apg. last season … ranked 12th in nation by Greg Swaim Basketball Report … ranked 45th in nation by Blue Star Basketball.
Awards/Honors: Street & Smith’s All-American (Honorable mention – 2001, 2002) … Nike All-America Camp (2001, 2002) … USA Basketball Youth Development Festival West Team (2002) … Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Class 5A All-State (Honorable mention – 2001, 2002) … All-Continental League (First Team – 2002) … Was point guard on team ranked No. 1 in nation for most of last season, according to USA Today Super 25 poll … Team also is three-time defending Colorado Class 5A state champion … Attending same high school as current Notre Dame sophomore and two-time Colorado Miss Basketball Katy Flecky (the pair were teammates at HRHS in 2000).
What They’re Saying About Powers
“Susie brings a great deal of versatility to our team. She can do a lot of different things well, which is very appealing to us. Her biggest assets are her passing, playmaking abilities and unselfish nature with the basketball. Those qualities should be a tremendous benefit to our post game. She is also a talented scorer and has a nose for the basket. She will fit in very well with our team and our style of play.” — Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw
“Susie is a big-time player. If she doesn’t play a lot for Notre Dame as a freshman, I’ll be very surprised. She is extremely versatile and has the ability to have an impact at a number of different positions. She can also score from anywhere on the floor. She’s very coachable and will end up being a real asset to the Notre Dame program.” — Greg Swaim, editor, Greg Swaim Basketball Report
— ND —