January 5, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s basketball team (10-2, 2-2) will play its first home game in nearly a month as the ninth-ranked Irish entertain two BIG EAST foes this week. Coach Muffet McGraw’s Irish play host to West Virginia on Thursday, January 7 at 7:00 p.m. and Providence on Sunday, January 10 at 2:00 p.m.
For the seventh consecutive week, Notre Dame is ranked in the top 10 of both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN rankings. Notre Dame dropped from seventh to ninth in both polls this week.
Notre Dame returns home after four straight road games. The Irish opened up the 1998-99 campaign playing six of its first eight games at home. Following the Providence game, Notre Dame is scheduled to play four of its next five games on the road.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
BOSTON COLLEGE: Notre Dame closed out the ’98 portion of its schedule with a 78-65 loss at Boston College. It marked the second straight year the Irish were beaten by the Eagles at Conte Forum. Notre Dame, which never led in the game, was led by Ruth Riley’s (Macy, Ind.) sixth double-double of the season as the 6-5 center registered a game and season-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.) was the only other Irish player in double figures as she tossed in 14. Four of five Boston College starters were in double figures scoring. Both teams shot 50.0 percent from the field. Notre Dame was outrebounded for just the second time this season as the Eagles owned a 34-28 advantage on the boards. The Irish committed 24 turnovers, had a season-low four assists and were held to just 52 shot attempts (also a season-low).
GEORGETOWN: The Irish rebounded from their loss at Boston College to post a convincing 32-point road win as Notre Dame downed the Hoyas 93-61. The 93 points were the most scored by the Irish on the road this season and the 32-point differential was the most by Notre Dame in a victory this season. Four of Notre Dame’s five starters scored in double figures. Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) hit the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season as she scored a game-high 22 points, hitting seven-of-11 shots from the field. McMillen canned a season-high six three-pointers on eight shot attempts. She also tied her career-high with seven rebounds in the game. Danielle Green hit for double figures for the 12th game this season as she netted 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Ruth Riley and Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) each chipped in 13 points. Notre Dame shot 53.4 percent from the field and held Georgetown to just 27.3 percent accuracy. The Irish also had a 50-36 advantage on the boards. Kelley Siemon (Edina, Minn.) tied Green for game-high rebounding honors as she equalled her season-best with nine rebounds.
HEAD COACH MUFFET McGRAW
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw is in her 12th season along the Notre Dame sidelines and 17th as a collegiate coach. She has guided Notre Dame to three straight NCAA tournament appearances and five overall. McGraw led the Irish to the 1997 Final Four as her team claimed the East Regional championship. In 1998, McGraw’s squad finished with a 22-10 mark and advanced to the Sweet 16. In her 11-plus seasons at Notre Dame, she has a record of 245-107 (.696) and in 16-plus campaigns overall, her teams have registered a 333-148 (.692) ledger.
SERIES RECORD VERSUS UPCOMING OPPONENTS
WEST VIRGINIA: Notre Dame has won all four meetings between the two schools. The two teams will meet twice this season; the second regular-season meeting will be on Saturday, February 20 in Morgantown, W. Va. The Mountaineers are 0-2 at the Joyce Center. In their first-ever visit, they dropped a 103-58 in 1997, and last season were handed an 86-78 setback.
PROVIDENCE: Notre Dame also leads this series 4-0. The Friars are 0-2 at the Joyce Center having lost 91-75 in 1996 and 109-60 last season.
10-2 EQUALLED BY TWO IRISH TEAMS
Notre Dame’s 10-2 start through its first 12 games matches that of two other teams — the 1977-78 and 1978-79 squads. The best start for a Notre Dame team is 13-3 in 1977-78 (the first year of varsity women’s basketball at the school).
NOTRE DAME UNDEFEATED AGAINST NON-LEAGUE FOES
Notre Dame finished with a perfect 8-0 mark against non-league foes as it faced seven different conferences. The Irish played two teams from the Big Ten (Illinois and Michigan State) and then had games against six other conference teams — Pac-10 (UCLA), Midwestern Collegiate (Butler), Atlantic Coast (Duke), West Coast (San Francisco), Mid-American (Toledo) and Conference USA (South Florida).
DAILY DOUBLES FOR RUTH AND DANIELLE
Ruth Riley recorded her sixth double-double of the season (and 15th of her career) in Notre Dame’s loss at Boston College when she scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the outing. Riley has notched double-doubles in four of the team’s last seven games. Her double-double performances also have come against Duke (20 points, 18 rebounds), Illinois (21 points, 12 rebounds), Toledo (15 points, 17 rebounds), Villanova (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Michigan State (18 points, 12 rebounds). Danielle Green posted her third double-double of the season against the Spartans (16 points, 10 rebounds), giving her four for her career. Her other double-double efforts were against Duke (20 points, 15 rebounds) and Toledo (12 points).
McMILLEN MOVES UP SCORING CHART
Senior guard Sheila McMillen is 12th on the all-time career scoring list with 1,136 points. She needs just 59 to pass Krissi Davis (1988-91) who finished her career with1,194 points. McMillen became the 14th player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point mark earlier this season. She has a 10.1 career career scoring average and has started 50 of the 112 games she has played in. Currently, McMillen is second on the team with a 14.4 scoring average. She hit the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season when she scored a game-high 22 points in the win at Georgetown.
HELPING PUT THE BIG IN THE BIG EAST
During its three-plus seasons as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame has proven to be one of the league’s most dominant teams. The Irish have a 46-12 record (79.3 percent) in regular season games and a 6-3 mark (66.7 percent) in BIG EAST tournament action for an overall record of 52-15 (77.6 percent) against league opponents. Of Notre Dame’s 15 total league losses, eight have come against Connecticut when the Huskies were ranked among the top three teams nationally. The Irish have lost to four other teams in the BIG EAST — Rutgers (twice), Boston College (twice), Villanova and Miami.
IRISH TOUGH AT HOME AGAINST BIG EAST FOES
Notre Dame has compiled a 27-3 (.900) record against BIG EAST opponents at the Joyce Center since joining the league in 1995-96. The only two losses have been to Connecticut. Notre Dame was a perfect 9-0 at home in league action during the 1996-97 season.
IRISH IN THE JOYCE CENTER
Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the Joyce Center. The Irish own a 189-65 mark for a .744 winning percentage since that first season. Last season, Notre Dame won a school-record 12 games at home en route to a 12-1 record. Prior to the loss to Connecticut on December 8, Notre Dame had tied the school record with 15 straight victories at home. The last loss prior to this one was against Connecticut on December 6, 1997. Ironically, it was the Huskies who stopped the Irish 15-game winning streak in January of 1996 with an 87-64 victory.
IRISH 3-1 AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Notre Dame’s three wins over ranked opponents thus far are the most by an Irish teams during the regular season. Coach Muffet McGraw’s squad posted victories over UCLA and Duke, when both teams were ranked sixth in the polls, and also had a win over then 25th-ranked Illinois. Last season, Notre Dame was 0-5 versus ranked opponents until its second round win in the NCAA tournament versus Texas Tech (ranked sixth at the time of the game). Notre Dame has two remaining opponents on its schedule who are ranked in this week’s two polls – Boston College and Rutgers.
GREEN HAVING HER BEST SEASON
Senior guard Danielle Green is Notre Dame’s leading scorer and second leading rebounder as she is averaging 16.6 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game. She scored 20-plus points in the team’s first three contests and has been the only player in double figures in all 12 contests. Green netted a career-high 23 points in the first two games against UCLA and Butler and grabbed a personal-best 15 rebounds against Duke (to also go with her 20 points).
DOMINATION ON THE BOARDS
Notre Dame is out rebounding its opponents by a 10.2 margin. The Irish were most dominant against Duke as they outrebounded the Blue Devils 67-34, and were just seven rebounds away from tying the school record of 74. Ruth Riley and Danielle Green combined for 33 of those 67 rebounds as Riley finished with a career-high18 boards, while Green also established a personal best with 15. Riley leads the team with 9.5 rpg., while Green is second in the rebounding column with a 7.7 average. Notre Dame is averaging 46.0 rebounds per game and has only been outrebounded in two games this season (UCLA and Boston College).
BALANCED SCORING ATTACK
Four players are averaging double figures scoring for the Irish this season. Danielle Green leads the team with 16.6 ppg., followed by Sheila McMillen (14.4 ppg.), Ruth Riley (14.3 ppg.) and Niele Ivey (13.8 ppg.). In three games, Notre Dame has had five players in double figures scoring. Against Illinois three Irish players ended up with 20 or more points.
WITH THE STUFF
Notre Dame has 69 blocks in 12 games (5.8 per game), while its opponents have just 23. Ruth Riley leads the team with 47 (3.9) and had a career-high eight blocks against Duke on November 21. The eight blocks tied the school mark set by Shari Matvey against Wisconsin-LaCrosse on March 15, 1980.
ASSOCIATED PRESS (Week of Jan. 4)
LW 1. Connecticut (11-0) 1 2. Tennessee (11-1) 2 3. Purdue (9-1) 3 4. Georgia (12-0) 4 5. Louisiana Tech (10-2) 5 6. North Carolina (16-1) 6 7. Texas Tech (12-1) 8 8. Colorado State (15-1) 11 9. NOTRE DAME (10-2) 710. UCLA (9-4) 911. Old Dominion (8-2) 1312. Clemson (11-1) 1013. Duke (10-4) 1714. Virginia Tech (12-0) 1615. Rutgers (10-3) 1516. Iowa State (9-1) 1817. Penn State (9-2) 1218. Alabama (10-4) 1419. Florida (12-4) 2020. Nebraska (12-2) 1921. Kansas (11-3) 2122. Virginia (8-3) 2223. Ohio State (9-3) NR24 Memphis (10-2) 2325. Boston College (10-1) NR
USA TODAY/ESPN (Week of Jan. 4)
LW 1. Connecticut (11-0) 1 2. Tennessee (11-1) 2 3. Purdue (9-1) 3 4. Georgia (12-0) 4 5. Louisiana Tech (10-2) 5 6. North Carolina (16-1) 6 7. Texas Tech (12-1) 8 8. Colorado State (15-1) 9 9. NOTRE DAME (10-2) 710. Clemson (11-1) 1011. UCLA (9-4) 1112. Old Dominion (8-2) 1413. Rutgers (10-3) 1314 Alabama (10-4) 1215. Iowa State (9-1) 1716. Virginia Tech (12-0) 1817. Duke (10-4) 1918. Penn State (9-2) 1519. Nebraska (12-2) 1620. Florida (11-4) 2021. Kansas (11-3) 2122. Virginia (8-3) 2223. Memphis (10-2) 2324. Boston College (10-1) NR25. UC-Santa Barbara (8-3) NR26. Florida Intl. (12-2) NR
1998-99 BIG EAST STANDINGS (through games of Jan. 3)
Overall FinalBIG EAST Record Record Connecticut 4-0 11-0Rutgers 3-0 10-3Miami 3-1 8-3Boston College 2-1 10-1St. John's 2-1 7-7NOTRE DAME 2-2 10-2Pittsburgh 1-1 6-4Villanova 1-2 5-6Seton Hall 1-2 4-7Providence 1-2 2-8West Virginia 1-3 5-6Georgetown 0-3 6-5Syracuse 0-3 4-7