Nov. 27, 2000
Box Score | Coach McGraw Audio | Kelly Siemon Audio
By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame dominated inside against Fordham even with All-American Ruth Riley sitting for much of the game.
With Riley playing only 15 minutes despite having only two fouls, reserve Meaghan Leahy had a career-high 16 points and 14 rebounds, Kelley Siemon scored 14 points and Amanda Barksdale had six blocked shots as No. 4 Notre Dame beat Fordham 89-44 Monday night.
“I just wanted to see what we could do without her in a game where we were struggling to find a little intensity and focus,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said.
McGraw said the Irish were too one-dimensional last season, relying too heavily on Riley, who frequently got in foul trouble. Against Fordham, she had only six points and four rebounds.
Siemon said she has tried to carry a bigger load this season.
“I really need to step up and take some pressure off of Ruth,” Siemon said.
McGraw had been critical of the Irish bench in earlier blowouts, saying they didn’t provide the emotional lift she was looking for. The bench responded against Fordham, scoring 20 of Notre Dame’s 42 second-half points.
Notre Dame, 5-0 for the third time in its history, won its 25th straight home game.
It was the third straight loss for Fordham (0-3), which shot 31.6 percent in the loss.
“We could not match up with them,” coach Jim Lewis said. “We can’t build those kinds of holes to dig ourselves out of.”
Notre Dame had 13 steals, four by Niele Ivey, and nine blocked shots. The Rams committed 22 turnovers.
Leahy scored 14 points in the second half, making 12 of 14 free throws. Alicia Ratay scored 17 points, making all three of her 3-point attempts. Siemon and Ivey each had 14 points. Ivey added eight assists.
Nailah Wallace led Fordham with 13 points and Lauren Fleischer added 12.
The Rams stayed close early, trailing 13-11 after Wallace hit a 3-pointer. But Ivey countered with a 3-pointer and a 10-foot jumper to trigger a 21-4 Irish run. The Irish shot 10-for-13 during the run, which was capped by a three-point play by Siemon.
The Rams switched to a full-court press briefly, with Mobolaji Akiode stealing the inbounds pass to start a 7-2 run. But Ratay and Ivey hit back-to-back 3-pointers and the Irish pulled away again.
The Irish shot 62.5 percent in the first half , including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, and led 47-26 at halftime. The Rams shot 1-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half.
Notre Dame went on an 11-0 run in the second half, with all but two of the points coming from the free-throw line, and opened an insurmountable 66-30 lead. The Irish shot 53.4 percent for the game.