Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Women's Basketball Set To Host Valparaiso

Nov. 20, 2003

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(#20 AP/#20 ESPN/USA Today) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1)
vs. Valparaiso Crusaders (0-2)

The Date and Time: Friday, Nov. 21, 2003, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Site: Joyce Center (11,418) in Notre Dame, Ind.

The Radio Plans: All Notre Dame games are broadcast live on WDND-AM (ESPN Radio 1620) and/or WNDV-AM (1490) in South Bend with Sean Stires (play-by-play) and Shawn Lewallen (analysis). These broadcasts also are available through the Notre Dame athletics web site at

Real-Time Statistics: Live in-game statistics will be available for the Valparaiso game through the Notre Dame athletics web site.

After an encouraging, but unsatisfying performance at the WBCA Classic last weekend, the 20th-ranked Notre Dame women’s basketball team will make its regular-season home debut Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) against Valparaiso at the Joyce Center. It’s the only time the Irish will play in front of a friendly crowd in their first five games, with visits to Michigan State and Tennessee looming in the next two weeks.

Notre Dame (1-1) finished second at the WBCA Classic following a tough 67-63 overtime loss at then-No. 20 Colorado last Saturday in Boulder, Colo. The Irish jumped out to a 12-0 lead and led the Buffaloes for much of the contest, holding a five-point lead with 30 seconds remaining. However, CU rallied and hit a last-second three-pointer to send the game to overtime, then canned two more treys in the final two minutes of the extra session to pull out the victory.

Senior guard Le’Tania Severe scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Irish in a losing effort. Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast collected her first double-double of the year with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Megan Duffy rolled up a career-high 13 points and nailed a pair of three-point field goals. Both Severe and Batteast were named to the all-tournament team.

Valparaiso (0-2) also opened its season last weekend, dropping both of its games at the Women’s Sports Foundation Classic in Eugene, Ore. The Crusaders struggled to find their shooting touch, hitting at just a .307 rate in losses to Oregon (60-47) and Villanova (68-50), although VU led at the half in the latter contest.

Junior Katie Boone was named to the WSF Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 13 points per game and making all four of her three-point attempts. Valparaiso is coached by Keith Freeman, who is in his 10th season at the school with a record of 155-108 (.589).

After Notre Dame split two games at the season-opening WBCA Classic last weekend, one characteristic of this year’s Irish squad became readily apparent. Notre Dame has evolved into a very diverse club, with a variety of different scoring and playmaking threats on any given night. The Irish also unveiled their up-tempo transition game at the WBCA Classic with good success, jumping out to double-digit leads early in both of their games, and holding that edge for all but four minutes over the first weekend of the season. That’s an impressive statistic considering the quality of opposition Notre Dame faced in No. 22 Auburn and 20th-ranked Colorado.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (20 ppg., 7.5 rpg., .529 FG%) was named to the WBCA Classic All-Tournament Team after a superb weekend that included a career-high 27 points against Auburn. The preseason All-America selection also piled up a double-double vs. Colorado with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward and Colorado native Katy Flecky (12.5 ppg., 4.0 rpg., .500 3FG%) also had a strong tournament in her homecoming, collecting 17 points and burying a trio of three-pointers in the win over Auburn. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the contribution from junior center Teresa Borton (3.0 ppg., 4.5 rpg.), who wasn’t expected to rejoin the Irish until next month following off-season heel surgery. Yet, Borton stepped in, averaged 18 minutes per game and offered strong defense against CU’s All-American center Tera Bjorklund. Borton also made all four of her free throw attempts in overtime and was poised to be the hero until the Buffaloes rallied in the final seconds.

Meanwhile, the Irish backcourt looked especially sturdy, as senior Le’Tania Severe (11.5 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 4.5 apg.) and sophomore Megan Duffy (10.5 ppg., 3.0 apg., .571 3FG%) both kept the opposition guessing. Severe earned a place on the WBCA Classic All-Tournament Team after logging a team-high 14 points and six rebounds in the loss to Colorado. At the same time, Duffy nailed four of seven three-pointers in the two-game set and scored a career-high 13 points vs. Colorado. They were ably complemented by senior guard Monique Hernandez (5.5 ppg., 3.0 rpg., .625 FG%), who provided a jolt of energy off the bench in more than 20 minutes of action.

Notre Dame’s performance at the WBCA Classic also was encouraging in light of the fact that sophomore forward Courtney LaVere (5.5 ppg., 4.5 rpg.), a freshman All-American last season, was hampered with foul trouble throughout the tournament. The Irish also got just a small taste of the contributions their freshman might make, as forward Crystal Erwin (1.5 ppg., 1.0 spg.) was the only rookie to see significant action, logging 10.5 minutes per night.

Following the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history last year, Valparaiso is looking to build on that success with 11 letterwinners and four starters back in the fold in 2003-04. The Crusaders posted an 18-13 record a year ago en route to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship and gave Purdue all it could handle in the NCAA Tournament, leading at the midway point of the first half before falling by a 66-51 count.

Valparaiso (0-2) saw this season get off to a sour start last weekend with two losses at the Women’s Sports Foundation Classic in Eugene, Ore. The Crusaders opened the campaign with a 60-47 loss to Oregon, shooting 31.4 percent from the field and making just one of five free throws. One night later, Valparaiso appeared to have cured its shooting woes, leading 2003 NCAA Elite Eight participant Villanova by a point at halftime and hitting four of seven three-point field goals. However, fortunes changed drastically for the Crusaders in the final 20 minutes, as they made only five of 24 shots (.208) on the way to a 68-50 loss to the Wildcats.

Junior guard Katie Boone was named to the WSF Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 13 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and making all four of her three-point tries. Junior forward Jenna Stangler also had a solid tournament, kicking in eight points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game.

Keith Freeman has been the architect of Valparaiso’s recent success, guiding the Crusaders to a pair of Mid-Con regular-season titles and a WNIT quarterfinal berth in addition to last year’s accomplishments. He sports a 155-108 (.589) record in his 10th season at VU, and he has a 284-155 (.646) mark in a 16-year career that includes stops at Huntington College and St. Joseph’s (Ind.) College.

Notre Dame has held a decisive advantage in the all-time series with Valparaiso, winning all 16 games with the Crusaders, including a 7-0 mark at the Joyce Center. The series dates all the way back to the very first varsity game in Irish women’s basketball history (Dec. 3, 1977), when Notre Dame collected a 48-41 victory in South Bend. This will mark the fifth consecutive year in which the Irish and Crusaders have met on the hardwood.

The two teams last played on Dec. 4, 2002 in Valparaiso, with the Irish pulling out a 74-68 win over the pesky Crusaders. Alicia Ratay led four Irish players in double figures with a game-high 21 points, including eight of 10 free throws. Le’Tania Severe also stood out at the free throw line, making a career-high 11-of-14 foul shots and finishing with 15 points. Notre Dame led virtually the entire game, using a 10-2 run midway through the first half to widen the gap. However, the Crusaders doggedly stayed with the Irish all night long, closing to within one point early in the second half. Notre Dame countered with a 14-1 run over the next five minutes and held off a late Valparaiso charge for the win.

The last time the two sides played at the Joyce Center, the Irish claimed a narrow 42-35 win in the 2001-02 season opener (Nov. 18, 2001). Teresa Borton narrowly missed a double-double in her collegiate debut, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Ratay added 11 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame. Amber Schober scored a team-high 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Valparaiso, which shot 27.7 percent from the field and managed 15 second-half points in the contest. It remains the fewest points Notre Dame has ever scored in a victory.

The Irish have faced only three of the eight current members of the Mid-Continent Conference, sporting a perfect 19-0 record (8-0 at home) against the MCC. The vast majority of those games have come against Valparaiso, with Notre Dame owning a 16-0 mark against the Crusaders. The Irish also have faced MCC members Chicago State (2-0) and Oakland (1-0) in their history.

Coming into the 2003-04 season, Notre Dame had a perfect all-time record against six of the opponents on its schedule. Valparaiso represents the first foe in that list, with the Irish holding a 16-0 series record against the Crusaders, the best mark for Notre Dame against one opponent in its history. In fact, Valparaiso is one of four foes the Irish have defeated at least 10 times without a loss < the=”” others=”” are=”” pittsburgh=”” (13-0),=”” providence=”” (11-0)=”” and=”” st.=”” john’s=””>

Last season, Notre Dame went 8-1 when protecting its unbeaten series marks < the=”” irish=”” maintained=”” their=”” erfect=”” series?=”” against=”” cleveland=”” state,=”” ipfw,=”” pittsburgh=”” (twice),=”” providence,=”” st.=”” john’s=”” (twice)=”” and=”” west=”” virginia.=”” however,=”” notre=”” dame=”” saw=”” its=”” unblemished=”” record=”” vs.=”” virginia=”” tech=”” fall=”” by=”” the=”” wayside=”” when=”” the=”” hokies=”” slipped=”” past=”” the=”” irish,=”” 53-50,=”” last=”” season=”” in=”” blacksburg.=””>

Notre Dame has done quite well against its fellow Indiana schools over the years, compiling a 99-30 (.767) record vs. the rest of the Hoosier State. Among current Division I opponents, the Irish have a winning record against all the other Indiana institutions except Ball State (1-2) and Purdue (4-12). Historically, Notre Dame has had the most in-state success against Butler (19-6), followed by Evansville (18-1) and Friday night’s opponent, Valparaiso (16-0).

The game with the Crusaders is the first of two for the Irish this season against Indiana schools. Notre Dame will battle No. 5/6 Purdue in the inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge live on ESPN2 Jan. 4 in West Lafayette, Ind.

Notre Dame has been very successful in home openers, going 18-8 (.692) in its first game of the season at the Joyce Center. The Irish also have won their last eight home openers (1995-present), coinciding exactly with their membership in the BIG EAST Conference, and they are 12-4 in home lidlifters under veteran head coach Muffet McGraw. The last time Notre Dame lost a home opener was Nov. 30, 1994, when 13th-ranked Purdue edged the Irish, 87-83.

Notre Dame has gotten off to a strong start in the month of November over the last eight seasons. Since the start of the 1995-96 campaign, the Irish are 28-6 (.824) in November games, including wins in 10 of their last 13 games in the month. Notre Dame is 1-1 in the month of November this year, defeating No. 22 Auburn and falling in overtime at 20th-ranked Colorado in the WBCA Classic.

Notre Dame wasted little time in squaring off with ranked competition this season as the Irish took on No. 22 Auburn and No. 20 Colorado at last weekend’s WBCA Classic. It marked the sixth time in school history that Notre Dame opened with a ranked opponent, and with the 77-64 win over Auburn, the Irish defeated a Top 25 foe in their first game of the year for the second time ever. Notre Dame almost made a bit of school history with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents to start the season, but Colorado rallied and defeated the Irish in overtime (67-63) to foil that claim.

Over the years, Notre Dame has had most of its success against ranked opponents when it is ranked itself < the=”” irish=”” are=”” 159-37=”” (.811)=”” all-time=”” when=”” they=”” takes=”” the=”” floor=”” as=”” a=”” top=”” 25=”” team.=”” notre=”” dame=”” stands=”” 20th=”” in=”” the=”” associated=”” press=”” poll=”” and=”” 20th=”” in=”” the=”” espn/usa=”” today=”” coaches’=”” poll=”” entering=”” friday?s=”” game=”” with=”” valparaiso.=”” see=”” pages=”” 170-172=”” in=”” the=”” notre=”” dame=”” women?s=”” basketball=”” media=”” guide=”” for=”” more=”” information=”” on=”” the=”” irish=”” against=”” ranked=”” opponents.=””>


  • Notre Dame will pick up its ninth consecutive home-opening win and improve to 19-8 (.704) all-time in Joyce Center lidlifters.
  • The Irish will improve to 17-0 all-time against Valparaiso, preserving the best record against one opponent in school history.
  • Notre Dame will move to 20-0 all-time against current members of the Mid-Continent Conference, including a 9-0 mark at the Joyce Center.
  • The Irish will rise to 29-6 (.829) in the month of November over the last eight seasons.
  • Notre Dame will pick up its 100th career win against another Indiana school, jumping to 100-30 (.769) all-time against Hoosier State opposition.
  • Head coach Muffet McGraw will see her record at Notre Dame rise to 365-139 (.724) in 17 seasons under the Golden Dome. She also will watch her career ledger improve to 453-180 (.716) in 22 years at the college level.
  • The Irish will raise their all-time record to 529-238 (.690) in 27 seasons of varsity competition.

No. 15 Notre Dame led almost the entire way, but 20th-ranked Colorado led when it counted, pulling out a 67-63 overtime win over the Irish in the championship game of the WBCA Classic on Nov. 15 in Boulder, Colo.

Senior guard Le’Tania Severe scored a team-high 14 points and added six rebounds for Notre Dame, which was seeking to open its season with consecutive wins over Top 25 opponents for the first time in school history. Sophomore guard Megan Duffy chipped in with a career-high 13 points and junior forward Jacqueline Batteast collected her first double-double of the season (and 20th of her career) with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame seized control of the game early, opening the contest on 12-0 run that caused CU to burn a timeout with only four minutes gone. The Buffaloes got back within five three times, but Batteast knocked down a baseline jumper to rebuild a 28-18 Irish lead at the 6:54 mark. CU rallied and got within a point in the final half-minute, but Severe buried a three-pointer from the left side at the halftime horn to give Notre Dame some critical momentum.

However, it was Colorado that came out of the locker room fired up, scoring six of the first eight points in the second half to take its first lead of the game at 41-39 with 14:27 left. Notre Dame rebounded and regained the lead on a Batteast jumper midway through the frame. The Buffaloes pulled even once again at 47-47 with 4:42 remaining, but Notre Dame wouldn’t be swayed and twice took a five-point lead, the second coming at 55-50 on a three-point play by Katy Flecky with 30 seconds to go. CU’s Veronica Johns-Richardson hit two free throws six seconds later and after Duffy missed the front end of a one-and-one, Johns-Richardson calmly swished the game-tying three-pointer with less than a second remaining in regulation < those=”” would=”” be=”” her=”” only=”” points=”” of=”” the=””>

In overtime, Notre Dame took a pair of two-point leads, the second when Teresa Borton made two free throws for a 61-59 edge at the 1:55 mark. Colorado’s Emily Waner hit a trey to give her team the lead, but Borton answered with two more free throws to put the Irish in front, 63-62 with 22 seconds left. Waner would up having the final say, canning another three-pointer from the right corner with 12.6 seconds to go. Notre Dame had one last chance, but an entry pass was stolen and the Buffaloes made two free throws in the final two seconds to seal the win.

In each of its first two games, Notre Dame rocked its opponent with big game-opening runs. Against No. 22 Auburn, the Irish began the game on a 15-4 run and never looked back, ousting the defending WNIT champion Tigers, 77-64. One night later, Notre Dame stunned No. 20 Colorado and a vocal crowd at the Coors Events Center by going on a 12-0 run in the first four minutes of the contest. The Irish went on to lead the Buffaloes virtually the entire way before CU pulled out a 67-63 overtime win.

One of the bright spots for Notre Dame in last weekend’s WBCA Classic was the amount of time it played from in front. Through the first two games of this season, the Irish have either led or been tied for 421:04 out of a possible 425 minutes. In the remaining four minutes, Notre Dame has trailed by two points or less for all but two seconds of that span (the final two seconds of overtime in Colorado’s 67-63 win on Nov. 15).

Notre Dame shot the ball very well in its first two games of the season, logging a .470 field goal percentage at the WBCA Classic. The Irish connected at a 50-percent clip vs. No. 22 Auburn, including a .571 mark in the second half. Then, Notre Dame shot .442 at 20th-ranked Colorado, highlighted by a 53.8-percent effort in the first half.

The Irish also sparkled from beyond the three-point arc, hitting at a .467 rate (11 of 23) from long distance. That feat was even more impressive when you consider the international three-point line of 20 feet, six inches (a full nine inches further than the current NCAA line) was in play for the WBCA Classic. Sophomore guard Megan Duffy led the Irish three-point assault, hitting four of seven treys for a .571 percentage, a far cry from her .200 three-point percentage (seven of 35) last season. Junior forward Katy Flecky also showed diversity in her game, making four of eight triples after connecting on just seven of 26 three-point attempts (.269) last year.

Although they didn’t come away with the trophy they wanted at the WBCA Classic, junior forward Jacqueline Batteast and senior guard Le’Tania Severe did receive individual honors as members of the WBCA Classic All-Tournament Team. Batteast averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two-game tournament, while shooting .529 from the field. Severe carded 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in the tournament and posted a stellar .857 free throw percentage (12 of 14). It was the first career all-tournament team selection for both players.

After missing the last season and a half, senior guard Monique Hernandez got right back in the saddle for Notre Dame at the WBCA Classic, providing a spark off the bench in both games. The Rio Rancho, N.M., native averaged 5.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while making five of eight shots (.625) at the tournament. In the season opener vs. No. 22 Auburn, Hernandez knocked down all three of her shots from the field, including her second career three-pointer, and scored seven points in only 17 minutes of action as the Irish posted a wire-to-wire win over the Tigers. Entering this season, Hernandez was averaging 2.1 points and 0.9 rebounds per game with a .388 field goal percentage.

Notre Dame is ranked 20th in the latest Associated Press poll, marking the 96th week in which the Irish have appeared in the AP Top 25 poll. The Irish were ranked 15th in the preseason AP poll, marking the seventh time in the last eight seasons that the Irish were tapped in the initial AP survey of the year.

Notre Dame also is ranked 20th in the most recent ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, following its No. 16 in the preseason coaches poll. That represented the seventh time in eight years that the Irish had appeared in the first ESPN/USA Today poll of the year.

Notre Dame has faced or will face five teams that are currently ranked in both major polls (No. 1/1 Connecticut, No. 3/3 Tennessee, No. 5/6 Purdue, No. 15/15 Rutgers and No. 16/16 Colorado). In addition, Auburn is ranked 25th in the latest AP poll and seven other Notre Dame opponents presently are receiving votes in one or both of the major polls < boston=”” college,=”” colorado=”” state,=”” michigan=”” state,=”” pittsburgh,=”” villanova,=”” virginia=”” tech=”” and=”” washington.=””>

Notre Dame has a full stable back in the fold this season, with four starters and eight monogram winners returning from last year?s club that advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time in seven seasons. Numerous media outlets took notice of these facts and pegged the Irish high in the their preseason rankings. Seven of those publications ranked Notre Dame in the Top 20 in the country to begin this season < athlon=”” sports=”” (13th),=”” basketball=”” times=”” (13th),=”” women?s=”” basketball=”” magazine=”” (16th),=”” street=”” &=”” smith?s=”” (17th),=”” women?s=”” basketball=”” news=”” service=”” (17th),=”” full=”” court=”” press=”” (18th)=”” and=”” lindy?s=”” annual=”” (18th).=”” in=”” addition,=”” women’”” had=”” the=”” irish=”” ranked=”” 14th=”” in=”” its=”” “early=”” bird=”” top=”” 50=”” for=”” 2003-04.”=””>

According to a preseason survey of the BIG EAST Conference coaches, Notre Dame will finish third in the conference this season. Those were the results released at the league’s annual Media Day Oct. 30 in Newark, N.J. The Irish earned 139 points, placing them behind two-time defending national champion Connecticut (169 points, 13 first-place votes) and Rutgers (156 points, one first-place vote) in the preseason poll. Virginia Tech was fourth, followed by Boston College, Miami and Villanova. All seven of those schools qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season, with Notre Dame, Connecticut, Boston College and Villanova all advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

Notre Dame is beginning its ninth season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference in 2003-04. The Irish have gone 112-24 (.824) all-time in regular-season conference games, posting the best winning percentage in league history. Connecticut is second with a .773 success rate. Notre Dame also has finished either first or second in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings six times, including a share of the BIG EAST title in 2000-01.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind.) is one of 30 players who were named to the 2003-04 John R. Wooden Women?s Award Preseason All-America Team on Aug. 13. Based on a vote of the Wooden Women?s Award National Advisory Board, these 30 players are considered the top candidates for the inaugural Wooden Women?s Award, which will be presented to the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player at the conclusion of the ?03-04 season.

Batteast is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection who started every game for the Irish last season, leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.56 bpg.). She also ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in those categories, as well as steals (1.97 spg.) and double-doubles (8). In addition, the 6-2 wing scored in double figures 26 times, topped the 20-point mark five times, and earned game-high rebounding honors of 14 occasions. She ranks among Notre Dame?s career leaders in scoring average (6th – 13.8 ppg.) and rebounding average (tie-2nd – 8.1 rpg.), and she is one of only five players in school history to amass at least 800 points in her first two seasons under the Golden Dome.

Batteast is one of five BIG EAST players named to the Wooden Preseason All-America Team, joining Rebekkah Brunson of Georgetown, Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers, and the Connecticut duo of Ann Strother and Diana Taurasi.

In mid-January, the Wooden Women?s Award Committee will release its Midseason Top 20 List, followed in March by the official voting ballot which will consist of the top 10-15 players who have proven their success in the classroom (minimum 2.0 grade-point average) as well as on the court. More than 250 voters, comprised of sports media members and women?s college basketball experts around the country, will then cast their votes for the five-member Wooden All-America Team and the Wooden Award winner.

Although the 2003-04 season marks the debut of the Wooden Women?s Award, the honor initially was created in 1976 to recognize the top male collegiate basketball player in the nation. Past winners include Larry Bird (?79), Michael Jordan (?84) and Tim Duncan (?97).

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast is one of 35 players who were selected to the 2003-04 State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List on Aug. 20 by the Women?s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Based on a vote of committee members which include leading coaches, journalists and basketball administrators, these 35 players are considered the top candidates for the State Farm Wade Trophy, which will be presented to the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player at the conclusion of the ?03-04 season.

Batteast is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection who started every game for the Irish last season, leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.56 bpg.). She also ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in those categories, as well as steals (1.97 spg.) and double-doubles (8). In addition, the 6-2 wing scored in double figures 26 times, topped the 20-point mark five times, and earned game-high rebounding honors of 14 occasions. She ranks among Notre Dame?s career leaders in scoring average (6th – 13.8 ppg.) and rebounding average (tie-2nd – 8.1 rpg.), and she is one of only five players in school history to amass at least 800 points in her first two seasons under the Golden Dome.

Batteast was one of five BIG EAST players named to the ?03-04 Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List, joining Rebekkah Brunson of Georgetown, Ieva Kublina of Virginia Tech, Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers and last year?s Wade Trophy recipient, Diana Taurasi of Connecticut.

The State Farm Wade Trophy, now in its 27th year, is named after Margaret Wade, the late Delta State University coach who won three national championship in the mid-1970s. The Wade Trophy is considered the one of the most prestigious individual awards in women?s college basketball and is organized by the WBCA, in conjunction with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS).

Adding to her armload of preseason hardware, junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind.) was named a preseason honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith’s in the magazine’s annual basketball preview issue. It’s the third preseason honor for the talented 6-2 wing, who is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection. She also was the 2001-02 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year and a WBCA/Kodak honorable mention All-American that season, as well as the unanimous choice for BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind.) and freshman forward Crystal Erwin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) both received preseason recognition in a vote of the BIG EAST Conference coaches that was released at the league’s annual Media Day on Oct. 30 at the Newark (N.J.) Liberty Airport Hilton. Batteast was a preseason first-team all-BIG EAST selection, while Erwin was named the Preseason BIG EAST Co-Freshman of the Year, sharing the honor with Connecticut’s Liz Sherwood.

Batteast led the Irish in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.), blocked shots (1.56 bpg.) and double-doubles (8), ranking among the BIG EAST leaders in all four categories. She is a two-time second-team all-conference selection and is one of only five players in school history to score 800 points in her first two seasons at Notre Dame.

As a senior last year at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Erwin earned All-America honors from Parade, Street & Smith’s and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and also was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-America Game in Atlanta. She averaged 22.3 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game during her storied prep career, averaging double-doubles during both her junior (24.9 ppg., 14.9 rpg.) and senior seasons (21.2 ppg., 10.2 rpg.). She holds career records at St. Paul for points (2,720), rebounds (1,630) and blocks (380), as well as the school single-season scoring mark (869 in 2001-02). She follows Batteast as the second Irish rookie in three years to be chosen the BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast is among 30 preseason candidates named to the watch list for 2003-04 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Awards which are presented annually by the Atanta Tip-Off Club. The Naismith Awards program, now in its 36th year, honors the outstanding male and female college basketball players in the United States. The awards program was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an organization dedicated to recognizing the achievements of student-athletes in basketball. The candidates were selected by a vote of the Board of Selectors comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball analysts.

Batteast is a two-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection who started every game for the Irish last season, leading the team in scoring (13.9 ppg.), rebounding (8.3 rpg.) and blocked shots (1.56 bpg.). She also ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in those categories, as well as steals (1.97 spg.) and double-doubles (8). In addition, the 6-2 wing scored in double figures 26 times, topped the 20-point mark five times, and earned game-high rebounding honors of 14 occasions. She ranks among Notre Dame?s career leaders in scoring average (6th – 13.8 ppg.) and rebounding average (tie-2nd – 8.1 rpg.), and she is one of only five players in school history to amass at least 800 points in her first two seasons under the Golden Dome.

The Naismith Award is the latest in a series of preseason honors for the Batteast. She was named a preseason All-American by both the John R. Wooden Women?s Award and Street & Smith?s magazine, and she also was selected to the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List. In addition, she was chosen as a first-team all-BIG EAST choice, according to a vote of the league?s head coaches.

Over the last four seasons, Notre Dame has been nearly unbeatable when it has the lead at halftime. The Irish are 63-5 (.926) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, although one of those rare losses occurred vs. Colorado in last weekend’s WBCA Classic. Notre Dame led 37-33 at the intermission before the Buffaloes rallied for a 67-63 overtime win.

Over the last nine seasons, Notre Dame has discovered that a solid defensive effort can almost certainly guarantee a victory. In fact, since the beginning of the 1995-96 season (Notre Dame?s first in the BIG EAST Conference), the Irish have an amazing 114-4 (.966) record when they hold their opponents to less than 60 points in a game.

Not resting solely on its defensive laurels, Notre Dame also seemingly has found the magic mark when it comes to outscoring its opponents. Over the last nine seasons (1995-96 to present), the Irish are 85-3 (.966) when they score at least 80 points in a game. The only blemishes on that record are a pair of overtime losses to Texas A&M (88-84) and Michigan State (87-83) in 1995 and a 106-81 loss to Connecticut in 1998.

Notre Dame is one of only eight schools in the country to have appeared in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen five times in the past seven seasons (1997-2003). The others are Connecticut (seven times), Tennessee (seven times), Duke (six times), Louisiana Tech (six times), North Carolina (five times), Old Dominion (five times) and Texas Tech (five times).

The Irish are one of just six teams nationwide to have an active streak of 10 consecutive 20-win seasons. The others in these elite club are Tennessee (27), Texas Tech (14), Louisiana Tech (12), Old Dominion (12) and Connecticut (10).

For the first time since the 1998-99 season, the Irish are wearing white uniforms at home this season, eschewing the golden togs they sported for the past four seasons. Notre Dame has worn white uniforms on numerous occasions on the past, dating as far back as the school?s first varsity women?s basketball squad, which took the floor in 1977-78. Blue will continue to be the primary color for the Irish road uniforms.

The newest addition to the Notre Dame coaching staff is Jonathan Tsipis, who was hired on May 13, 2003. Tsipis (pronounced SIP-iss) comes to Notre Dame following one season as the director of men’s basketball operations at UNC Greensboro, working under former Irish assistant coach Fran McCaffery.

Prior to arriving at UNC Greensboro, Tsipis spent two seasons as an assistant men’s coach at Elon (N.C.) University. While there, he worked primarily with the Phoenix’s perimeter players and also helped coordinate the team’s scouting and recruiting efforts. In addition, he was responsible for organizing the team’s travel plans and off-season workout programs.

Tsipis came to Elon after one year as the top assistant men’s coach at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. He also spent three seasons on the men’s basketball staff at Cornell University (one as a full-time assistant, two as a volunteer aide), and one year as a student assistant men’s basketball coach at Duke University. In the latter role, he served under legendary Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski and worked alongside current University of Missouri head men’s basketball coach Quin Snyder.

In addition to his coaching duties, Tsipis also serves as the President of the Future Hoopsters Basketball Camp which he founded in 1991. The four-week camp, which focus on specialized individual instruction, originated with 13 campers and now brings in over 100 each summer. He also worked at the Basketball Camp USA in Letahoria, Greece, in July of 2001. There, Tsipis worked clinics for top-ranked junior players from Greece and Macedonia, focusing on perimeter and ball handling skills.

A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Tsipis graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree in Pharmacy. He and his wife, Leigh, reside in South Bend.

One of the hallmarks of Notre Dame?s success has been its stellar play at home. In fact, the Irish have been virtually untouchable at home in recent years, winning 85 of their last 92 games at the 11,418-seat Joyce Center, including a school-record 51-game winning streak from 1998-2002 (at the time, it was the 10th-longest string in NCAA history).

Notre Dame also has a 61-7 (.897) record in BIG EAST Conference play at the Joyce Center, sporting a 31-game winning streak at home before it was snapped with a 48-45 loss to Villanova in the 2002 home finale.

Since its inaugural season in 1977-78, Notre Dame has played all of its games at the Joyce Center, posting a 248-70 (.780) record at the venerable facility. In both the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons, the Irish were a perfect 15-0 at home, setting a school record for home wins in a season. Also, since joining the BIG EAST for the 1995-96 season, Notre Dame is 98-9 (.916) at the Joyce Center.

For the third consecutive season, Notre Dame finished among the Top 10 in the nation in attendance for 2002-03. The Irish averaged 7,132 fans for their 13 home games last season, good for eighth in the final NCAA attendance rankings. Last season also saw Notre Dame register two of the top 10 crowds in school history, including a season-high gathering of 9,483 fans, the fifth-largest in school history for the nationally-televised matchup with Purdue on Jan. 4.

All of the top 20 crowds in the Irish record book have occurred during the 16-year tenure of head coach Muffet McGraw (1987-present). And, as more evidence of Notre Dame?s rapid elevation to ?hot ticket? status in South Bend, 19 of the top 20 crowds in school history have been recorded in the last four seasons.

Historically, Notre Dame has always played a difficult schedule and 2003-04 is more evidence of that fact. The Irish will play no less than 17 teams that qualified for postseason play last year, including 12 NCAA Tournament squads and six that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen (highlighted by two-time defending national champion Connecticut and NCAA runner-up Tennessee). In addition, six opponents (Connecticut, Old Dominion, Purdue, Tennessee, Valparaiso and Villanova) won the regular-season or tournament title in their respective conference. Furthermore, 19 of the 26 possible Irish opponents finished with records of .500 or better last season, including 12 squads that posted 20-win campaigns. All told, Notre Dame opponents had a combined winning percentage of .610 last season (490-313).

With all of this in mind, Notre Dame’s 2003-04 schedule was ranked 22nd in the nation, according to the preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/Summerville RPI.

Based on its success in recent years, Notre Dame continues to be a favorable television draw and the 2003-04 season will be no exception. The Irish are slated to play on the small screen no less than seven times in the coming campaign, including three appearances on national television.

Notre Dame will make its ?03-04 television debut Dec. 7 at Washington in a matchup that will be shown to a national cable audience on Fox Sports Net. The Irish are back on coast-to-coast television Jan. 4 when they visit Purdue for the inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. That contest will be shown live on ESPN2. In addition, Notre Dame has been selected to appear on the BIG EAST Conference television package four times this season, including three home games. The Irish will take on Virginia Tech (Jan. 10), Villanova (Jan. 24) and Boston College (Jan. 31) at home and travel to Rutgers (Feb. 28) for games in front of the BIG EAST TV cameras. Those games may be seen on a regional basis in several major East Coast markets, including New York, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, as well as South Bend, where WHME-TV will show the games on a delayed basis.

It also was recently announced that Notre Dame will make a third national TV appearance during the 2003-04 regular season. The Feb. 25 game between the Irish and Miami at the Joyce Center will be broadcast live by College Sports Television (CSTV) and will tip off at 8 p.m. (ET) < some=”” early=”” schedules=”” initially=”” had=”” this=”” game=”” listed=”” one=”” hour=”” earlier.=””>

The semifinals of this year’s BIG EAST Championship presented by State Farm also will be broadcast on the BIG EAST television package Monday, March 8 at 6 and 8 p.m. (ET) from the Hartford (Conn.) Civic Center. WHME-TV in South Bend will carry those games live. The championship game will air live on ESPN2 on Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. (EST).

After a two-year absence, the Joyce Center once again will be home to NCAA Tournament competition as Notre Dame was selected to be one of 16 sites for first- and second-round games in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Action at the South Bend subregional will take place Sunday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 23, with exact tipoff times and potential television broadcasts to be determined by the NCAA during the week leading up to the competition.

Should Notre Dame qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in school history (and the ninth consecutive season), the Irish are guaranteed to play at home. Notre Dame has played five NCAA tourney games at the Joyce Center in its history, going 4-1 and and advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2000 and 2001 (the Irish went on to win the national championship in the latter season).

Tickets for NCAA Tournament games at the Joyce Center currently are available only to Notre Dame season ticket holders, who have a priority option to purchase seats for the event. Tickets for the Sunday and Tuesday sessions will go on sale to the general public Monday, Dec. 1. Single-game tickets will not be made available until after the field of 64 is announced on March 14. For more information on how to purchase tickets for the 2004 NCAA Tournament at the Joyce Center, contact the Notre Dame ticket office at (574) 631-7356.

Once again this season, every Irish women’s basketball game (home and away) will air on the flagship stations of the Artistic Media Partners (AMP) Network < wdnd-am=”” (espn=”” radio=”” 1620)=”” and=”” wndv-am=”” (1490)=”” in=”” south=”” bend.=”” veteran=”” broadcaster=”” and=”” amp=”” sports=”” director=”” sean=”” stires=”” is=”” now=”” in=”” his=”” fourth=”” season=”” handling=”” the=”” play-by-play=”” for=”” notre=”” dame,=”” while=”” amp=”” sports=”” personality=”” shawn=”” lewallen=”” is=”” in=”” his=”” second=”” season=”” providing=”” analysis.=”” the=”” irish=”” also=”” can=”” be=”” heard=”” on=”” the=”” internet=”” at=”” notre=”” dame’s=”” official=”” athletics=”” website=”” (”” by=”” subscribing=”” to=”” fighting=”” irish=”” pass,=”” which=”” gives=”” listeners=”” full=”” access=”” to=”” a=”” variety=”” of=”” irish=”” athletics=”” events=”” on=”” radio=”” for=”” only=”” $6.95=”” per=”” month.=””>

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw tried her hand at writing during the past year and has co-authored a book with Bradley University professor Paul Gullifor entitled “Courting Success: Muffet McGraw’s Formula For Winning In Sports And In Life.” The book, which currently is in bookstores nationwide and may be purchased through on-line booksellers such as, touches on how, in the shadows of the nation?s most storied football program, McGraw has quietly built the women?s basketball program into a national power.

Women?s basketball has been one of the University?s most consistently successful varsity sport during the past 16 years, qualifying for the postseason 13 times, including 10 trips to the NCAA Tournament, five NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances and two Final Fours berths. The team?s rise to national prominence was then cemented with a national championship in 2001. In short, the Notre Dame women?s basketball program has been steadily built into a perennial national championship contender, and its architect for those 16 years has been McGraw. Entering the 2003-04 season, the Pottsville, Pa., native has won 363 games at Notre Dame, has a stellar .725 winning percentage and was the consensus 2001 national Coach of the Year.

Personal accolades aside, McGraw has always been more concerned with off-court success than the progress of her teams. Accordingly, this book is a motivational and inspirational book in which she shares her ingredients for success < on=”” and=”” off=”” the=”” court.=”” it=”” provides=”” lessons=”” for=”” those=”” aspiring=”” toward=”” success=”” in=”” basketball,=”” and=”” in=”” life,=”” while=”” illustrating=”” why=””>Muffet McGraw is one of college basketball?s most accomplished coaches.

Here’s a rundown of some upcoming promotions and giveaways at future Notre Dame women’s basketball games this season (additional promotions and giveaways may be added at a later date):

  • Nov. 21 vs. Valparaiso < foam=”” fingers=”” to=”” the=”” first=”” 1,500=”” fans=””>
  • Dec. 4 vs. Wisconsin < notre=”” dame=”” player=”” trading=”” cards=”” to=”” the=”” first=”” 2,500=”” fans=”” dec.=”” 13=”” vs.=”” dayton=””>< women’s=”” basketball=”” window=”” clings=”” to=”” the=”” first=”” 3,000=”” fans=””>

Notre Dame will head back out on the road next Wednesday, Nov. 26, to take on Michigan State at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. It will mark the first meeting between the Irish and Spartans since Dec. 11, 1999, when Notre Dame defeated MSU, 84-54 at the Joyce Center. The Spartans still leads the overall series with Notre Dame, 6-4, including a 3-2 edge in East Lansing.

MSU presents a unique blend of veteran leadership and rookie talent this season, with four starters back from last year’s team that went 17-12 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans also have five freshmen on their roster this year. Michigan State opens its season at home Friday vs. Davidson in the Dean Trailways of Mid-Michigan Spartan Classic. Florida International and Temple are also in the field at that tournament.