Nov. 24, 2000
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer
MADISON, Wis. – Alicia Ratay scored the go-ahead basket with 1:32 left and followed it with a key defensive play as No. 5 Notre Dame rallied to beat No. 6 Georgia 75-73 on Friday in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge.
In a back-and-forth game befitting two Top Ten teams, Notre Dame (4-0) blew a 13-point lead, overcame a six-point Georgia lead, then turned back the Lady Bulldogs (2-2) in the final minute.
Ratay hit a jump shot over Coco Miller to give Notre Dame a 72-71 lead, then tipped away a pass by Georgia’s Kelly Miller at the other end. Notre Dame’s Niele Ivey ran the ball down, was fouled and sank two free throws for a 74-71 lead with 1:12 left.
Coco Miller’s layup cut the lead to 73-74 with 33 seconds to go and Georgia got the ball back when Ivey threw it away while being pressed. But with 6-foot-5 Ruth Riley blocking her path, Georgia’s Deanna Nolan lost the ball driving to the basket with 7.2 seconds left and the Lady Bulldogs immediately fouled.
Kelly Siemon, just 2-for-8 on free throws at the time, shot an airball on her first attempt before making the second for a 75-73 lead with 6.1 seconds remaining. Notre Dame had fouls to give before putting Georgia in the bonus so the Irish fouled twice, forcing the Lady Bulldogs to inbound the ball on the side with just 1.5 seconds left.
The best they could do was an off-balance, turnaround 3-point shot by Coco Miller that hit the side of the backboard at the buzzer.
Riley and Ivey led Notre Dame with 19 points each, Ratay had 16 and Siemon 13, plus 11 rebounds. Kelly Miller led Georgia with 18 points, Nolan scored 14 and Coco Miller 11.
Georgia, which fell behind 7-0 and 22-9, took its first lead at 46-45 on a 3-pointer by 6-5 freshman Christi Thomas. The Bulldogs built the lead to 63-57 with less than eight minutes left before Ivey hit a 3-pointer to start an 11-0 run that pulled Notre Dame into a 68-63 lead.
Back came the Lady Bulldogs again, who led for the final time at 71-70 on Tawana McDonald’s basket with 1:58 to play.