November 17, 1998
NOTRE DAME, IND. — The 11th-ranked Notre Dame women’s basketball team opened up the 1998-99 campaign with a convincing 99-82 win over the then-sixth-ranked UCLA. The 99 points represented the second most points by the Irish in a season opener and the most by a Notre Dame team in an opening game at the Joyce Center. The win over the Bruins also marked the 400th in the program’s history since its inaugural season in 1977-78.
This week, the Irish travel to Butler on Wednesday, November 18 for a 7:00 p.m. contest with the Bulldogs and then entertain sixth-ranked Duke on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m.
The Notre Dame-Buter game will be televised live on WTBU in Indianapolis.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW — UCLA: The backcourt tandem of Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) and Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.) combined for 48 points to lead five Notre Dame players in double figures as the Irish cruised to a 99-82 victory over sixth-ranked UCLA in the season opener. Ivey scored a career best 25 points and netted her first career double-double as she dished off a personal-high 11 assists. Green also finished with a career-high in scoring as she poured in 23 points and also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Freshman Sherisha Hills (Tampa, Fla.) had 14 points in her collegiate debut. Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) and Ruth Riley (Macy, Ind.) were the other two players in double figures as with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Notre Dame shot 53.0 percent from the field, while limiting the Bruins to 43.5 percent accuracy. UCLA outrebounded Notre Dame 45-35 in the contest.
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 Reginal championship. In 1998, McGraw’s squad finished with a 22-10 mark and advanced to the Sweet 16. In her 11 seasons at Notre Dame, she has a record of 236-105 (.692) and in 16 campaign overall, her teams have registered a 324-145 (.691) ledger.
SERIES RECORD VERSUS UPCOMING OPPONENTS — BUTLER: This will be the 24th meeting between the two schools with the Irish holding a 17-6 advantage in the series. Notre Dame has won three straight over the Bulldogs, including last year’s 71-65 victory at the Joyce Center. The two teams met regularly from 1989-95 while Notre Dame was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. The Irish are 6-3 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. DUKE: Notre Dane owns a 2-1 advantage in the series. The Blue Devils will be making their first-ever appearance at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame won the first two meetings between the two schools in 1996 and 1988, but Duke handed the Irish an 80-62 setback in Durham last year.
NOTRE DAME GETS 400TH WIN IN PROGRAM’S HISTORY — Notre Dame’s victory over UCLA on Saturday marked the 400th in the program’s history since the inaugural season in 1977-78. In the 21-plus seasons, Irish teams have compiled a 400-204 mark for a 66.2 winning percentage and have averaged 19.0 victories since the program’s first campaign.
IVEY NAMED BIG EAST CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK — For the second time in her career, Irish junior guard Niele Ivey has been named the BIG EAST Player of the Week. She shares the honor this week with Connecticut’s Paige Sauer. Ivey led all Irish scorers with a career-high 25 points and recorded her first career double-double by also dishing off personal best 11 assists. In addition, she grabbed four rebounds and made five steals. Her 25-point outing on Saturday marked the second time in her career that she has scored 20-plus points in a contest. Ivey’s first career 20-point game came at Storrs, Conn. last season when she scored 20 points in a loss to the Huskies.
McMILLEN EYES 1,000TH POINT — Senior guard Sheila McMillen enters this week’s two games 26 points shy of becoming the 14th player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history to reach the 1000-point plateau. McMillen has played in 101 games during her three-plus seasons and has started 39 of those contests while averaging 9.7 ppg. She has a better than 40 percent shooting percentage from the field and has hit better than 78 percent of her free throw attempts. McMillen was Notre Dame’s leading scorer a year ago, averaging 13.6 ppg. and has scored in double figures in 46 games during her career.
BIG NUMBERS IN SEASON OPENER — Notre Dame’s 99 points were the second most in a season opener (the most was 113 versus Liberty on November 24, 1989) and most by a Notre Dame team in a season opener at the Joyce Center.
THE CAPTAIN — Sheila McMillen is Notre Dame’s captain this season. This is the first time since 1981-82, and the second time in the program’s history, that the Irish have had just one player serve as a captain during the course of the season. The only other lone captain during a basketball season was Missy Conboy, now an associated athletic director at Notre Dame.
LOFTY RANKINGS — For just the second time in its 22-year history, Notre Dame started the season ranked. The Irish began the 1998-99 campaign with its highest preseason rankings in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN rankings at 17th and 19th, respectively. The win over sixth-ranked UCLA on Saturday, has propelled the Irish to 11th in the AP Poll. Two years ago, Coach Muffet McGraw’s squad was 20th in the AP and 25th in the USA Today/ESPN preseason rankings.
OUT OF THE GATES — Notre Dame’s early-season schedule certainly is the toughest in school history and one of the most challenging nationally with four of the first seven teams on the Irish schedule ranked in the preseason. While the schedule is formidable, McGraw and her team are going to enjoy the luxury of playing all of those games at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame’s faces its second ranked in opponent in a week when the Irish entertain sixth-ranked Duke on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. The other two ranked opponents currently ranked in the Top 25 scheduled to pay a visit to the Joyce Center are 24th-ranked Illinois on Tuesday, November 24 at 7:00 p.m. and BIG EAST rival and second-ranked Connecticut on Tuesday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m.
HOME COOKING — Notre Dame starts the season by playing six of its first eight games at home. The two road games Notre Dame faces before concluding a three-game homestand against Villanova on Saturday, December 12 are against Butler (November 18) and San Francisco (November 28).
GREEN HAS A CAREER DAY — Like her backcourt counterpart Niele Ivey, Danielle Green had a career day of her own as she netted a personal best 23 points in the win over sixth-ranked UCLA as she canned 10-of-18 shots from the field. Her first and only other 20-point outing came against Providence (22 points) last season. In addition to her 23 points, she also had a team-high seven rebounds in the game.
ELITE COMPANY — Notre Dame was one of just nine schools to advance to the Sweet 16 in both 1997 and 1998. The eight other schools on the short list included: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana Tech, North Carolina, Old Dominion and Tennessee. The Irish also were one of 29 teams to earn an NCAA tournament bid each of the last three seasons.
HILLS IMPRESSIVE IN COLLEGIATE DEBUT — Sherisha Hills, who missed the first two exhibition game after suffering a concussion during pre-game collision with Danielle Green had 14 points in her debut. Hills canned her first three-point attempts and finsihed hitting three-of-seven from long-range. She played 20 minutes in the contest, while Notre Dame’s other rookie Ericka Haney (Toledo, Ohio) played 16 minutes and finished with four points.
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 185-64 mark for a .743 winning percentage since that first season. Last season, Notre Dame won school-record 12 games at home en route to a 12-1 record. Since a 78-59 loss to Connecticut on December 6 of last season, the Irish have won 12 straight home games. The record for consecutive home victories at the Joyce Center is 15 set from January 2, 1995 thru January 10, 1996.
WITH THE STUFF — Notre Dame had eight blocks on Saturday against UCLA, while the Bruins had none. Ruth Riley and Diana Braendly (Staten Island, N.Y.) each had three. For Braendly, the three blocks tied her career best.
IRISH ON THE TUBE — Eight of Notre Dame’s regular season games are schedule are slated to be televised. WTBU in Indianapolis will carry the Notre Dame-Butler game live in Indianapolis on Wednesday, November 18. WHME-TV 46 in South Bend will broadcast the Illinois (November 24) and Connecticut (December 8) contests from the Joyce Center. The Michigan State game on Monday, December 21 from East Lansing will be televised by MediaOne Cable. CN8 will televise Notre Dame’s contest at Seton Hall on January 20 and Time Warner Cablevision in Syracuse, N.Y. will broadcast the Notre Dame-Syracuse game on January 26. The Notre Dame-Rutgers on February 13 from Piscataway, N.J. game is part of the eight-game BIG EAST Television Package during the regular-season. That game will be shown live throught selected areas of the country. Mountaineer Sports Network will televise the Notre Dame-West Virginia contest on February 20.
PRESEASON HONORS FOR RILEY AND McMILLEN — The names of Ruth Riley and Sheila McMillen appear on preseason All-America teams of several publications. Notre Dame also is ranked in the polls of every preseason publication. Street & Smith’s: Ruth Riley – First Team; Sheila McMillen – High Honorable Mention; Notre Dame – 24th
The Sporting News: Notre Dame -17th
Dick Vitale’s College Basketball: Notre Dame -14th
Athlon College Basketball: Ruth Riley – Third Team; Notre Dame – 18th
Basketball News: Notre Dame – 22nd
Women’s Basketball Journal: Ruth Riley – Third Team; Notre Dame – 10th
Associated Press: Ruth Riley – Honorable Mention
ASSOCIATED PRESS(Week of Nov. 16) LW1. Purdue (1-0) 52. Connecticut (2-0) 33. Louisiana Tech (0-0) 24. Tennessee (1-1) 15. North Carolina (2-0) 106. Duke (1-1) 47. Georgia (0-0) 78. Virginia (1-0) 89. Alabama (2-0) 910. Rutgers (2-0) 1211. NOTRE DAME (1-0) 1712. Texas Tech (1-0) 1413. George Washington (1-0) 1314. UCLA (0-1) 615. Old Dominion (1-0) 1516. N.C. State (1-0) 1617. Kansas (0-1) 1118. Arkansas (2-1) 1819. Vanderbilt (2-0) 2020. Florida (1-0) T2221. Iowa State (1-0) T2222. Santa Barbara (0-0) 2423. Nebraska (2-0) NR24 Illinois (0-0) 2525. Wisconsin (1-0) NR
USA TODAY/ESPN(PRESEASON) Final 1997-98 Ranking1. Tennessee 12. Louisiana Tech 23. Connecticut 34. Duke T7 5. Purdue 116. UCLA 207. North Carolina 38. Kansas 22 Texas Tech 1010. Georgia NR11. Rutgers 1612. NC State 413. Alabama 1314 Virginia 2315. Old Dominion 616. Geo. Wash NR17. Stanford 1518. Arkansas T719. NOTRE DAME 1820. Florida 1221. Arizona 922. Vanderbilt 2523. Wisconsin NR24. Illinois 1425. Iowa State 24bold italics indicates 1998-99 opponent
1998-99 BIG EAST STANDINGS(through games of nov. 16) BIG EAST Final Overall Rec Rec Connecticut 0-0 2-0 Pittsburgh 0-0 2-0 Rutgers 0-0 2-0 NOTRE DAME 0-0 1-0 Villanova 0-0 1-0 Boston Col. 0-0 1-0 Miami 0-0 0-0 Seton Hall 0-0 0-0 Syracuse 0-0 0-0 Georgetown 0-0 0-1 Providence 0-0 0-1 St. John's 0-0 0-1 West Virginia 0-0 0-1