February 23, 1999
By JR ROSS
Associated Press Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Good things happen to Sheila McMillen in 3s.
With Notre Dame’s school records for 3-pointers in a season and a game already under her belt, McMillen added the career mark for long-range shooting Tuesday night as the No. 10 Irish beat Miami 89-62.
Playing in her last regular season home game for the Irish, McMillen broke the school record with the game’s first shot.
“That’s just a play we run all the time,” McMillen said of her 232nd career 3-pointer. “I found myself wide open, so it was nice to get it out of the way. I think it would have been harder to do if I would have missed my first four shots or whatever.”
Notre Dame (23-3, 15-3 Big East) never trailed and led by double digits most of the game. McMillen was 4-of-9 from 3-point range to raise her career total to 235, topping Beth Morgan’s mark of 231. McMillen has made 84 3-pointers this season.
While McMillen and Niele Ivey hurt Miami (14-12, 9-9) from the outside, Notre Dame center Ruth Riley controlled the inside with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Riley, who sat out much of the second half, was 8-for-9 from the field, while Ivey led all scorers with 19 points.
“We were really trying very, very hard to concentrate our efforts on Sheila McMillen and Ruth Riley in terms of the outside-inside type game they play and the numbers they can put up,” said Miami coach Ferne Labati. “I think Sheila McMillen is a great player and I think Ruth Riley is one of the premier sophomores in the country, and it was very obvious tonight.”
The Irish opened up their first double-digit lead with a 15-0 run, capped by Ivey’s 3-pointer and two free throws, to go up 29-12 early in the first half. The Irish later used an 8-2 spurt to increase their lead to 45-22 on a 3-pointer by McMillen.
Their final big push, a 16-2 second-half run, put the Irish up 77-39 on another McMillen 3-pointer.
“I thought that was about the best 32 minutes of basketball we’ve played since November,” said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, whose squad tied a school record with a 12-1 home mark this season. “I thought we were sharp. We didn’t turn the ball over. We rebounded well. We executed well. We shot the ball well.”
For the most part, Miami did just the opposite.
The Hurricanes shot 31 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the free-throw line. Kym Hope led Miami with 17 points and Jennifer Jordan added 12.
“I just felt at the beginning of the game we played well and we played as a team, but we just didn’t get our shots down,” Labati said. “Notre Dame just really, totally outplayed us in the second half. We didn’t come out with the fire that we needed.”
The Irish has won 14 of their last 15 games heading into this weekend’s Big East tournament, where they will be seeded third with a first-round bye.
“I think we’re definitely going in on an upswing,” McGraw said. “We’ve got a list of things that we need to work on before Sunday. But conference-wise in terms of momentum, we’re definitely on an upswing.”