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Women's Hoops Continues Rugged Early-Season Schedule At Third-Ranked Tennessee

Nov. 28, 2003

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(#17 AP/#17 ESPN/USA Today) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-2) vs. (#3 AP/#3 ESPN/USA Today) Tennessee Lady Volunteers (1-0)

The Date and Time: Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003, at 3 p.m. ET.

The Site: Thompson-Boling Arena (24,535) in Knoxville, Tenn.

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 are available for the Tennessee game through the Notre Dame ( and Tennessee ( athletics web sites.

Web Site: Notre Dame (, Tennessee (

The 17th-ranked Notre Dame women’s basketball team winds up the month of November with its fourth road game in five outings, taking on No. 3 Tennessee Sunday at 3 p.m. (ET) at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. The Lady Vols are the third ranked team the Irish will face in the first month of the season, with Notre Dame splitting matchups against Auburn (win) and Colorado (overtime loss) two weeks ago at the WBCA Classic in Boulder, Colo.

The Irish (2-2) suffered a disappointing setback in their last game, falling at Michigan State, 92-63, on Wednesday night in East Lansing, Mich. Notre Dame simply ran into a highly-motivated Spartan club that shot the lights out, hitting 56.7 percent of their shots and forcing the Irish to play from behind virtually the entire night.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast and sophomore forward Courtney LaVere each scored a team-high 12 points for Notre Dame, with Batteast chipping in a team-best five rebounds. As a team, the Irish shot well from the floor, posting a .480 field goal percentage, but they were soundly beaten on the glass by a 40-20 count.

Tennessee (1-0) has played just once this season, opening up with an 83-52 win over Chattanooga last Sunday in Knoxville. Shyra Ely logged game highs of 20 points and nine rebounds, while Shanna Zolman collected 13 points and Loree Moore contributed 12 points for the Lady Vols. UT raced out to a 22-point halftime lead and kept their in-state rivals at bay to lock up the victory.

The all-time series between Notre Dame and Tennessee has been one-sided, with the Lady Vols holding a 15-0 edge against the Irish, including a 6-0 mark in Knoxville. In their most recent meeting, UT claimed a 77-61 victory on Dec. 28, 2002, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Ely helped pace Tennessee to the win with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Coming into this season, one of the bigger question marks surrounding Notre Dame was its perimeter play. The Irish figured to count on their post offense in the early part of the year while their outside shooting developed to fill in the void left by the graduation of Alicia Ratay. Yet, through the first four games of the season, it has been the Notre Dame backcourt that has sparkled while the posts have had difficulty getting on track.

Sophomore Megan Duffy (9.3 ppg., team-high 4.8 apg., .571 3FG%) is in her first season as the everyday point guard for the Irish and she already is showing signs of being a key cog in the Notre Dame offensive arsenal. After averaging only three points and 2.3 assists per game last year, the Dayton, Ohio, native has more than tripled her scoring output and she owns a team-best 1.19 assist/turnover ratio. In addition, she is showing offensive diversity, knocking down four of seven three-pointers this season and posting a career-high 13 points in an overtime loss at No. 20 Colorado.

Senior captain Le’Tania Severe (9.5 ppg., 4.0 apg.) has slid over to the shooting guard position in place of Ratay and has filled in admirably thus far. While not putting up the three-point numbers Ratay had in her remarkable career, Severe is getting her points as a slasher, driving to the basket and creating havoc for opposing defenses. She also leads the Irish with 2.3 steals per game and has been a vital piece of Notre Dame’s transition game. She collected a season-high 14 points in the loss to Colorado and was named to the WBCA Classic All-Tournament Team.

Senior guard Jeneka Joyce (9.0 ppg., .750 3FG%) also has been a pleasant surprise recently. After missing more than 20 months with recurring leg injuries, Joyce returned to action Nov. 21 vs. Valparaiso and promptly drained all three of her three-point attempts. She then knocked down three more treys to begin the Michigan State game before missing her final two long-range tries. Still, she leads the Irish in three-point percentage and ranks fifth on the school’s career charts in that category (.391).

Junior forward and preseason All-American Jacqueline Batteast (16.8 ppg., 7.5 rpg.) has lived up to her accolades early this season, leading Notre Dame in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots while posting a solid .484 field goal percentage. She was named to the WBCA Classic All-Tournament Team on Nov. 15 after a superb weekend that included a career-high 27 points against 22nd-ranked Auburn. She then piled up back-to-back double-doubles vs. No. 20 Colorado (13p, 10r) and Valparaiso (15p, 10r) before logging a team-high 12 points at Michigan State. She now has 50 career double-figure scoring games, 21 career double-doubles and needs only 130 points to become the 20th Notre Dame player to score 1,000 career points.

Junior Katy Flecky (8.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg.) and sophomore Courtney LaVere (8.5 ppg., 4.8 rpg., .560 FG%) also have made important contributions at times this season. Flecky scored 17 points in the season-opening win over No. 22 Auburn, burying a trio of three-pointers in the win. Meanwhile, LaVere, a freshman All-American last season, has had to deal with several bouts of foul trouble, but appears to have strugged that off lately. She tied Batteast for team-high scoring honors with 12 points at Michigan State and she now leads the Irish with a .560 field goal percentage this year (14-25).

Unlike Notre Dame, Tennessee has not had much game experience this season, playing just once, while the Irish already have taken the floor four times in 2003-04. However, game experience has never really been a problem for the Lady Vols, who have been a national power for more than a quarter of a century and are coming off their 14th trip to the NCAA Final Four last season. Nine letterwinners and three starters are back from the club and provide Tennessee with a solid foundation for the future.

The Lady Vols opened this season last Sunday (Nov. 23) with an 82-53 win over Chattanooga at Thompson-Boling Arena. Junior forward Shyra Ely notched game highs of 20 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Shanna Zolman tallied 13 points and junior guard Loree Moore added 12 points in the victory. As a team, Tennessee shot 47.6 percent from the floor and held a sizeable 47-32 edge in the rebounding column, while forcing 26 Chattanooga turnovers.

With the departure of All-Americans Kara Lawson and Gwen Jackson to the WNBA, Ely takes over as the primary scoring threat for the Lady Vols after averaging 9.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season. Zolman kicked in 7.5 ppg. and will provide solid perimeter play after posting a .385 three-point percentage in her rookie campaign. Meanwhile, Moore should capably run the point for UT after averaging 3.8 apg. with a 1.51 assist/turnover ratio in 2002-03. Junior guard Brittany Jackson also is a strong backcourt presence after carding 5.7 ppg. last year with a .352 three-point percentage.

Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt is in her 30th season at Tennessee, having compiled an 822-163 (.835) during her legendary career. Her win total and six national championships are the most by any women’s basketball coach in history, and when you combine the all-time rankings of men’s and women’s basketball coaches, Summitt stands second only to UCLA’s John Wooden in terms of national championships won and fifth in career wins. She is 15-0 all-time against Notre Dame.

Historically, Notre Dame has struggled against Tennessee, going 0-15 against the Lady Vols (0-6 in Knoxville) since the series began back in 1983. In fact, UT remains the only opponent the Irish have never defeated over a minimum of 10 games played, and the Lady Vols are one of only four teams to have earned at least 10 victories over Notre Dame (the others are Connecticut, DePaul and Purdue).

The Irish began playing Tennessee on an annual basis early in the 1983-84 season and continued facing one another at alternating home sites for the next 10 years. Following a one-year break, the teams met twice in 1996-97, with the Lady Vols handing Notre Dame its first and last losses of the season — 72-59 in the semifinals of the preseason WNIT at Ruston, La., and 80-66 at the NCAA Final Four in Cincinnati.

The Irish and Lady Vols would not meet again until the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament in Knoxville, when UT roughed up Notre Dame, 89-50. The two sides met last season at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (home of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever) with Tennessee emerging with a 77-61 victory. That was the first game in a three-year contact between the schools, with Notre Dame visiting Knoxville this season and the Lady Vols coming to South Bend for the 2004-05 campaign.

Tennessee has won all 15 games in the series by an average margin of nearly 22 points, topping the 70-point mark in all but one contest. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has cracked the 70-point barrier four times against the Lady Vols, and has come within 10 points of UT three times. The closest margin in the series came on Jan. 12, 1992 at the Joyce Center, when the Lady Vols edged the Irish, 85-82.

Sunday’s game will be the fifth time both Notre Dame and Tennessee have been ranked at the time of their matchup. UT has won the four previous games by an average margin of 15 points.

No. 12 Notre Dame dropped just its second game of the 2002-03 season with a 77-61 loss to fifth-ranked Tennessee on Dec. 28, 2002, at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Irish defense held the Lady Vols in check for much of the contest, limiting UT to just 35.3 percent shooting and forcing 18 turnovers. However, Notre Dame struggled on the offensive end of the floor for the second consecutive game, connecting on only 30.6 percent of its shots.

Freshman forward Courtney LaVere paced a solid Irish post attack, coming off the bench to notch her first career double-double with game highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore center Teresa Borton added 14 points, six rebounds and a career-high four blocks, and junior guard Le’Tania Severe chipped in with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists for Notre Dame.

The Irish actually led Tennessee, 13-11, eight minutes into the contest. Then, the Lady Vols went on a 19-3 run to take the lead for good. Notre Dame clawed back to within 14 points three times in the second half, but could get no closer. Gwen Jackson had 16 points and Shyra Ely added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the victors.


  • Irish junior forward Jacqueline Batteast and Tennessee junior forward Shyra Ely have known one another since they were 14 years old and were AAU teammates on “The Family”, an Indianapolis-based squad which won the national title in the summer of 1999 and finished as the national runner-up in 2000. In addition, both Batteast and Ely were finalists for Indiana Miss Basketball honors in 2001, an award ultimately won by Ely.
  • Two of the top players ever to come out of northern Indiana will be on display Sunday when Notre Dame junior forward Jacqueline Batteast and Tennessee sophomore guard Shanna Zolman take the floor. Batteast, a South Bend native, was a three-time first-team all-state selection and earned first-team Parade All-America honors while playing at Washington High School. Zolman set the Indiana career scoring record with 3,085 points and also was a Parade All-America selection during her career at Wawasee High School in Syracuse, Ind.
  • First-year Tennessee women’s strength and conditioning coach Heather Mason spent five years at Notre Dame as an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator from 1998-2003. One of Mason’s graduate assistants at UT is Malinda Goralski, who was a standout volleyball player for the Irish from 1998-2001, setting the school record for career hitting percentage (.361) and earning BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year honors in 2001.
  • Only one Tennessee native has played for Notre Dame during the 27-year history of the program. Tricia McManus, a product of Oak Ridge, Tenn., was a three-year monogram winner for the Irish from 1979-81, helping Notre Dame to a berth in the round of 16 at the 1980 AIAW Division III national tournament.

The Irish are 6-25 (.194) all-time against the Southeastern Conference, although they have won three of their last five meetings vs. SEC schools. Most recently, Notre Dame defeated Auburn earlier this season in the WBCA Classic, but fell twice to Tennessee (in the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament and last season in Indianapolis). In fact, Tennessee has been responsible for 15 of those 25 SEC losses by the Irish over the years.

Besides the Lady Vols, Notre Dame has faced six other Southeastern Conference teams — Alabama (1-3), Auburn (1-0), Georgia (1-2), LSU (1-2), South Carolina (0-2) and Vanderbilt (2-1). This will mark the first time the Irish have played two SEC schools in the same season since the 2000-01 campaign, when Notre Dame dispatched Georgia (75-73) in the title game at the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge in Madison, Wis., and then downed Vanderbilt (72-64) in the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game in Denver. That remains the only time the Irish have defeated two SEC teams in the same season.

Including Tennessee, the Irish have faced 10 other NCAA champions over the years, compiling a career record of 16-54 (.229) against these title-winning teams. Notre Dame has a .500 or better series mark against three former national champions — North Carolina (2-0), Texas (1-1) and USC (4-1), whom the Irish will face on Dec. 22 in South Bend.

The Irish have played on Nov. 30 eight times in their history, posting a 5-3 (.625) record, including a 3-2 mark on the road. The last time Notre Dame took the floor on this date, it wound up being one of the most memorable games in school history as the Irish pulled out a 93-91 double-overtime victory at UCLA in 1997. Sheila McMillen scored a career-high 29 points, canning nine of 13 shots (including six of seven three-pointers), Kelley Siemon added a career-best 20 points and Mollie Peirick chipped in with 10 points and 11 assists as Notre Dame won its first-ever game at fabled Pauley Pavilion.

Notre Dame has gotten off to a strong start in the month of November over the last nine seasons. Since the start of the 1995-96 campaign, the Irish are 29-7 (.806) in November games, including wins in 11 of their last 15 games in the month. Notre Dame is 2-2 in the month of November this year, defeating No. 22 Auburn and Valparaiso, and falling at 20th-ranked Colorado (in overtime) and at Michigan State.

Notre Dame has wasted little time in squaring off with top competition this season as the Irish took on No. 22 Auburn and No. 20 Colorado at the WBCA Classic and are set to tip off with third-ranked Tennessee on Sunday. The WBCA Classic 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 160-38 (.808) all-time when they takes the floor as a Top 25 team. Notre Dame stands 17th in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches’ polls entering Sunday’s game at Tennessee. 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 earn its first victory in 16 series meetings with Tennessee, and pick up its first win in seven visits to Knoxville.
  • The Irish will defeat a top-five team for the first time since Jan. 15, 2001, when they knocked off top-ranked Connecticut, 92-76 at the Joyce Center. It also will be the third win over a top-five opponent in school history (ND defeated No. 1 UConn twice in the 2000-01 season).
  • Notre Dame will collect its first-ever road win over a top-five team.
  • Notre Dame will card its first-ever road win over an SEC school.
  • The Irish will defeat two Southeastern Conference schools in the same season for only the second time in school history (ND defeated Georgia and Vanderbilt in 2000-01).
  • Notre Dame’s all-time record against SEC schools will improve to 7-25 (.219), with four of those wins coming in the last six games.
  • The Irish will rise to 30-7 (.811) in the month of November over the last nine seasons.
  • Head coach Muffet McGraw will see her record at Notre Dame rise to 366-140 (.723) in 17 seasons under the Golden Dome. She also will watch her career ledger improve to 454-181 (.715) in 22 years at the college level.
  • The Irish will raise their all-time record to 530-239 (.689) in 27 seasons of varsity competition.

The 17th-ranked Irish simply ran into a hot-shooting club, as Michigan State scorched the nets at a 56.7 percent clip en route to a 92-63 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday night in East Lansing, Mich. for their part, the Irish didn’t shoot poorly from the field, hitting 48 percent of their shots, but it was not enough to overcome a determined Spartan club.

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast and sophomore forward Courtney LaVere shared team-high scoring honors for Notre Dame with 12 points each. Batteast also added a team-best five rebounds and LaVere posted a season-high .667 field goal percentage (6-9) for the Irish. Michigan State was led by the two-headed monster of Lindsay Bowen (26 points, 9-12 FG, 5-7 3FG) and Kristin Haynie (23 points, 7-9 FG, 8-9 FT), who combined to keep Notre Dame off balance all night long.

After an early 5-5 tie, MSU took the lead for good with an 8-0 run four minutes into the contest. From there, the Irish were forced to play catch up, although they stayed within striking distance for much of the period. A jumper by LaVere at the 7:29 mark capped a 7-2 Irish surge and got the visitors within four points at 31-27. Then, Notre Dame went cold from the field, managing just two free throws for the rest of the half as the Spartans went on a 14-2 run to seize control of the game.

The Irish tried to rally twice in the second half, getting within 11 points at one stage and trailing 59-47 after a fast-break layup by senior guard Le’Tania Severe at the 12:05 junction. That’s when Michigan State countered with a 13-2 charge and Notre Dame got no closer than 21 points the rest of the way.

Despite not having seen any meaningful action since March 17, 2002 at Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, senior guard Jeneka Joyce has looked very comfortable in her first two games this season. The Topeka, Kan., native missed Notre Dame’s two games at the WBCA Classic, but returned to action Nov. 21 vs. Valparaiso and promptly canned all three of her three-point attempts (including the last from nearly 25 feet out), finishing with nine points. Five nights later at Michigan State, Joyce nailed her first three three-point shots before missing her last two and again wound up with nine points. She is six of eight from beyond the arc this season, good for a team-best .750 percentage. For her career, Joyce now ranks fifth in school history with a .391 three-point percentage (54 of 138). She also stands ninth with 54 career treys and 138 career three-point attempts.

Notre Dame put the clamps on Valparaiso from the three-point line on Nov. 21, as the Crusaders went 0 for 11 from beyond the arc. It represented the first three-point shutout for the Irish since Nov. 27, 1999 (a span of 130 games), when Illinois went 0 for 5 from the three-point line, but still managed to pull out a 77-67 win over Notre Dame in Champaign, Ill.

The Irish dished out 24 assists on 29 baskets against Valparaiso on Nov. 21, which works out an .828 assist percentage. That’s the highest assist ratio for Notre Dame since Dec. 21, 2002, when the Irish had 26 assists on 30 field goals (.867) in an 82-54 win over IPFW at the Joyce Center.

Notre Dame’s backcourt played a key role in their efficient performance against Valparaiso. Sophomore guard Megan Duffy tied her career high with seven assists, while senior guard Le’Tania Severe chalked up six assists. The tandem also combined for just three turnovers, giving them a superb 4.33 assist/turnover ratio for the contest.

Notre Dame is quickly learning how it rates against the rest of the nation’s elite programs. The Irish are playing four of their first five games away from home, with all four road contests coming against teams that are currently ranked or receiving votes in both major national polls. Notre Dame already has defeated No. 22 Auburn (77-64), lost a narrow overtime decision at No. 20 Colorado (67-63) after leading much of the way in that game, and fell at Michigan State (92-63) after the Spartans came into the game receiving votes in both polls.

In actuality, all seven of Notre Dame’s non-conference road games are against teams that are presently ranked or receiving votes. The remaining out-of-conference road docket includes trips to Washington (Dec. 7 – receiving votes), Colorado State (Dec. 29 – receiving votes) and Purdue (Jan. 4 – 8th in AP/11th in ESPN-USA Today).

Junior forward Jacqueline Batteast needs only 130 points to become the 20th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Batteast already is one of only five Irish players to have scored 800 points in her first two seasons at Notre Dame and at her current 16.8 ppg. pace, she should reach the millennium milestone sometime in early January. For her career, the South Bend native ranks sixth in school history with a 14.0 ppg. scoring average (870 points in 62 games).

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.

Notre Dame is ranked 17th in the latest Associated Press poll, marking the 97th 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 17th 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. 8/11 Purdue, No. 15/15 Rutgers and No. 20/16 Colorado). In addition, Auburn is ranked 25th in the latest AP poll, while Virginia Tech is 24th in the most recent ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. Seven other Notre Dame opponents presently are receiving votes in one or both of the major polls this week — Boston College, Colorado State, Georgetown, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Villanova 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 and 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 64-5 (.928) since the start of the 2000-01 campaign when they go into the dressing room with the lead, including a 2-1 mark this year. One of those rare losses occurred vs. Colorado in the WBCA Classic on Nov. 15. 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 115-4 (.966) record when they hold their opponents to less than 60 points in a game. Notre Dame added another notch on that tally last Friday night vs. Valparaiso by holding the Crusaders to 57 points.

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.

Notre Dame has won 183 games over the last eight seasons, which stands as the seventh-most wins of any school in the country during that time.

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 86 of their last 93 games (.925) 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 249-70 (.781) 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 99-9 (.917) 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, five opponents (Connecticut, 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 eight times in the coming campaign, including four 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 (Channel 46) will show the games on a delayed basis.

It also was recently announced that the BIG EAST matchup between Notre Dame and two-time defending national champion Connecticut will be televised jointly by WHME-TV and Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), with College Sports Television (CSTV) also picking up the broadcast and airing it nationally. That game will take place Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. (ET) from the Joyce Center.

Notre Dame will make a fourth national TV appearance on Feb. 25, when the BIG EAST game between the Irish and Miami at the Joyce Center is broadcast live by CSTV. That contest will tip off at 8 p.m. (ET) — some early schedules initially had this game listed one hour earlier.

In addition, the semifinals of this year’s BIG EAST Championship presented by State Farm 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.

THE Muffet McGraw SHOW
Muffet McGraw’s half-hour, weekly television show is produced by LeSea Broadcasting and hosted by Bob Nagle. The show, now in its seventh season, is carried by WHME-TV (Channel 46) in South Bend and will air at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturdays through the completion of the 2003-04 season. The show also is available via satellite (Galaxy 6, Transponder 15) each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (ET), and may be seen on LeSea Broadcasting stations in Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Tulsa (check local listings).

Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw announced Nov. 18 that three of the nation’s top high school student-athletes have chosen to continue their careers with the Irish, signing national letters of intent to attend Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2004. Charel Allen , a 5-10 guard from Monessen, Pa., Melissa D’Amico, a 6-5 forward/center from Manorville, N.Y., and Tulyah Gaines (pronounced too-LIE-uh) , a 5-8 guard from North Las Vegas, Nev., all committed to the Irish during the early signing period, which lasted from Nov. 12-19.

Allen will arrive at Notre Dame next fall as one of the top college prospects from western Pennsylvania. She is a three-time Street & Smith’s honorable mention All-American who averaged 29.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 7.2 steals and 4.8 assists per game last season at Monessen High School. She also is a two-time Associated Press first-team all-state pick and was named the 2003 AP Class A Player of the Year. In addition, she is a two-time all-Pittsburgh metro area selection and a ’03 AAU 16-and-under All-American. As a freshman in 2001, she was a fifth-team AP all-state choice when she averaged 23.6 points per game. In her first three seasons at MHS, Allen has piled up 2,302 points (26.2 ppg.), 995 rebounds (11.3 rpg.), 600 steals (6.8 spg.), 426 assists (4.8 apg.) and 102 blocks (1.2 bpg.). She was ranked 27th in the nation by Blue Star Index and she will be the fourth Pennsylvania native to play for the Irish (the first in 13 seasons).

At 6-5, D’Amico will be the tallest player on the Irish roster when she sets foot on the Notre Dame campus in the fall of 2004. A versatile post player, she averaged 16.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game last season for William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, N.Y. (located on Long Island). She burst onto the national scene this past summer at the adidas Top Ten Camp in Suwanee, Ga., and is considered by most recruiting services to be one of the top players on the rise in this year’s class. She currently is ranked 47th in the country by All-Star Girls Report and 91st by Blue Star Index , and she follows in the footsteps of another talented New Yorker who came to Notre Dame — two-time honorable mention All-American and Mount Vernon, N.Y., product, Katryna Gaither (1993-97).

Gaines is a playmaking guard who will give the Irish solid depth in the backcourt. Last summer, she moved to North Las Vegas and is attending Cheyenne High School, where she will play for the Desert Shields this year. Gaines previously lived in Burbank, Calif., where she was a three-year starter at John Burroughs High School. She averaged 18.9 points and 5.1 assists per game last season and was a first-team all-CIF SS (Southern California) Division 2A First Team selection. In addition, she is a two-time Street & Smith’s honorable mention All-American and won a bronze medal with the West Team at the 2003 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs. Gaines averaged 6.0 points per game during the five-game tournament, which featured the top prep players from around the country. She is ranked 25th nationally by All-Game Sports, 52nd by Blue Star Index and 61st by All-Star Girls Report , and she is the second Las Vegas area resident in as many years to sign with Notre Dame — current Irish freshman guard Breona Gray graduated from Bishop Gorman High School last May.

With the addition of Allen, D’Amico and Gaines, Notre Dame has assembled the nation’s 13th-ranked recruiting class according to Blue Star Index. This marks the eighth consecutive year in which the Irish have attracted a Top 20 class, making Notre Dame one of only three schools (along with Connecticut and Tennessee) to have such a consistent run of recruiting success.

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):

  • 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
  • Dec. 22 vs. USC — Holiday celebration; “Rubber Boy” will perform at halftime
  • Jan. 1 vs. Marquette — New Year’s Day celebration; combo magnets to the first 1,000 fans
  • Jan. 10 vs. Virginia Tech — Mini-foam basketballs to first 1,000 fans

After playing four of its first five games on the road, Notre Dame will return home for three of its next four contests, beginning at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday, Dec. 4 against Wisconsin. The Irish and Badgers will be facing one another for the sixth time, with Notre Dame holding a slim 3-2 edge in the series. This also will be just the second time UW has come to the Joyce Center.

Wisconsin (1-1) will be busy leading up to its matchup with Notre Dame, playing three times in four days this weekend. UW participated in the Sonesta-Coconut Grove Thanksgiving Classic in Miami, Fla., defeating Hampton (49-38) in the first game on Friday before meeting Butler in the championship game Saturday evening. Wisconsin then will return home and play host to Western Illinois Monday night in Madison before coming to South Bend.