Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Women's Hoops Reaches All-Time High of Sixth in AP Poll

December 1, 1998

NOTRE DAME, IND. — The Notre Dame women’s basketball team, off to a 5-0 start, moved to an all-time high of sixth in this week’s Associated Press Poll. The Irish are ninth in the USA Today/ESPN ranking.

The start equals the best in school history when Notre Dame began its inaugural campaign (1977-78) with a 5-0 record. This also is the best start ever for an Irish team under head coach Muffet McGraw.

Notre Dame plays once this week as Notre Dame faces Toledo of the Mid American Conference on Wednesday, December 2 at 7:00 p.m. The contest is the first of a three-game homestand for the Irish.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW – ILLINOIS: Three Irish players scored points in Notre Dame’s first three contests, ended the game with 15 points and eight rebounds. Diana Braendly (Staten Island, N.Y.) also had eight boards in the contest. The Irish shot 47.1 percent from the field and, but also had eight rebounds. Diana Braendly also finished with eight boards. SAN FRANCISCO: Notre Dame outscored the Lady Dons 48-23 in the second half and five Irish players scored in double figures as the Irish registered a 74-23 win. Freshman Sherisha Hills (Tampa, Fla.) had a game-high 16 points as she hit six-of-11 shots from the field, including two from three-point range. She grabbed three rebounds and made four steals in 29 minutes of action. Danielle Green and Niele Ivey finished with 13 points each, while Sheila McMillen and Kelley Siemon (Edina, Minn.) finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Notre Dame’s defense held the home team to just 27.1 shooting for the game and forced 28 turnovers.

20-plus points as Notre Dame beat its third ranked opponent of the season and hit the century mark for the first time. It was Notre Dame’s first win over the Illini in four meetings. Junior Niele Ivey (St. Louis, Mo.) had her second 20-point outing as she finished with a team-high 22 points, hitting eight-of-16 shots from the field. Ruth Riley (Macy, Ind.) proved dominant in recording her second consecutive double-double as she finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots in just 23 minutes of action. Sheila McMillen (Rochester, Ind.) scored a season-high 20 points in becoming the 14th player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Danielle Green (Chicago, Ill.), who had scored 20-plus

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-plus seasons at Notre Dame, she has a record of 240-105 (.696) and in 16-plus campaigns overall, her teams have registered a 328-145 (.693) ledger.

SERIES RECORD VERSUS UPCOMING OPPONENT – TOLEDO: This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools with the Rockets holding a 2-1 edge in the series. The two teams first met on December 19, 1988 at the Joyce Center with Notre Dame earning a 77-70 victory. Toledo been victorious the last two times the two schools have met. The last meeting occurred on January 6, 1990 as the Rockets earned a 70-69 decision.

IRISH 5-0 START EQUALS BEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY – Notre Dame’s 5-0 equals the best in school history. The only other Irish team to start a season 5-0 was the 1977-78 squad (the first women’s varsity basketball team at Notre Dame) which finished the season with a 13-4 mark. This is the best start ever for the Irish under 12th-year head coach Muffet McGraw. McGraw’s 1993-94 squad started the season 4-0 and finished with a 22-7 record that year.

HILLS EARNS BIG EAST CO-ROOKIE OF THE WEEK HONORS – Freshman guard Sherisha Hills became the third Notre Dame women’s basketball player in as many weeks to garner BIG EAST honors as she was named the league’s co-Rookie of the Week. Hills shared the honor with Tamika Williams of Connecticut. She earns the honor after averaging 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in Notre Dame’s wins last week over 25th-ranked Illinois and San Francisco. In the win over the Illini, she came off the bench to score nine points, while grabbing four rebounds and dishing off three assists. She scored a personal best and netted a game-high 16 points in 29 minutes of action, grabbed three rebounds and made four steals against San Francisco. In the two games, she shot hit 10-of-20 shots from the field.

POINT PILE UP AT HOME – Notre Dame has put up big numbers in its first three home games as the Irish are averaging 94.7 (284 points). They scored 99 points in the season opener against UCLA and went over the century mark for the first time this season in scoring 101 point against the Illini. Notre Dame scored a season-low 71 points in a win at Butler.

McMILLEN GETS 1,000TH POINT – Senior guard Sheila McMillen became the 14th player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point mark in her career in scoring a season-high 20 points in the Irish win over Illinois. McMillen has played in 105 games during her career and has scored 1,028 points for a 9.8 points per game average.

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 187-64 mark for a .745 winning percentage since that first season. Last season, Notre Dame won a 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 14 straight home games. The record for consecutive home victories at the Joyce Center is 15 set from January 2, 1995 thru January 10, 1996.

IRISH UNBEATEN AGAINST RANKED FOES – Notre Dame is 3-0 against ranked opponents as the Irish have beaten UCLA, Duke and Illinois. At the time of the game the Bruins and Blue Devils were sixth in the Associated Press Poll, while the Illini were ranked 25th. This is the most wins ever by a Notre Dame team versus ranked opponents during the regular season. Last season, before their second round win in the NCAA tournament over then sixth-ranked Texas Tech, the Irish were 0-5 versus ranked teams.

LOFTY RANKINGS – In just three weeks, Notre Dame has climbed 11 spots in the Associated Press and 10 spots in the USA Today/ESPN rankings. For just the second time in its 22-year history, Notre Dame started the season ranked, and for just the second time in school history, the Irish are ranked in the top 10. 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. Two years ago, Coach Muffet McGraw’s squad was 20th in the AP and 25th in the USA Today/ESPN preseason rankings to start the 1996-97 season. Wins against two top 10 opponents UCLA (#6) and Duke (#6) and 25th-ranked Illinois have propelled the Irish to sixth in this weeks’s AP ranking, its all-time high. Last week, Notre Dame was seventh in the poll, tying an all-time high it had reached during ’96-’97 season. During that season, Notre Dame finished fifth in the final USA Today/ESPN ranking.

OUT OF THE GATES – Notre Dame’s early-season schedule certainly is the toughest in school history. The Irish have already played three ranked opponents – UCLA, Duke and Illinios – with the number-one ranked Connecticut Huskies. After its game against Connecticut, Notre Dame will have played four ranked opponents in its first seven outings. While the schedule has been formidable, McGraw and her team will have enjoyed the luxury of playing all four of those games games in the friendly confines of the Joyce Center.

WITH THE STUFF – Notre Dame has 36 blocks on the season in its first five games (7.20 per game), while its opponents have just nine. Ruth Riley leads the Irish with 22 blocks (4.60) after a career-high eight blocks against Duke on November 21. The eight blocks tied the school mark set by Shari Matvey against Wisconsin-LaCrosse on March 15, 1980.

DOMINATION ON THE BOARDS – Notre Dame outrebounded Duke 67-34 and were just seven rebounds away from tying the school record of 74 set against IUPUI-Fort Wayne on January 24, 1978. Ruth Riley and Danielle Green combined for 33 of those 67 rebounds as Riley finished with a career-high 18 boards, while Green also established a personal best with 15. Riley leads the team with 9.2 rpg., while Green is second in the rebounding column with an 8.0 average. Notre Dame is averaging 47.8 rebounds per game and is outrebounding its opponents by a 9.8 margin.

POINTS A PLENTY – Notre Dame is averaging 85.8 points through its first five games and is outscoring its opponents by a 19.0 margin as it has yielded opponents just 66.8 ppg. Last season, Notre Dame averaged 74.2 points per game. Notre Dame has outscored the three ranked opponents it has played – UCLA, Duke and Illinois – by an average of 17.7 ppg. In its season opener against the 99 points the Irish tallied agains the Bruins represented the second most in a season opener and the most points by a Notre Dame team in a season opener at the Joyce Center.

OVER THE CENTURY MARK – Notre Dame scored 100-plus points for the first time this season in is 101-92 victory over Illinois. It also was the sixth time during Irish head coach Muffet McGraw’s tenure that her team went over the century mark.

McMILLEN NAMED TO ALL-AMERICAN FARM BASKETBALL TEAM – Notre Dame guard Sheila McMillen has been named to the Successful Farming All-American basketball team. Five players were chosen to the women team. Notre Dame will receive a $500 scholarship check on Sheila’s behalf. McMillen, who grew up on a farm in Rochester, Ind., is the second Irish athlete to be honored by the magazine. Irish punter Hunter Smith was selected to the football team in 1997.

ASSOCIATED PRESS(Week of Nov. 30) LW1. Connecticut (4-0) 12. Louisiana Tech (3-0) 23. Tennessee (3-1) 34. Purdue (3-1) 45. Georgia (3-0) 66. NOTRE DAME (5-0) 77. Alabama (5-0) 88. Old Dominion (5-0) 99. North Carolina (7-1) 510. UCLA (4-2) 1211. Rutgers (6-1) 1112. Colorado State (8-0) 1613. Arkansas (6-1) 1414. Texas Tech (3-1) 1515. Virginia (3-1) 1716. Duke (4-3) 2017. North Carolina State (3-2) 1018. Iowa State (3-0) 2119. Kansas (42) 1920. Vanderbilt (3-1) 1821. Florida (6-2) 1322. George Washington (3-1) 2223. Nebraska (5-1) 2424 Stanford (2-4) NR25. Clemson (4-0) NR
USA TODAY/ESPN(WEEK OF NOV. 30) LW1. Connecticut (4-0) 12. Louisiana Tech (3-0) 23. Tennessee (3-1) 34. Purdue (3-1) 45. Georgia (3-0) 66. Alabama (5-0) 77. Old Dominion (5-0) 98. North Carolina (7-1) 59. NOTRE DAME (5-0) 1010. UCLA (4-2) 1111. Rutgers (6-1) 1212. Texas Tech (3-1) 1313. Arkansas (6-1) 1414 North Carolina State (3-2) 815. Colorado State (8-0) 1816. Duke (4-3) 1517. Kansas (4-2) 1618. Virginia (3-1) 1919. Iowa State (3-0) 2220. Florida (6-2) 1721. Wisconsin (4-1) 2022. Vanderbilt (3-1) 2123. Nebraska (5-1) 2424. Clemson (4-0) NR25. Stanford (2-4) 25