March 13, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame’s Joyce Center will be the site for the first two rounds of the Mideast subregional this weekend. The first-round games will be played Friday, March 17 starting at 6 p.m., with the winners advancing to play Sunday’s (March 19) second round game at 6:35 p.m. The winner advances to the Mideast Regional Semifinals.
The seventh-seeded George Washington Colonials (25-5) tip-off with the 10th-seeded UCLA Bruins (18-10) in the first game Friday. The nightcap, starting 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, will feature the second-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25-4) versus the 15th-seeded San Diego Toreros (17-12).
George Washington is competing in their eighth NCAA Tournament and sixth in the past seven seasons. The Colonials are 7-0 in first round NCAA tournament games. GW is the Atlantic-10 conference regular-season champion and ranked 23rd in the nation entering postseason play. They are led by first team all-conference pick and pre-season All-American Elisa Aguilar. A senior guard, Aguilar averages a team-high 14.3 points a game and is one of the top three-point shooters in the conference averaging 36 percent from behind the arc. Third-team all-conference pick Petra Dubovcova has been a sharp-shooter for the Colonials lately, converting 57 percent of her field goal attempts in the last five games and averaging 19.4 points over that same span. She was named to the A-10 all-tournament team.
GW’s veteran coach Joe McKeown was named the A-10 Coach of the Year this season. He reached the 300-win plateau earlier in the year and is among the top-20 winningest active coaches in the nation.
UCLA finished fourth in the Pac-10 this year under head coach Kathy Olivier. This is Olivier’s seventh season with the Bruins as she earned her 100th career win earlier in the season. Each of UCLA’s non-conference losses came at the hands of a top-10 ranked team (#1 UConn, #2 Tennessee, #3 Louisiana Tech and #8 Rutgers).
The Bruins feature Naismith Player of the Year candidate Maylana Martin who became just the fifth male or female basketball player in UCLA history to score 2,000 points in her career. Martin, a senior forward, was the Pac-10’s leading scorer (17.8) and second-leading rebounder (8.6) and has scored 20 or more points in 46 career games over her career.
This will be the seventh NCAA tournament appearance for UCLA, and the first time they have made three-straight trips to the dance. The Bruin’s all-time tournament record is 7-6, including a run to the regional final last year before falling to Louisiana Tech.
The San Diego Toreros come into postseason play as the champion of the West Coast Conference tournament. The Toreros entered the WCC tourney as the fourth seed and beat first-seeded Pepperdine for the automatic NCAA berth. This is San Diego’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament since the 1992-93 season.
Senior Jessica Gray is the Torero to keep an eye on this weekend. She was named the WCC tournament MVP while scoring her 11th double-double of the season (15 points, 12 rebounds) in the championship game. Gray is a three-time all-WCC pick and averages 14.3 points and 9.7 rebounds a contest this season.
San Diego head coach Kathy Marpe earned her 100th career victory in with the win over Pepperdine in the tournament. The 17 wins matches a school best as USD also recorded 17 wins in the 1989-90 season.
Notre Dame earned the second seed in the Mideast Region with a 25-4 record and finished the season ranked fifth in the country. The Irish strung together 20 consecutive wins this season and still own a 21-game home winning streak at the Joyce Center. Head coach Muffett McGraw is in her 13th season with the Irish. This will be Notre Dame’s fifth straight NCAA appearance and seventh over-all.
All-American Ruth Riley is the go-to player for Notre Dame. Riley, a junior center, averages 16.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. She was also named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. The Irish also feature BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Alicia Ratay. Ratay averages 14.8 points per game and is one of the best three point shooters in the country, converting 48.6 percent of her three-point attempts.
Post-game quotes, game play-by-play descriptions and box scores will be available after all the games this weekend at www.und.com.