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Women's basketball briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001


Teary Irish get settled, top Hoyas

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The emotions of senior day got to coach Muffet McGraw and she passed it on to her team.

"I couldn't control my emotions before the game and I think it overflowed into some of the players," McGraw said. "It was an emotional day just to look at them walking out and knowing there's not many opportunities for them to play at home and all that they've given me personally."

The No. 2 Irish overcame their worst home performance of the season, making one of their first nine shots, to beat Georgetown 65-53 Saturday and extend their school-record home winning streak to 36 games.

The player who seemed most affected by emotions was guard Niele Ivey. She missed her first eight shots and picked up her fourth foul early in the second half. Ivey, a fifth-year senior, admitted that the pregame ceremony was too much for her.

"I was trying not to cry, but then I saw Coach McGraw and tears started running down my face, then my mom started crying. I'm a very emotional person," she said.

Ivey managed to settle down and give the Irish the emotional spark they needed.

Notre Dame led 33-28 when Ivey picked up her fourth foul with 16:20 left. With Ivey on the bench, Georgetown went on an 11-2 run to open a 39-35 lead. But Ivey came back in with 12:26 left and hit a three-pointer, then passed inside to Ruth Riley for a layup to begin a 10-2 run and give the Irish a 45-41 lead.

"The key was getting Niele back in the game and running," McGraw said.

Georgetown cut the lead to 51-48 when Katie Smrcka-Duffy made a pair of free throws with 6:28 left. But Alicia Ratay hit a three-pointer to ignite a 13-3 run for the Irish.

"We didn't come in and roll over," Smrcka-Duffy said. "Some things didn't go for us. We missed some shots and we let them score too many points."

The victory was the second-closest at home this season for the Irish, who have won by an average of 21.1 points. The closest was a 72-61 win over Purdue in December.

The Irish, who have trailed at halftime once all season, trailed for much of the first half but led 29-26 at the break.

A sellout crowd of 11,418, the second at Notre Dame, was on hand to salute the senior class, which posted the best four-year winning percentage (.826) in school history. The seniors' only home losses came against Connecticut when they were freshmen and sophomores. Saturday's win was the seniors' 100th.

NO. 9 RUTGERS 67, W. VA. 53: Davalyn Cunningham had 19 points and the visiting Scarlet Knights took advantage of two scoring droughts by the Mountaineers. Rutgers clinched the third seed in next month's Big East tournament at Storrs, Conn. The top four teams get first-round byes.

NO. 10 IOWA ST. 82, TEXAS A&M 61: Angie Welle had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Megan Taylor became the Cyclones' career rebounding leader. Taylor had seven rebounds to increase her career total 924, topping Tonya Burns' 921 from 1981-85. Taylor also had 15 points in her final regular-season home game for Iowa State.

NO. 15 TEXAS TECH 76, NO. 22 TEXAS 60: Plenette Pierson had 24 points and 12 rebounds as the visiting Red Raiders avenged a stunning home loss two weeks ago. Pierson, who scored four points when the Longhorns ended Tech's 41-game home winning streak 63-57, shot 9-for-19 from the floor Saturday.

NO. 23 ARIZONA ST. 70, ARIZONA 67 (OT): Cian Carvalho scored six of her 10 points in overtime as the Sun Devils completed a season series sweep of the Wildcats for the first time since 1993. It was the first home loss in 14 games for Arizona, which had won six straight Pac-10 games at McKale Center.

State

NO. 6 LA. TECH 70, FIU 63: Takeisha Lewis had 18 points and 11 rebounds as the visiting Techsters finished the Sun Belt Conference regular season unbeaten for the third straight time. Ayana Walker, Cheryl Ford and Essence Perry had 12 points each for Louisiana Tech, which won its 13th straight and extended its conference winning streak to 52.

CAMPBELL 72, JU 54: Sara Moore had 18 points and April Cromartie had 16 to lead the host Camels. Kat Sungy had 14 points and 13 rebounds for her 10th double double of the season.

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