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March 15, 1998

Game Statistics
Postgame Real Audio: Marsha Sharp
Postgame Real Audio: Texas Tech Players

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Notre Dame had the answer to beating No. 6 Texas Tech all along. Trouble was, she was stuck on the Fighting Irish bench.

After playing less than a minute of the first half, Ruth Riley scored all 23 of her points in the second to lead Notre Dame to a 74-59 upset of the top-seeded Lady Raiders in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

"It was really frustrating to sit on the bench," said Riley, who picked up two fouls in the opening 47 seconds. "I felt bad just to sit there. I felt like I had to come out the second half and do something for the team."

Tech (26-5) had no answer for Riley's 6-foot-5 frame. She shot 9-for-12, constantly converting lob passes and tip-ins into easy baskets to send the Fighting Irish (22-9) to the regional round.

The game stayed tight until midway through the second half when Notre Dame ran off 12 straight points to take a 55-44 lead. The host Lady Raiders never threatened again.

Tech coach Marsha Sharp said she didn't know why the Lady Raiders couldn't force Riley to shoot farther from the basket.

"You have to give credit to Notre Dame," Sharp said. "They came out with a Final Four mentality and we ran away from it."

Ninth-seeded Notre Dame, which reached the Final Four last season, will return to Lubbock next weekend for the regional round. Tech had the chance to play four straight home tournament games had it kept winning.

Sheila McMillen added 13 for the Irish. Alicia Thompson, a first-team All-America forward playing her final game for the Lady Raiders, led Tech with 17.

The Lady Raiders shot just 21-for-63 from the field, including 3-for-17 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Thompson and Angie Braziel found themselves swarmed on the inside by the Fighting Irish's collapsing defense.

"They really concentrated on the post area because we did well there (Friday)," said Thompson, who scored 39 in Tech's 87-75 first-round victory over Grambling State. "They knew where to stop us and they did."

Tech became the tournament's second top seed in as many nights to fall at home. Injury-riddled Stanford lost 71-67 to 16th-seeded Harvard on Saturday.

"They amazed me," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I'm proud to see our team come out with such poise, to come out and beat a team like Texas Tech."

Notre Dame had been 0-5 against ranked foes this season, while the Lady Raiders had won 12 in a row and all nine of their previous NCAA tournament home games.

Sharp regretted that her players will be spectators for next week's games here.

"A lot of people have worked hard to bring this regional to Lubbock, including myself," said Sharp, who admitted the pressure of being a top seed at home might have rattled her team.

Postgame Quotes

TEXAS TECH HEAD COACH MARSHA SHARP
"First, I want to apoligize to our fans and our administrators. We let down our end of the bargain. A lot of people have worked hard to bring this regional to Lubbock including myself, and it's something that our fans really wanted. I'm extremely disappointed. You have to give credit to Notre Dame. They came out with a Final Four mentality and we ran away from it. Obviously, I'm extremely disappointed and hurt, especially the way our seniors went out."

TEXAS TECH'S ALICIA THOMPSON
"They really concentrated on the post area because we did well there last night. They knew where to stop us and they did. It is disappointing not to win. We owed it to our fans. We just didn't get it done. It has been a great experience and I wouldn't change a thing. I've had the opportunity to play with great players, I"ve been under a great coaching staff and I've made a lot of friends. If I had to do it all over again, I would come back to Texas Tech. No question."

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH MUFFET McGRAW
"They amazed me. I'm proud to see our team come out with such poise, to come out and beat a team like Texas Tech. I'm pleased with our defense. I thought if we could hold Thompson to 25 points, we had a chance. As long as we had the lead, we were not going to put (Ruth Riley) her back into the game. Without Ruth, we become a perimeter shooting team. Defensively, we keyed on Hanebutt and Thompson. We considered a box-and-one on No. 43 but knew that their inside game was too good for that. I felt like our keys to the game were rebounding and shooting the ball in the second half. We had a lot of layups and going to Ruth was a big part of it."

NOTRE DAME'S RUTH RILEY
"I knew they would come at me. It was really frustrating to sit on the bench. I felt bad to just sit there. I felt like I had to come out the second half and do something for the team."

NOTRE DAME'S KELLEY SIEMON
"From the beginning of practice we said to not let Thompson score 39 on us. From the beginning, we pressure their inside. We forced some steals and we capitalized on those. We did a great job of anticipating on offense."

NOTRE DAME'S MOLLIE PEIRICK
"Obviously, it's a tough place to play. I'm happy with the way we handled the pressure. I was happy we were able to stay poised and pull it out. We got Ruth back in the second half. I was thinking, 'give it to her.' We need her to score for us to win. We attacked their zone, used dribble penetration and went high low to Ruth (Riley). We needed her to score points for us to win the game."


 

 

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