Riley, Ratay earn Big East honors
Special to The Observer
Notre Dame junior center Ruth Riley and freshman guard Alicia Ratay were honored as the Big East co-player of the week and rookie of the week, respectively, after leading the seventh-ranked Irish women's basketball team to a 3-0 record last week.
Notre Dame defeated Butler 77-57,and claimed wins over then ninth-ranked North Carolina and Liberty at the Wachovia Women's Invitational in Richmond, Va., to earn the tournament title.
Riley, who shared the honor with Swin Cash of Connecticut and was a three-time player-of-the-week honoree last season, averaged 19.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 blocked shots last week for the Irish in their three victories.
The 6-foot-5 Irish center also earned MVP and all-tournament team honors at the Wachovia Invitational Tournament as she averaged 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots in the two games.
Riley had 14 points, four rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots on seven-for-nine shooting against Butler.
Against the Tar Heels in the opening round of the tournament, she was five-of-eight from the field and hit both of her free throw attempts in scoring 12 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots.
Riley scored a season-high 32 points (the third 30-point performance of her career) in the championship game versus Liberty as she hit 12-of-14 shots from the field and was a perfect eight-for-eight from the free throw line. In addition, she grabbed seven boards and blocked two shots.
In the three games, Riley, who led the nation in field goal percentage as a sophomore, hit 77.4 percent of her shots from the field. Riley is second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding.
Ratay, who leads the team in scoring with 18.4 points per game and is third in rebounding, has been Notre Dame's leading scorer in three games and has netted double figures in all but one game.
Ratay was the team's leading scorer against the Bulldogs with 16 points. She also tied her season-high with seven rebounds and dished off a personal best seven assists in the contest.
In Notre Dame's impressive win over the Tar Heels in the first-ever meeting between the two schools, Ratay became just the second Irish freshman to top the 30-point mark in a contest as she netted a career-high 32 points. Ratay hit 12-of-15 field goal attempts in the game and was six-of-eight from three-point range. She also grabbed six rebounds.
In the championship game, Ratay had 17 points and played a season-high 36 minutes.
Ratay also was named to the Wachovia Women's Invitational All-Tournament team.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, December 7, 1999