Colonials blown out of NCAAs by Fighting Irish

(SOUTH BEND, IND.; SUN. 3/19/2000) — Moments before Sunday night’s NCAA second round game at the Joyce Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish got in a circle and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day weekend by dancing an Irish jig.

They then proceeded to dance a jig all over the Colonials’ overachieving season.

The GW women’s basketball team ran into a buzzsaw Sunday night in front of 5,521 fiercely loyal Notre Dame supporters and saw their year end in a blizzard of missed shots and opportunities as the second-seeded and host Irish blew out the seventh-seeded Colonials 95-60.

The No. 5 Irish (27-4), by handing GW its worse loss since 1995, made it all too clear why they’re on a school-record 23-game home winning streak. The Colonials could do little all night to stop the Irish, who were protecting their highest seed and ranking in school history.

And the Irish hardly needed their Associated Press First-Team All-American, 6-5 junior center Ruth Riley, who played only six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. When she returned in the second, she dominated – but by that time, the Colonials were all but done for the night.

In the opening minutes, the Colonials did a good job on Riley, and appeared competitive, taking an 8-5 lead four minutes in after a three by senior guard Elisa Aguilar. From that point on, GW’s offense completely disappeared, and Notre Dame made the run that secured the Irish another Sweet 16 appearance.

Over the next nine minutes, and with the crowd roaring its approval, Notre Dame went on a 19-2 run, while the Colonials missed 16 straight shots.

You know what it’s like when the ball doesn’t go in, said Coach Joe McKeown. You start pressing, and things just snowball from there. And that’s what happened.

As the deficit grew, GW’s chances of an upset swiftly diminished, but senior guard Marlo Egleston, who would eventually foul out of her final college game, lifted GW to one final run before the half.

Egleston made a steal and layup to end GW’s cold streak and cut the lead to 24-12 with six and a half minutes left. She then buried a three to pull GW within 26-15. Freshman forward Cathy Joens made a layup that pulled GW within nine with three and a half minutes left.

Then, in one sequence, Egleston nailed a three – and Notre Dame senior guard Niele Ivey hit a three to answer. Egleston hit a three again, and Ivey answered yet again, staring Egleston down. After that bit of excitement, the Irish finished the half on a 7-2 run, including four points in the last seven seconds. At the half, the demoralized Colonials went to the locker room facing an 18-point, 43-25 deficit.

Notre Dame senior guard Danielle Green killed the Colonials in the first, hitting 4-for-6 and 8-of-9 at the line for 16 points.

In the second, the punchless Colonials never got closer than 15 and trailed by as many as 37. Only a deliberately slow pace in the final minutes kept Notre Dame from hitting the century mark, much to the chagrin of the audience.

(Notre Dame) played extremely well and just took it to us, said Coach McKeown. There’s not much you can sit up here and say, x and o-wise, `cause they just took it to us.

Although Aguilar and Egleston shot 10-for-19 (6-for-10 from three-point range), the rest of the Colonials shot 7-for-41, led by junior forward Petra Dubovcova’s ugly 0-for-9 performance.

Everybody has bad days, and mine was scheduled on March 19, said Dubovcova, who did have eight rebounds.

When seniors Egleston (13 points) and Aguilar (15) left the game, Coach McKeown gave both hugs, although the sobbing Aguilar tried to run past him. Both players were emotional afterwards, but positive about the year.

We surprised a lot of people this year, said Egleston. It hurts a lot now, but down the road, we’ll have good memories.

Notre Dame dominated GW in almost everyone statistical category. They outshot the Colonials 51.9 to 28.3 percent, outrebounded them 54-28, and shot 33-of-45 on free throws – while GW only made 19-of-29. Notre Dame also hit 6-of-12 on three-pointers while GW shot 7-for-22.

GW had 17 steals, but committed 19 turnovers.

Fouls were also a factor, as GW was called for 30, and the Irish were called for 23. At the end, there were seven players with at least four fouls, three of them on GW.

GW finished the year at 26-6. The Colonials are now 2-5 all-time in the second round of the NCAAs.

The Irish, who wore their new green uniforms for the second straight game, have now won both contests between these two schools. The other came in 1997, when Notre Dame advanced to the Final Four by virtue of a 62-52 win over the Colonials.

GW had a fair-sized fan contingent, made up mostly of family members. The GW Pep Band, cheerleaders and Little George also made the weekend trip. A reception for GW fans was held prior to the game at Notre Dame’s Morris Inn.

President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg flew in for Sunday night’s game.

Other NCAA Stories:
Colonials withstand Bruins’ charge, advance to second round of NCAAs
Coachin’ Joe sez: Let’s all go to Chicago!
Better luck next year

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