NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Ruth Riley, a three-time All-America center at Notre Dame and the 2001 consensus national player of the year, was inducted into Notre Dame's Ring of Honor on Friday afternoon during a pre-game ceremony before the Fighting Irish opened their 2010-11 season against New Hampshire inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
A banner honoring Riley's number 00 was unveiled Friday and now permanently will hang in the rafters of Purcell Pavilion, making her the first women's basketball player added to the Ring of Honor, and the second player overall following last spring's induction of men's basketball All-America forward Luke Harangody.
Beginning in 2010-11, the Notre Dame Athletics Department plans to honor annually additional former and present men's and women's basketball and volleyball players who have made distinguished and noteworthy contributions during their career while student-athletes at the University. A committee that will consist of Fighting Irish coaches and administrators will be formed to determine future inductees.
The only player in Notre Dame women's basketball history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds, Riley ranks as the program's all-time leader in seven categories, including rebounds (1,007), blocked shots (370 - fifth in NCAA history) and field goal percentage (.632 - 11th in NCAA history). What's more, the Macy, Ind., native ranks third in school history with 2,072 points, and holds the Fighting Irish single-game scoring record with 41 points in a January 1998 win over Providence. Riley also played a pivotal role in Notre Dame's run to the 2001 NCAA national championship, earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors after scoring 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the title game victory over Purdue, capped by her gamewinning free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining.
A 10-year WNBA veteran (the past four with the San Antonio Silver Stars), two-time WNBA champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Riley is back on campus with the other members of the 2001 championship team for ceremonies honoring the 10th anniversary of that milestone achievement in Notre Dame athletics history. She and the rest of those Fighting Irish greats were on hand Friday to watch this year's 12th-ranked Fighting Irish tip off the 2010-11 regular season against New Hampshire.