With impressive skill, irrepressible spirit, and more than a touch of class, the 2000-01 Notre Dame women's basketball team reached the pinnacle of college basketball and forever secured a place in the storied sports history of the university and in the hearts of thousands of fans. The senior leadership of Naismith Award winner Ruth Riley, Niele Ivey, and Kelley Siemon combined with the exciting and capable play of underclassmen such as Alicia Ratay and Ericka Haney emphatically spells C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N-S. These Lady Irish practiced and played with relentless resolve, endured injuries and setbacks, balanced emotions and studies, and nurtured bonds—on and off the court—giving new meaning to the words "dedication" and "teamwork." Nice Girls Finish First is the behind-the-scenes story of this remarkable group of young women who, with a goal firmly in mind, set a shining and enduring example of how to achieve in college athletics with grit and grace.
Mark Bradford is a lifelong resident of the South Bend, Indiana area, and has been a sportswriter for both local and national publications since 1977. Currently he is a sports reporter with his hometown newspaper, the South Bend Tribune, where he has covered University of Notre Dame football and men's and women's basketball for the last six years.