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June 19, 2014

Ruth Riley retires after 13 seasons in WNBA

She was a memberof 2004 Olympic gold medalist team

Former North Miami and Notre Dame basketball great Ruth Riley announced her retirement Wednesday on WNBA.com.

Riley, 34, was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2001 WNBA draft and enjoyed a 13-year career playing professional basketball.

The 6-foot, 4 1/2-inch center played for five WNBA teams, the Miami Sol (2001–2002), Detroit Shock (2003–2006), San Antonio Silver Stars (2007–2011), Chicago Sky (2012) and Atlanta Dream (2013). Her Detroit Shock team won the WNBA championship in 2003 and 2006. She was named the MVP of the 2003 WNBA Finals. She played in the WNBA All-Star game in 2005.

Riley averaged 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in her WNBA career. Her best year statistically was in 2004 for Detroit when she averaged 11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

She has also played on teams that won the National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL) championship and the 2010 EuroCup Championship.

Riley was a member of the 2004 United States Olympic team that went undefeated and won a gold medal.

In her collegiate career at Notre Dame, Riley was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four when the Fighting Irish won the national title in 2001.

In the championship game, Notre Dame was trailing Purdue, 66-64, when Riley scored the tying field goal. Then, with 5.8 seconds left and the score still tied, Riley drew a foul. She made both free throws to give Notre Dame its final 68-66 edge and its first women’s national championship.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, when asked about the critical play on which Riley was fouled, said, “It’s the same play we’ve been running all season. It’s called: ‘Get the ball to Ruth.’”

A four-year starter at Notre Dame, Riley consistently ranked high in the nation among women basketball players in field goal percentage and blocked shots. In both her junior and senior years she was an Associated Press First Team All-American selection. As a senior, she won the Naismith Award and was the Associated Press Player of the Year. In addition, she was the 2000-01 Verizon Academic All-America Team Member of the Year.

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