Lady Vols To Host Irish In ACC-SEC Women’s Basketball Challenge

Lady Vols To Host Irish In ACC-SEC Women’s Basketball Challenge

Complete ACC-SEC Challenge Schedule

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – ESPN revealed the first glimpse of Tennessee’s 2023-24 women’s hoops schedule on Wednesday morning, announcing the Lady Vols will play host to Notre Dame on Nov. 29 as part of a 14-game ACC-SEC Women’s Basketball Challenge.
The Big Orange and the Fighting Irish are slated to play at 5 ET on that Wednesday evening, battling in one of four games tipping at that early time. The broadcast designation will be released later.

Both teams enter the upcoming campaign with lofty expectations after reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2022-23. Notre Dame is ranked No. 10 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25, while Tennessee is slotted at No. 12 in that poll with its placement by that organization occurring before two-time All-ACC performer Jewel Spear of Wake Forest announced she was joining the Lady Vols. The ESPN rankings haven’t been updated since that time.
UT returns nine players, including six who started games a year ago. Six-foot-two, fifth-year forward Rickea Jackson, who earned All-America honorable mention, first-team All-SEC and Cheryl Miller Award top-five finalist accolades a year ago after averaging 19.2 ppg. and 6.1 rpg., is back to set the tone for the Big Orange.
Tamari Key, a 6-6 interior force on both ends of the floor, returns to action after last season ended in her ninth game due to medical reasons. She is a two-time SEC All-Defensive Team member, a 2022 Lisa Leslie Award finalist and 2022 All-SEC honoree. UT also welcomes back its fourth- and fifth-leading scorers in 6-1 senior wing Tess Darby (7.4 ppg., 70 3FGs) and 6-5 junior forward Jillian Hollingshead (6.2 ppg., 4.4 rpg.).
Newcomers include Spear and fellow senior guard Destinee Wells (Belmont), and sophomore guard/forward Avery Strickland (Pitt). Spear and Wells were ranked No. 7 and No. 19 by 247Sports among top transfers and along with Strickland helped Tennessee card the No. 6-ranked transfer class nationally, according to 247Sports analyst Brandon Clay.
UND, meanwhile, returns its top three leading scorers in Sonia Citron (14.7 ppg., 5.5 rpg.), Olivia Miles (14.3 ppg., 7.3 rpg., 6.9 apg.) and Maddy Westbeld (11.2 ppg., 6.6 rpg.) from a squad that went 27-6 overall and 15-3 in ACC play. The Irish are led by fourth-year head coach Niele Ivey.
Tennessee is 22-8 all-time vs. Notre Dame, including 1-0 through four complete years under Kellie Harper. The LVFL guided her first UT squad to a 74-63 signature road victory over the Muffet McGraw-helmed No. 15/14 Irish on Nov. 11, 2019. Ivey took the reins from McGraw after that season, and the two programs will meet in 2023 for the first occasion since then.
Lady Vol season tickets are available here.

-UT Athletics

Lady Vols vs. Notre Dame / Credit: UT Athletics

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