Jan. 17, 2018
|Game 19: #5/5 Notre Dame (16-2) vs #6/7 Tennessee (16-1)|
|When:||Thursday, Jan. 18 | 7:00 pm ET|
|Where:||Notre Dame, Ind. | Purcell Pavilion (9,149)|
|Watch:||ESPN | WatchESPN | Adam Amin, Rebecca Lobo, Kara Lawson, Holly Rowe|
|Listen:||PULSE FM 96.9 / 92.1 | Bob Nagle (PxP)|
|Notes:||Notre Dame | Tennessee|
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Two signature women’s basketball programs come to a head on Thursday when the No. 5/5 Notre Dame women’s basketball team (16-2) hosts No. 6/7 Tennessee (16-1) in a 7 p.m. ET primetime matchup inside Purcell Pavilion, broadcasted live on ESPN.
Limited tickets remain for the top-10 showdown, as fans can visit und.com/buytickets or visit the Murnane Family Ticket Office located at Purcell Pavilion.
CAREER VS TENNESSEE
After turning the series towards Notre Dame’s favor, Tennessee retaliated last season in the form of a 71-69 upset in Knoxville, after trailing Notre Dame 62-52 heading into the final quarter. Marina Mabrey led all Irish with 17 points. The year prior, Notre Dame capped its sixth straight win in the series with a 79-66 victory at home over the Lady Vols and have won three straight against Tennessee inside Purcell Pavilion.
Mabrey has totaled 30 points (15.0 ppg) in two games against Tennessee, while Ogunbowale has hit the 14-point mark in each of the two. Jackie Young reached double-digits last season with 10 points.
Jessica Shepard is currently riding a season best four straight games in double-digit points. Shepard is coming off of tying her second highest scoring effort on the year with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting vs Boston College on Jan. 14. More so, over the past two games, Shepard has averaged a team best 18.0 points and 5.0 assists.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Purcell Pavilion has become one of the toughest venues for opposing teams to play in, with the Irish boasting a 458-92 all-time record. Notre Dame enters Thursday’s matchup with a 17-game win streak at home and is eying its 52nd sellout in program history. In previous sellouts, the Irish have achieved a 42-9 record, including winners of 33 of their last 37.
Over the last five years (counting this season), the Irish are an impressive 61-5 in non-conference regular season games. If Notre Dame were to defeat Tennessee, it would cap a 12-1 non-conference season, securing the fifth straight year in which the Irish produced at least 12 non-conference wins.
Even further back, the Irish have notched a 122-11 record in non-conference regular season games over the past decade.
Perseverance has been the name of the game in South Bend and the Irish have the numbers to back it up. Notre Dame possesses both the No. 2 ranked strength of schedule and No. 2 ranked RPI. Meanwhile, in conference RPI, the ACC ranks first.
Notre Dame currently boasts eight wins over RPI top-50 opponents and possess four wins over AP top-25 ranked teams. A win Thursday would tie Louisville for the second most with five, trailing just UConn’s six.
ASSISTING IN THE WIN
Since taking over primary point guard duties on Jan. 4 vs Miami, Mabrey has risen her assist per game average from 3.4 to 3.9, as the latter ranks 10th in the ACC. Mabrey averaged 5.8 assists over the four-game span, including a season high of eight assists vs Boston College on Jan. 14.
Mabrey has dished out at least five assists in seven of the past eight games. Lastly, her 5.5 assists per game average in conference play ranks fifth.
All-in-all, there’s no better passing team in the ACC than the Irish, who’s 18.4 assists per game ranks first in the league and 14th in nation.
ABOUT THE LADY VOLS
No. 6/7 Tennessee enters with a 16-1 record and will end a three-game road swing in South Bend after previously facing No. 17/16 Texas A&M (L, 79-76 OT) and No. 9/8 South Carolina (W, 86-70). The Lady Vols are 4-1 this season vs ranked opponents, including a 2-0 mark against the top-10, previously knocking off No. 2/4 Texas.
Tennessee is led by Mercedes Russell and Jaime Nared, who were both named to the Wooden Midseason Top-25 list. Russell averages 17.2 ppg with eight double-doubles on the year, while Nared averages 17.6 ppg with seven games of 20 or more points.