KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Skylar Diggins scored a career-high 33 points and No. 2 Notre Dame built a 19-point lead in the second half before withstanding a late Tennessee rally in a 77-67 victory Monday night over the ninth-ranked Lady Vols.
Notre Dame (19-1) won its 14th straight game and snapped the Lady Vols’ nine-game winning streak. Notre Dame also became the first school ever to defeat both Connecticut and Tennessee (16-4) in three consecutive seasons. The Irish won 73-72 at UConn on Jan. 5.
Before the game, Tennessee hung a banner at Thompson-Boling Arena in honor of former Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt, whose 1,098-208 record in 38 seasons gives her the most career wins of any Division I men’s or women’s basketball coach ever.
Summitt, who led Tennessee to eight national titles and 18 Final Four appearances, already had the playing court named after her. The Hall of Fame coach stepped down in April after announcing in 2011 that she has early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. She remains on Tennessee’s staff as head coach emeritus, attends just about every practice and sits in the stands for all home games. Former Lady Vol greats Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker attended Monday’s game.
AP POLL: Baylor remains No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll for a fourth consecutive week after two more Big 12 wins.
The Lady Bears cruised to victories over Iowa State and Oklahoma and have 30 straight Big 12 regular-season victories. Baylor had 37 first-place ballots Monday and will visit Texas Tech and No. 19 Oklahoma State this week. The Cowgirls had the biggest drop, falling seven spots after losing to Kansas State.
Notre Dame and UConn stayed second and third. The Huskies received the other three first-place votes. The Irish visit ninth-ranked Tennessee on Monday night.
Stanford moved up to fourth while Duke fell one spot to fifth after losing by 30 points to the Huskies last Monday.
Iowa entered the poll at No. 24 – its first appearance since 2011. Delaware came back in the poll at No. 25.
Michigan and Michigan State dropped out.