Knoxville, TN, United States (4E Sports) – Skylar Diggins fired a career-high 33 points to lead No. 2 Notre Dame to a 77-67 triumph over No. 9 Tennessee Monday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Diggins made 13 of 26 attempts while Jewell Loyd added 10 as the Fighting Irish extended their winning streak to 14 games and improved to 19-1 (7-0 Big East).
Diggins scored the biggest output against the Lady Vols this season, the most since A’dia Matthews had 34 for Kentucky on Jan. 12, 2012.
Kayla McBride added nine markers and 10 caroms for the Fighting Irish, who also ended the Lady Volunteers’ nine-game winning run.
Freshman Bashaara Graves tallied 19 points and 13 rebounds, Taber Spani had 12 and Meighan Simmons added 11 for the Lady Volunteers, who slipped to 16-4.
Graves double-double was her team-leading eighth of the season, and 10 of her rebounds came on the offensive glass, a career best.
In the first half, the Lady Vols jumped out to an early 5-0 lead but the Fighting Irish responded with an 8-0 run of their own to take a 14-9 advantage.
The game was close in the first half until Michaela Mabrey buried a triple in the dying seconds to give the Fighting Irish a 33-29 lead at the break.
Behind the hot shooting of Diggins, Notre Dame opened the second half on 8-3 run, extending its lead to 41-32, the largest of the game.
A few minutes later, the Fighting Irish launched an 11-0 run to make it 54-37 but the Lady Vols countered with an 18-5 offensive onslaught to cut the deficit to just six, 67-61, with less than five minutes remaining.
However, Diggins buried a triple to put the Fighting Irish ahead, 74-64, and keep the Lady Vols’ comeback attempt at bay.
Before the match, Tennessee honored Lady Vol head coach emeritus Pat Summit in a banner-raising ceremony.
Summitt became the 11th Vol to have a banner raised in their honor at Thompson-Boling Arena, and just the sixth Lady Vol.
Summitt’s banner was raised in the rafters alongside Daedra Charles, Brigette Gordon, Tamika Catchings, Chamique Holdsclaw, and Holly Warlick.
During her tenure from 1974-2012, the Hall of Famer coach accumulated 1,098 wins and eight national championships. She resigned in April after announcing in 2011 that she has early-onset dementia.