Knoxville, TN – Freshman guard Zaay Green scored 15 points in the first half to put the Tennessee Lady Vols up 34-31 at the break, but No. 1/1 Notre Dame rallied in the second half to grab a 77-62 win Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Green finished the game with a career-high 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Freshman point guard Evina Westbrook was Tennessee’s (12-7, 1-5 SEC) second highest scorer with 16 points, while senior forward Cheridene Green pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds for her seventh double-digit rebound game of the season.
Tennessee Women’s Basketball fall Thursday night to No. 1/1 Notre Dame at Thompson-Boling Arena. (UT Athletics)
Despite a four-point first-half performance, Arike Ogunbowale finished as the leading scorer for the Irish (19-1, 6-0 ACC) with 28 points, while three other Notre Dame players posted double-digit points. Jackie Young recorded a triple-double with 16 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and only two turnovers.
The Lady Vols dominated on both ends of the court early on, as they held Notre Dame without a field goal for over three minutes to start the game. Tennessee took an 8-4 lead over halfway through the quarter, thanks to second chance points that came courtesy of Kasiyahna Kushkituah and Cheridene Green’s eight combined rebounds.
The Lady Vols followed up with a 7-0 run and forced the Irish on another three-minute scoring drought late in the first quarter. Notre Dame, however, hit its final four shots of the quarter to cut the Tennessee lead to 17-14 after 10 minutes of play. Westbrook, Davis and Zaay Green chipped in for 13 of the Lady Vols’ first-quarter points.
Tennessee continued its hot streak into the second quarter, with Zaay Green’s quick seven points giving the Lady Vols a 26-18 lead. The Irish bounced back, though, hitting their next six shots to cut the Tennessee lead to just one point with under four minutes remaining in the first half.
Notre Dame took its first lead of the game at the 3:12 mark of the second quarter on a layup from Brianna Turner. Once again, Zaay Green refused to let the Lady Vols falter, as a pair of layups from the true freshman put Tennessee back on top 34-31 going into the half. Green racked up 15 points, five rebounds and four assists before halftime.
Ogunbowale found her rhythm and led the Irish on a 12-4 run to start the second half and regain a 41-38 lead with 6:29 left in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Lady Vols were held to a two-minute scoring drought, where they turned over the ball three times in the span. A Westbrook floater, however, knotted things back up at 44-all with four minutes left in the third quarter.
Notre Dame exploded for an 11-2 run to end the frame, as Ogunbowale tallied 16 of the Irish’s 24 third-quarter points. Five different Lady Vols combined for just 12 points in the third quarter, as Notre Dame took a 55-46 lead into the final stanza.
Notre Dame opened up the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run, giving the Irish their largest lead of the contest. Tennessee clawed back into the game by hitting its next three shots, but the Irish kept the Lady Vols at an arm’s reach from the charity stripe. Tennessee was held to just 16 points in the fourth quarter on 6-of-19 shooting from the floor.
The Tennessee Lady Vols hit just three of their final 10 shots to end the game, while Notre Dame iced the game at the free throw line, finishing 18 of 28 there. UT made only eight trips to the charity stripe all night, making six of them.
Zaay Can Play
Zaay Green scored a career-high 19 points against Notre Dame while adding eight rebounds and four assists. The true freshman has had three straight double-digit performances and is averaging 16.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 3.3 apg over the last three games.
First Half Lockdown
Tennessee held Notre Dame to a season-low 31 points at the half. The last time the Fighting Irish was held to less than 31 points in the first half was against Mississippi State in the National Championship game on April 1, 2018, with just 17 points. Notre Dame came back to win the title, 61-58.
Up Next for the Tennessee Lady Vols
The Tennessee Lady Vols play their third straight home game on Sunday, January 27th hosting LSU at 1:00pm in the annual Live Pink, Bleed Orange game. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to get a 2019 Live Pink, Bleed Orange t-shirt, while supplies last. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.
SectionsAssociations, Basketball (Women), Colleges, Featured Story, NCAA, Southeastern Conference, Sports, University of Tennessee
TopicsCheridene Green, Eviana Westbrook, Kasiyahna Kushkituah, Knoxville TN, Lady Vols, LSU, Notre Dame, SEC, SEC Network, Southeastern Conference, Tennessee, Tennessee Lady Vols, Thompson-Boling Arena, UT, UT Basketball, UT Lady Vols, UT Women's Basketball, Zaay Green