July 2, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame women's basketball team will open the 2008-09 season at LSU in the 16th annual State Farm Tip-Off Classic, it was announced Wednesday afternoon. The Irish and Lady Tigers will play on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. CT (2:30 p.m. ET in South Bend) inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La., with the game to be broadcast live to a national television audience on ESPN2.
Notre Dame will be making its first-ever appearance in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic, which is considered to be among the premier non-conference showcases in women's college basketball and has been made possible by the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, State Farm, InterSport and ESPN2. Each year, the Tip-Off Classic has featured some of nation's elite coaches, players and programs in a one-day, doubleheader-style event, with Notre Dame's fellow BIG EAST Conference member Pittsburgh taking on Texas A&M in the nightcap at 4 p.m. CT, also to air live on ESPN2.
Ticket information for both games, as well as the complete 2008-09 Notre Dame women's basketball schedule, will be released at a later date.
The Irish will be facing LSU for the just the fourth time in series history, with the Lady Tigers holding a 2-1 edge against Notre Dame. The teams last met on March 15, 1999, in an NCAA Tournament West Region second-round game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, with LSU earning a 74-64 win despite 20 points and 10 rebounds from Irish All-America center Ruth Riley. The schools have not met in the regular season since Dec. 19, 1993, when Notre Dame edged the Lady Tigers, 82-80 at the Joyce Center in the back end of a home-and-home series (LSU won the initial matchup, 72-62, on March 2, 1992, in Baton Rouge).
Notre Dame returns seven monogram winners, including three starters, from last year's squad that went 25-9 overall (11-5 in the BIG EAST) and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 with victories over SMU (75-62) and Oklahoma (79-75, OT) before dropping a hard-fought 74-64 decision to eventual national champion Tennessee in the regional semifinals at Oklahoma City's Ford Center. The Irish finished the season ranked 13th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and 15th in the Associated Press poll (the latter survey was taken before the NCAA Tournament), and also were ranked among the top 25 in six NCAA statistical categories, including scoring offense (8th - 76.2 ppg.) and scoring margin (10th - plus-14.6 ppg.).
LSU posted a 31-6 record in 2007-08 and advanced to the NCAA Women's Final Four for the fifth consecutive season, before suffering a last-second 47-46 loss to Tennessee. Ranked fourth in the final '07-08 ESPN/USA Today poll and sixth in the year-end AP balloting, the Lady Tigers have four letterwinners back from that club and are coached by 2001 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Van Chancellor.
At halftime of both games at the State Farm Tip-Off Classic, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2009 will be introduced to the arena and the national television audience. The 2009 Induction is the 11th annual event, with the inaugural induction taking place in conjunction with the Hall of Fame's grand opening in 1999. When the Class of 2009 is officially inducted in Knoxville, Tenn. on June 13, the list of individuals who have been recognized as Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductees will increase to 109.
The mission of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is to "honor the past, celebrate the present, and promote the future" of women's basketball. For more information on the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, visit its web site at www.wbhof.com.