KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jaime Nared hit a tiebreaking jumper with 10.3 seconds left as Tennessee erased a 15-point, second-half deficit to beat No. 6 Notre Dame 71-69 on Monday night.
The victory enabled Tennessee (11-6) to avoid its first three-game losing streak since February 1986.
After trailing by as many as 15 in the third quarter, Tennessee pulled ahead 69-67 on Meme Jackson’s baseline 3-pointer with 1:22 left. A driving basket from Notre Dame’s Lindsay Allen tied it at 69-all with 1:03 remaining.
Tennessee went back in front on Nared’s jumper from about 15 feet away.
Notre Dame’s final hope vanished when Allen’s 3-point attempt fell short of the front rim at the buzzer.
Diamond DeShields led Tennessee with 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. Mercedes Russell had 13 points. Nared and Jordan Reynolds added 12 points each.
Marina Mabrey scored 17 points and Arike Ogunbowale had 14 for Notre Dame (16-3). Brianna Turner and Jackie Young added 10 apiece.
This represented Tennessee’s annual “We Back Pat” game as part of the Southeastern Conference’s initiative of the same name to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and show support for former Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt, who died June 28.
The game also took place one day after a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Pat Summitt Clinic , which is devoted to Alzheimer’s research and treatment. Summitt led Tennessee to eight women’s basketball national titles before stepping down in April 2012, one year after announcing she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
In pregame check presentations, various companies and fundraises donated nearly $630,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting Alzheimer’s. The foundation donated $600,000 to the clinic.
Notre Dame: After shooting with uncanny accuracy through the first three quarters, the Irish went ice cold down the stretch. Notre Dame was just 3 of 14 in the fourth quarter after shooting 26 of 46 beforehand.
Tennessee: The Lady Vols made a little more use of their thin bench Monday, and that strategy enabled Tennessee to remain fresh as it outscored Notre Dame 19-7 in the fourth quarter. Schaquilla Nunn was particularly effective off the bench with eight points and four rebounds.
Notre Dame is at Boston College on Thursday.
Tennessee is at Auburn on Thursday.