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Notre Dame WBB gets early-season showdown with Texas in SEC/ACC Challenge

Hannah Hidalgo and Notre Dame take on Texas in women's basketball, Dec. 5 in South Bend, as part of the SEC/ACC Challenge.
Hannah Hidalgo and Notre Dame take on Texas in women's basketball, Dec. 5 in South Bend, as part of the SEC/ACC Challenge. (Michael Caterina, Associated Press)

The last time the Notre Dame women’s basketball program clashed with Texas, it helped propel the Irish to their first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance.

Twenty-eight seasons later, Notre Dame will enter the 2024-25 season with similar aspirations and a roster that appears to be built to seriously chase those ambitions, with Texas this time providing an early-season checkpoint.

The SEC and ACC announced on Wednesday afternoon that the Irish will host new SEC member Texas on Dec. 5 as part of the SEC/ACC Challenge in what could be a matchup of Top 10 teams.


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The Irish (28-7 in 2023-24) are ranked No. 4 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for the upcoming season. Texas (33-5) is No. 6.

Meanwhile, the Notre Dame men’s team drew Georgia in the men’s version of the SEC/ACC Challenge and will play the Bulldogs Dec. 3 on the road.

In the women’s matchup, December’s meeting will be just the third-ever between the two schools, with both of the previous games being staged in Austin, Texas. In the 1997 clash on St. Patrick’s Day, the sixth-seeded Irish upended 3 seed Texas, 86-83, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Notre Dame then went on to knock off 2 seed Alabama and 5 seed George Washington the following week in Columbia, S.C., to reach the Final Four. There, the Irish lost 80-66 to eventual champ Tennessee in the national semifinals.

The Irish had a promising freshman point guard on that team who tore the ACL in her right knee five games into that season, Niele Ivey. Ivey now heads into her fifth season as Notre Dame’s head coach.

Notre Dame returns four starters from its NCAA Sweet 16 team from last season, including first-team All-America point guard Hannah Hidalgo, a sophomore-to-be. The Irish added significant front-court firepower in five-star freshman center Kate Koval, and from the transfer portal grad senior forwards Liatu King (Pitt) and Liza Karlen (Marquette).

They also return three guards who were medical redshirts last season, highlighted by 2023 All-American Olivia Miles and 6-2 defensive ace Cass Prosper.

On the men’s side, Georgia and Notre Dame will meet for the fifth time overall, but first time ever in South Bend. The most recent meeting was two seasons ago in a neutral-site game in Atlanta that Georgia won, 77-62.

The Irish men’s team, in coach Micah Shrewberry’s first season with the Irish, finished 13-20. Georgia went 20-17 and reached the NIT semifinals.

Last season was the first for the SEC/ACC Challenge, and both the women’s teams and the men’s teams split the 14 games, 7-7. The men’s games will be staged Dec. 3-4, and the women’s Dec. 4-5. The fields have been expanded to 16 games each to accommodate expanded conference membership.

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and ACC Network will televise the games. Specific platforms and times will be announced closer to the start of the season.

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