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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Irish to face Gamecocks in Paris to begin 2023-24 season

Notre Dame players celebrate after the Irish defeated then No. 3 UConn at Purcell Pavilion on Dec. 4, 2022. || Mary Votava | The Observer

While many college basketball teams begin their seasons with a slate of home games against mid-major, unformidable opponents, Notre Dame women’s basketball will change things up to begin its 2023-24 campaign. The Irish traveled to St. Louis to take on Cal in the first-ever Citi Shamrock Classic. Playing in head coach Niele Ivey’s hometown, the Irish dug themselves deep into foul trouble but gutted out a 90-79 win over the Golden Bears.

So, the Irish will play another early-season neutral site game in 2023. This one, however, may have a little more intrigue. First, it’s against South Carolina, which ended the regular season as the top-ranked team in the sport and has reached the Sweet 16 in every full season since 2014, winning the national championship in 2017 and 2022.

Pitting two elite programs against each other early in the season is always going to garner excitement. Doing it in Paris, France, takes the hype to an entirely different level.

Sure enough, that's exactly what the Irish and Gamecocks are doing. For the first time ever, the Irish women’s basketball team is leaving North America. In fact, it’s the first time Paris will host an NCAA regular-season basketball game and comes right before the city will host plenty of high-level basketball in 2024 as part of the Summer Olympics.

“Notre Dame is playing under the shadow of Notre Dame,” said Ivey, according to a team press release sent out on Wednesday. “We are absolutely thrilled to be heading to Paris to participate in this historic matchup between two storied women’s basketball programs. It’s always been my mission to break barriers and provide opportunities for my players to have life-changing experiences. Women’s basketball is on the rise right now and having this exposure continues to grow the game on an international platform.”

Both programs will look to start their 2023-24 campaigns strong after excellent seasons that failed to meet their championship aspirations. Handicapped by a slew of injuries, most notably a season-ending setback to sophomore guard Olivia Miles that sidelined her for the entire ACC and NCAA Tournaments, the Irish bowed out in the Sweet 16 to Maryland in convincing fashion. South Carolina reached its third straight Final Four. But the Gamecocks were upset by Iowa and its dominant guard Caitlin Clark, falling 77-73.

As of now, important details such as venue, broadcast network and tickets are not yet available.

This will be the sixth meeting in program history between the two teams. Notre Dame beat the Gamecocks 92-85 the last time they met back in November 2017. The Irish are 3-2 all-time against South Carolina, including a perfect 3-0 on neutral sites.