Notre Dame takes on California in NBC’s first-ever women’s college basketball game

Notre Dame takes on Cal in NBC’s first-ever women’s college basketball game originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Women’s college basketball is making its debut on NBC and Peacock this Saturday, headlined by No. 9 Notre Dame. The Irish are taking on the California Bears in St. Louis as part of the inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic.

The two-day event will include a luncheon and panels discussing gender equity in business and women’s athletics, capped off by Saturday’s game at the Enterprise Center.

This historic broadcasting partnership comes nearly 25 years after NBC’s first-ever college basketball game -- a 77-62 win by the Providence men’s team over Notre Dame.

After a down period, the blueblood Irish seem poised to reclaim their place among the sport’s heavyweights. In her third season at the helm, head coach Niele Ivey is looking to build on her team’s Sweet Sixteen finish from last season, their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since making back-to-back championship games in 2018 and 2019.

Notre Dame has a stacked ACC schedule ahead -- featuring four teams currently ranked in the top-12 -- but first they’ll have to get through the Bears.

Cal is currently picked to finish second-to-last in the Pac-12, a conference that features No. 2 Stanford, No. 19 Arizona and No. 20 Oregon.

They’ll have their hands full with this loaded Notre Dame roster, but head coach Charmin Smith will look to pull off an upset behind sophomore Jayda Curry. Curry averaged 18.6 points per game last season and was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Saturday’s game also serves as a homecoming to both Ivey and Smith. The two dominated St. Louis high school basketball throughout the early 1990s. They nearly met in the National Championship during Ivey’s freshman year and Smith’s senior year, but both Stanford and Notre Dame were eliminated in the semifinals.

Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. on NBC and Peacock.