ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm travels to Knoxville, Tenn., on Thursday, Jan. 26, for its first of three women’s college basketball shows this season. The one-hour program will air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, preceding the storied rivalry of No. 5 UConn and Tennessee. The game is part of ESPN’s annual We Back Pat initiative honoring late women’s basketball coaching legend and Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt.
Elle Duncan will host the show from inside Thompson-Boling Arena, alongside women’s college basketball commentators Andraya Carter, Rebecca Lobo, Carolyn Peck and Holly Rowe. Lobo and Rowe will join play-by-play voice Ryan Ruocco on the call for the game.
We Back Pat brings awareness to the Pat Summitt Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Summitt and her son Tyler launched the foundation in 2011 after her diagnosis of early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, at the age of 59. UConn head coach Geno Auriemma was the first to donate to the organization when he contributed $10,000 in 2012.
“We are thrilled to continue integrating women’s college basketball into the College GameDay brand with additional shows this season,” said Patricia Lowry, ESPN vice president of production. “UConn-Tennessee is one of the preeminent rivalries in women’s college basketball and Pat Summitt remains the sport’s north star, while Geno Auriemma continues his historic run with the Huskies. Having the first show of 2023 at Tennessee for this matchup while supporting We Back Pat, with one of Summitt’s former players, Kellie (Jolly) Harper, now leading the Lady Vol program, it couldn’t be more fitting.”
“We are excited to welcome ESPN’s College GameDay back to the University of Tennessee and make our third all-time women’s appearance as we host UConn,” Lady Vol head coach Kellie Harper said. “It just feels right to have College GameDay here to showcase one of the most historic rivalries in sports, and I know the atmosphere inside Thompson-Boling Arena and the energy of our fans will be incredible.”
“State Farm has a long history of elevating women in sports, and we will continue to provide our support,” said Kristyn Cook, State Farm Chief Agency, Sales & Marketing Officer. “It’s an honor to sponsor College GameDay while recognizing Coach Summitt and providing a venue for these two iconic college basketball programs to compete.”
College GameDay is no stranger to these marquee programs, previously making a stop at Tennessee for a women’s game in 2011, precede by a visit to UConn in 2010. The most recent women’s college basketball edition of College GameDay Covered by State Farm originated from Columbia, SC on February 20, 2022 for the then top-15 matchup of South Carolina and Tennessee.
Details regarding the remaining women’s college basketball shows will be released in the coming months.