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HomeSportsTennessee Lady Vols hit the road to face Florida Gators Thursday night

Tennessee Lady Vols hit the road to face Florida Gators Thursday night

RV/RV Tennessee Lady Vols (12-7/3-3 SEC) at Florida Gators (10-9/1-5 SEC)

Thursday, January 26th, 2017 | 6:00pm CT
Gainesville, FL | Exactech Arena

UT Lady VolsGainesville, FL – Coming off a dominant performance over Vanderbilt on Sunday, Tennessee hits the road in search of an SEC win at Florida on Thursday night in Exactech Arena.

The game tips off at 6:00pm CT and will be available online on SECN+ and through WatchESPN. Visit WatchESPN.com or download the WatchESPN app to view the game on a computer or mobile device. Adam Schick (PxP) and Brittany Davis (Analyst) will describe the action between the Lady Vols and the Gators.

Fans can also tune into their local Lady Vol Network station to catch Mickey Dearstone describing the action.

Tennessee Women's Basketball heads to the Sunshine State to take on Florida Gators Thursday night, January 26th, 2017. (Tennessee Athletics Department)
Tennessee Women’s Basketball heads to the Sunshine State to take on Florida Gators Thursday night, January 26th, 2017. (Tennessee Athletics Department)

RV/RV Tennessee vs. Florida

#RV/RV Tennessee (12-7, 3-3 SEC) heads to the Sunshine State on the heels of a dominating 91-63 home victory over Vanderbilt on Sunday evening.

The Lady Vols will face a Florida squad (10-9, 1-5 SEC) that picked up its first SEC victory of the season at Georgia on Sunday, 76-68.

Tip-off of the 53rd meeting between these programs is slated for 6:00pm CT on Thursday at Exactech Arena in Gainesville.

The match-up will pit a UT squad that is 3-5 on the road this season vs. a UF unit that has compiled a 1-3 mark in Gainesville thus far.

Tennessee enters having won two of its last three games, including home victories over #6/6 Notre Dame (71-69) and Vanderbilt (91-63).

The Lady Vols, though, have dropped their last two on the road, falling at Ole Miss on January 12th (67-62) and at Auburn on January 19th (79-61).

The Gators have lost five of their last six games, including home SEC games vs. Auburn (82-75), #5 South Carolina (81-62) and Texas A&M (67-59).

Tennessee begins a stretch where it plays three of its next four games on the road.

Broadcast Information

Adam Schick (PxP) and Brittany Davis (Analyst) will describe the action for the Tennessee-Florida online broadcast on SECN+.

All of the games included in the SEC Network (SEC Network, SECN+) package and the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

Mickey Dearstone will handle the call for the IMG College/Lady Vol Network radio/online broadcast. Airtime is 30 minutes prior to tip-off on network stations.

Tennessee in SEC Play

UT is 370-61 in SEC regular-season games, winning 18 championships through the years and capturing SEC tourney titles on 17 occasions.

During the Holly Warlick era, Tennessee is 53-17 in league games, making Warlick the top-ranked active SEC coach in terms of winning percentage in league play at .757.

South Carolina’s Dawn Staley is the next coach behind Warlick at .677, followed by UK’s Matthew Mitchell at .651.

In only her fifth year as a head coach, Warlick already ranks fifth in total league wins among active SEC coaches and has won regular season titles in 2013 and 2015, and a tourney crown in 2014.

Sizing Up the Lady Vols

Tennessee ranks #16 in the most recent NCAA Women’s Basketball RPI.

The Lady Vols stand #2 in the latest NCAA Toughest Schedule Report.

UT is receiving votes in both the AP (30th) and USA Today Coaches (30th) Polls.

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Sport Committee revealed its first of three top-16 rankings in seed order on January 23rd.

While UT is not among the 16 teams, it has beaten #7 Notre Dame (71-69), #12 Stanford (59-51) and #15 Kentucky (72-65). UT lost to #2 Baylor (88-66), #4 Mississippi State (74-64) and #10 Texas (72-67).

The latest edition of Charlie Creme’s Bracketology has the Lady Vols in Seattle as a No. 7 seed facing #10 seed Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Lexington Regional.

UT has played more ranked teams than any other SEC school (6) and has the second most wins over ranked teams (3) and second most over top-10 teams (2) in the league.

South Carolina is 5-0 vs. ranked teams, while UT is 3-3, Kentucky is 2-2, Texas A&M is 2-0 and Mississippi State is 1-1. USC is 3-0 vs. top-10 teams, while UT is 2-2.

Tennessee Notes vs. Florida

Tennessee holds a 48-4 all-time record vs. Florida, dating back to February 8th, 1980.

The Lady Vols had won 11 in a row in the series until the Gators got the victory in Knoxville on January 7th, 2016, 74-66.

UT is 19-2 in games played in Gainesville, winning the past four trips there and in 10 of the past 11 visits.

The last Lady Vol loss in Gainesville came on February 8th, 2009, as #11/13 Florida topped #12/17 Tennessee by a 66-57 count.

UT is 21-2 vs. UF in games played in Knoxville, 8-0 at neutral sites and 3-1 in overtime contests vs Florida, including 3-0 in Gainesville in those extra-frame affairs.

Holly Warlick’s squad is 4-1 vs. Florida during her tenure.

This marks the first time these programs have met with neither team ranked since January 21st, 1985, in Pat Summitt’s 11th season as head coach.

Bashaara Graves’ free throw with 12.5 seconds remaining in regulation sent the 2013 game in Gainesville into overtime and helped give Holly Warlick a win in her first game as head coach in the series, 78-75.

UT’s team record for most free throws made in a game (40-of-46) came at Florida on February 3rd, 2005.

Diamond DeShields hit for 16 points in her debut game vs. Florida last season.

Jaime Nared posted points/rebounds efforts of 10/7 as a freshman and 10/6 as a sophomore vs. the Gators.

Jordan Reynolds tallied 13 points vs. UF in Gainesville in 2015.

About the Florida Gators

Florida GatorsFlorida returned three starters and seven letter winners from a team that finished 22-9 overall and 10-6 in SEC play, good for a tie for fourth.

UF made the NCAA Tournament, falling in the first round to UAlbany, 61-59.

The Gators were predicted to finish fourth by SEC coaches and fifth by the media in the 2016-17 preseason polls.

UF had two players on the Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team, including first-teamer Ronni Williams and second-teamer Eleanna Christinaki.

Christinaki, who tortured UT with a game-high 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds in last year’s UF win in Knoxville, is no longer on the team, departing in December 2016. At the time, she was her team’s leading scorer at 17.6 ppg.

Florida is coached by Amanda Butler, who is in her 10th year in Gainesville, sporting a 185-30 record. She is 225-152 overall in 12 seasons as a head coach.

Florida is one of the best field goal shooting teams in the league, ranking third at .457. Ronni Williams leads the way, shooting 57 percent from the field.

The Gators rank second in the league in assists per game at 15.6.

League’s Top Scorers Meet in Florida

Thursday’s game will feature four of the league’s top scorers in UF’s Ronni Williams (17.6, 2nd) and UT’s Diamond DeShields (16.9, t3rd), Mercedes Russell (16.6, 8th) and Jaime Nared (15.2, 12th).

In league games, DeShields ranks second in the SEC at 19.2 ppg., behind Chloe Jackson of LSU (19.9).

UF’s Williams is 10th at 16.8, while UT’s Russell is tied for sixth at 17.8 ppg.

Milestone Watch

Schaquilla Nunn has 996 career rebounds (910 at Winthrop) and needs only four to reach 1,000.

Schaquilla Nunn reached 1,000 career points (including 982 at Winthrop) earlier this season. She stands at 1,072 through the Vandy game.

Mercedes Russell has 895 career points and needs 105 to join the 1,000-point club.

Russell has 651 career rebounds and needs 149 to move into UT’s list of players with 800 or more rebounds. There are 17 who’ve made the cut.

Diamond DeShields needs 198 points to hit 1,000 points at UT. She has 1,450 total combining her totals at Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Last Time These Teams Met

Diamond DeShields had 16 points and Bashaara Graves hauled down a career-high 19 rebounds, but the No. 12/11 Lady Vols fell to Florida, 74-66, on January 7th, 2016, in Thompson-Boling Arena after a second-half surge by the Gators.

Tennessee (10-4, 1-1 SEC) led 35-29 at the half. Florida (13-2, 1-1 SEC) knotted the game at 53-53 by the end of the third quarter and outscored the Lady Vols in the fourth, 21-13, to earn its first win over UT since February 8th, 2009.

The setback also was UT’s first loss to Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena since February 26th, 2006.

DeShields scored in double figures for the 11th-straight game on 6-of-21 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 marksmanship from the free-throw line. Andraya Carter had 13 points and four rebounds and Jaime Nared added 10 points and six boards.

Eleanna Christinaki led Florida with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting and also had eight assists and six rebounds. Carlie Needles had 15 points and January Miller added 11.

The Last Time They Met in Gainsville

Sixth-ranked Tennessee stayed perfect in the SEC, posting a 64-56 win at Florida on February 8th, 2015. The Lady Vols stood 20-3 overall, 10-0 in league play, and were tied with #1 South Carolina atop the standings after the win.

Senior Isabelle Harrison led Tennessee with 17 points. Jordan Reynolds scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half. Freshman Jaime Nared tallied 10 points, her most against an SEC opponent in her initial season.

Cierra Burdick had double-figure rebounds for the sixth time in 2014-15 with a game-best 14 boards. She added eight points.

Florida fell below .500 at 11-12 overall and to 3-7 in the SEC. Cassie Peoples tallied 18 points while Ronni Williams had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Down by five points with 14 minutes left in the game at 36-31, Tennessee ripped off 11 consecutive points to take a 42-36 lead on a pair of Burdick free throws with 11:36 left in the game. Tennessee led for the rest of the way, outscoring Florida over the final 14 minutes, 33-20.

Gators Earn First SEC Win at UGA

Florida exploded out of the halftime locker room on an 18-3 run and then withstood Georgia’s furious charge late for a 76-68 victory at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday.

The victory was the Gator’s first in Southeastern Conference action, halting a five-game skid, while collecting just the program’s sixth win ever against the Lady Bulldogs in Athens.

During that big third-quarter run, six different Gators scored with only Dyandria Anderson hitting more than one field goal. The second one of hers was a three-point-play.

Four Gators scored in double figures vs. UGA, with Ronni Williams leading the way with 16 points. Delicia Washington added 14, followed by Anderson with 13 and Haley Lorenzen with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Florida hit the offensive glass hard, grabbing 17 boards and converting them into 22 second-chance points to Georgia’s eight.

Lady Vols Shoot Past Vandy, 91-63

Tennessee scored its most points in an SEC game in three seasons, rolling past Vanderbilt, 91-63, on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

For the Lady Vols, whose 56 points in the opening 20 minutes were the program’s most in a first half since 2011 (58 vs. Alabama on January 6th), it was the highest scoring output in a league game since tallying 91 vs. Auburn on February 20th, 2014.

Four Lady Vols (12-7, 3-3 SEC) had double-digit scoring outings, with Diamond DeShields leading the way with 23 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists and a steal. Alexa Middleton posted 19 points and seven assists, while Jaime Nared and Mercedes Russell had 17 and 15 points, respectively.

DeShields had her fifth game of the year with over 20 points and crossed the threshold for the 29th time in her career. This effort was her fourth outing in the last seven with 20 points or more.

Erin Whalen and Marqu’es Webb led the Commodores with 13 points each on the night, but Vanderbilt (10-10, 0-7 SEC) struggled to find its rhythm, shooting 40-percent from the field.

The Lady Vols started the game with a quick 7-0 run, sparked by a DeShields jumper in the opening seconds. Tennessee shot 65 percent from the field in the first quarter in taking a 30-12 lead and finished at 53.7 percent for the game.

The Commodores turned things around in the third quarter, outscoring Tennessee 22-10 and shooting 58.8 percent from the field, while Tennessee was only able to make four of its 14 shots.

Tennessee stepped up its defense in the fourth period, however, allowing Vanderbilt to make only five of its 14 field goal attempts.

Coming Up On the Schedule

The Lady Vols are back on the road again on Monday, as they meet #5/4 South Carolina in Columbia at 5:00pm CT on ESPN2.

The Live Pink, Bleed Orange game, which brings awareness to the fight against breast cancer, will be February 2nd, as UT plays host to LSU at 6:00pm CT.

Florida heads to Nashville next, playing at Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon.

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