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HomeSports#22/23 Tennessee Vols Basketball kicks off SEC play hosting Missouri

#22/23 Tennessee Vols Basketball kicks off SEC play hosting Missouri

Tennessee (10-2 | 0-0 SEC) vs. Missouri (3-10 | 0-0 SEC)

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 | 4:02pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – No. 22/23 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball (10-2, 0-0 SEC) opens Southeastern Conference action and plays its first game of 2020 on Thursday evening, hosting Missouri (3-10, 0-0 SEC) at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tip-off is slated for 4:02pm CT. This will mark the 13th meeting between these programs, with the Lady Vols leading the series, 9-3. 

The Big Orange women opened the campaign 7-0, including a road win over (then) #15/14 Notre Dame, and are 3-2 since then with losses to Texas and (then) #1/1 Stanford providing the only blemishes.

Tennessee Women's Basketball begins SEC action Thursday when the Lady Vols play Missouri at Thompson-Boling Arena. (UT Athletics)
Tennessee Women’s Basketball begins SEC action Thursday when the Lady Vols play Missouri at Thompson-Boling Arena. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee closed out the 2019 portion of its schedule on Thursday night, dropping a 50-point blowout on Howard with an 88-38 final score.

The contest was UT’s first since December 21st, when it took down Portland State, 88-61, before departing for winter break.

Missouri makes its way to Knoxville following a disappointing non-conference result. The Tigers stand 3-10 and are trying to snap a four-game losing skid. Mizzou is seeing its first action since dropping a 58-51 decision to Illinois in Columbia on December 20th in the annual “Braggin’ Rights” game.

With Missouri’s blessing, Tennessee moved its tip to 4:00pm CT to avoid a direct conflict with the Vol football team’s 6:00pm CT appearance in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

Broadcast Information

Thursday evening’s game will be streamed live by SECN+ with Roger Hoover (PxP) and Steve Hamer (Analyst) handling the call.

The contest also can be heard on Lady Vol Network radio stations and by audio stream, with Mickey Dearstone calling the action for the 21st season. 

A link to the live audio stream can be found on each game’s Hoops Central page or the Lady Vol schedule on UTSports.com. 

For a list of Lady Vol Network affiliates, please click on the Fans tab at the top of UTSports.com, select Vol Network and then click on Vol Network Affiliates in the black bar at the top of the page.

Air time for games on the Lady Vol Radio Network generally occurs 30 minutes prior to tip-off.

SECN+ games are online broadcasts and are available only on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets. 

All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) and the SEC Network 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 subscription from an affiliated provider. 


Gates open at 3:00pm CT on Thursday. Tickets start at just $5.00. Purchase yours today at AllVols.com.

There is free parking & shuttle service available from UT’s Ag Campus. Shuttles begin two hours prior to tipoff.

Want to be the Jr.Vol of the Game? Sign up for the Jr.Vol Club today and get the chance to see yourself on the videoboard. Members also receive free Jr.Vol swag, tickets to games for all sports and exclusive Jr.Vol events.

Come High-Five the Lady Vols. Kids 12 & younger can pick up a wristband at the Fan HQ table on the concourse to participate in the pregame High-Five Tunnel. Wristbands are limited. To purchase discounted group tickets and reserve wristbands for your team, call 865-946-7000.

You can be a part of the Lady Vols’ electric introductions. Make sure to download our light show app courtesy of Coca Cola. The “Hoops Hype” app is available free of charge from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store.

In SEC Openers

Tennessee is 31-6 all-time in SEC openers, including 16-3 at home and 15-3 on the road.

UT has won five straight SEC openers and has triumphed in its last two league lid-lifters that were played on The Summitt. 

This marks the third time UT and MU have met in an SEC opener, with the Lady Vols owning a 2-0 record.

Tennessee won in Knoxville, 63-53, during the 2014-15 season and triumphed in Columbia during the 2015-16 campaign, 71-55. 

The Lady Vols are 33-4 all-time in the first SEC game that is played at home during a season and 28-8 in the first one on the road.

These two teams met in Knoxville with that same scenario a year ago, with UT dropping a 66-64 decision to fall to 1-1 in league play.

Recapping UT Lady Vols Last Game

Sophomore Rae Burrell logged her second career double-double to lead UT to an 88-38 victory over Howard on Sunday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena.

With a crowd of 9,269 looking on, Burrell led Tennessee (10-2) in scoring with 18 points while grabbing a career-high 12 boards. 

Freshman Jessie Rennie also had a career day, enjoying a 5-of-7 afternoon behind the arc for a career-best 16 points. 

Junior Rennia Davis and freshman Jordan Horston were also in double figures for the Big Orange with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Howard was led by junior Jayla Thornton who finished with nine points and two rebounds.

Notes From Last Game

Rennie Finding Her Groove
Freshman Jessie Rennie went 3-of-4 from behind the arc in the first half against Howard and finished 5-of-7 on the day to set a new career high of 16 points. After hitting just 3-of-15 in her first eight contests as a Lady Vol, she has hit 64.3 percent in the last four, going 9-of-14 from behind the arc. 

Balanced Attack
Tennessee had four players manage double-digit scoring against Howard (Burrell, Rennie, Horston, Davis) and 10 of UT’s 11 active players scored at least two points. UT has had four or more players score 10+ points in five different games this season.

Big-Time Bench Points
The Lady Vols’ bench poured in 45 points, accounting for more than half of UT’s total and outscoring the entire Howard team by seven points.

Burrell Bringing the Heat
Rae Burrell continues to come off the bench and contribute high numbers for the Lady Vols, leading the team in scoring for the second-straight game. In her 28 minutes against Howard she scored 18 points and set a career high with 12 rebounds to record her second career double-double. Through 12 games she has put up double figures in six contests and has led the team in scoring on five occasions.

Turnovers = Points
Tennessee scored a season-high 27 points off turnovers vs. Howard, and UT yielded a season-low seven points off its own turnovers.

LVFL News and Notes

On December 23rd, the gymnasium at brand new Findlay Elementary School in Kellie Harper‘s hometown of Sparta, Tennessee, was dedicated as “Kellie’s Court.” Harper was on hand for the ceremony at the school, which is directly across the street from the old Findlay Elementary School she attended as a child.

LVFL Cierra Burdick (2011-15) was announced on December 28th as the Player of the Decade on the Charlotte Observer’s All-Decade Team. 

LVFL and current member of the Connecticut Sun Shekinna Stricklen (2008-12) had her jersey retired on December 20th at Morrilton (Arkansas) High School.

Amber Gray, who played at Tennessee from 2008-10, will be inducted into the Buddy LaRosa High School Hall of Fame in Cincinnati in June 2020.

Tennessee Lady Vols Topics

UT ranks in the top 10 nationally in nine statistical categories, including No. 1 in defensive rebounds per game (35.1), rebound margin (16.3) and rebounds (627); No. 2 in field percentage defense (29.2) and rebounds per game (52.25); No. 3 in blocked shots (80) and blocked shots per game (6.7); No. 8 in offensive rebounds per game (17.2); and No. 10 in three-point field goal percentage defense (23.5). 

The Lady Vols are allowing opponents only 29.2 percent shooting from the field and have allowed only No. 1/1 Stanford (42.6) to shoot better than 36% this season. Seven opponents have failed to shoot 30 percent vs. Tennessee.

Tennessee has outworked 10 of 12 foes on the glass this season and has a +16.3 rebound margin that ranks No. 1 nationally through the game vs. Howard.

UT is pulling down 52.2 rebounds per contest while allowing 36.0. The Lady Vols’ per game total ranks No. 2 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC.

Tennessee’s bench is averaging 29.6 points per game, which is tied for second in the league with Mississippi State. Alabama is first at 34.7, while Missouri is sixth at 23.4.

Tennessee has shot for a higher percentage from the field in every game except for the Texas and Stanford match-ups, in which the Longhorns knocked down 36.2 to UT’s 30.6 percent and the Cardinal prevailed, 42.6 to 27.8. UT shoots 44.3 from the field for the season.

Tennessee has recorded 16 or more assists in every game but one this season (Stanford, 7) and has tallied 20 or more in three of the last four contests. 

The Big Orange women have won the opening tip in all 12 games, with Lou Brown leading the Lady Vols with three game-opening buckets for her team.

UT is 14 of 32 (43.8 percent) from the three-point arc over its last three games, knocking down a season-best 46.1 (6-13) vs. Portland State and connecting on eight of 19 (42.1) in the contest vs. Howard on Sunday.

Tennessee Lady Vols Trending

Junior Rennia Davis is averaging double figures in points (16.5 ppg.) for the third straight year. If she averages 10+ in 2019-20, she’d become the 24th Lady Vol to do so in three different seasons. It’s worth noting, only 12 players have averaged 10+ points four times while at UT.

Rennia Davis (16.9), sophomore Rae Burrell (11.5) and freshman Jordan Horston (10.8) are averaging double figures in points during Tennessee’s 10 victories. In the Lady Vols’ two losses, only Davis is scoring in double figures, averaging 14.5 ppg. Burrell and Horston averaged 7.0 and 6.0 ppg. in the setbacks.

Sophomore guard Jazmine Massengill is one of the nation’s best at taking care of the basketball, as confirmed by her assist-to-turnover ratio. She ranks No. 10 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC at 2.89 to 1. She has tallied 52 assists vs. 18 turnovers, including a career-high 10 dimes vs. Portland State. 

Freshman Jordan Horston had six assists vs. Howard, bringing her season per game average to 4.7 and her total to 56 through 12 games. She is No. 8 nationally among freshmen in assist average.

Horston has scored in double figures in three of the last four games, hitting 10 vs. Colorado State, nine vs. Stanford, 20 vs. Portland State and 14 vs. Howard.

Rae Burrell has scored in double figures six times this season coming off the bench, including 21 and 18 in her last two outings. She added 12 rebounds to her 18 points vs. Howard for her second career double-double.

UT’s freshmen are not shy about contributing. Jordan Horston leads the team in assists (56) and steals (20) and is second in three-pointers (15). Tamari Key is tops in blocks (23) and field goal percentage (.588) among starters, and Emily Saunders has the best field goal percentage (.684) among reserves.

Tamari Key is averaging 1.9 blocks per game, which ranks 54th nationally and No. 6 in the SEC. She is No. 8 nationally among freshmen and No. 2 in the league behind South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston. 


About the Missouri Tigers

Missouri was picked by the media and the SEC coaches to finish ninth in their preseason polls. 

The Tigers returned two starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished 24-11 overall and 10-6 in the SEC to tie for fourth place.

Mizzou is led by Robin Pingeton, who is 174-129 in her 10th season at the school and 509-286 in her 25th year as a head coach.

Senior guard Amber Smith (13.5 ppg.), freshman forward Hayley Frank (12.5 ppg.) and freshman guard Aijha Blackwell (11.6 ppg.) lead the attack.  

Recapping Missouri’s Last Game

Missouri (3-10, 0-0 SEC) was defeated by Illinois (9-2, 0-0 Big Ten), 58-51, in a Braggin’ Rights contest on December 20th in Columbia. The loss marked the end of non-conference play for the Tigers.

MU entered the final stanza down nine and was able to shave only two points off that deficit before falling by seven.

Freshman guard Aijha Blackwell led Mizzou, matching a career best with 21 points by hitting 7-of-15 shots from the field.

The Tigers had no other players scoring in double figures, as they shot 37.5 percent from the field and committed 21 turnovers.

Blackwell and Hannah Schuchts led MU with eight rebounds apiece.


Last Time UT Lady Vols Met Mizzou

Tennessee earned a hard-fought victory over Missouri on February 17th, 2019, coming from four points down in the final stanza to claim a 62-60 triumph in front of a crowd of 8,559 in Mizzou Arena.

Sophomore forward Rennia Davis logged her 17th career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds for UT (17-8, 6-6 SEC). 

MU (19-8, 8-5 SEC) was led by Amber Smith with 14 points and five rebounds. Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter were close behind with 13 apiece.


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