Tennessee (21-9 | 10-6 SEC) vs. Kentucky (21-7 | 10-6 SEC)
Friday, March 6th, 2020 | 7:30pm CT
Greenville, SC | Bon Secours Wellness Arena | TV: SEC Network
Greenville, SC – #RV/NR Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team (21-9, 10-6 SEC), the No. 6 seed, will meet No. 3 seed and #16/18 Kentucky (21-7, 10-6 SEC) on Friday at approximately 7:15pm CT in the third round of the 2020 SEC Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
The Lady Vols advanced to the third round by coming from 13 down to defeat No. 11 seed Missouri, 64-51, on Thursday night. UT now has won four straight games. The Lady Vols have come from behind 14 times in the 22 games they’ve trailed this season, and the 13-point deficit was the biggest they’ve erased to win this year and biggest since flipping the script on a 20-point, third-quarter hole vs. Stetson last year.
As a top-four seed, UK received a double bye and is making its first appearance in Greenville in 2020.
The Wildcats have lost two of their past three contests and have gone only 6-5 in their last 11 games.
This will mark the second meeting this season between UT and UK. The Lady Vols dropped an 80-76 decision in Lexington on Jan. 5 in a game where a young UT team got its first look at a highly-athletic and defensively-aggressive team in the Wildcats. Tennessee owns a 55-13 advantage over Kentucky, but the Cats have won the past two and three of the past five.
The winner of Friday night’s contest advances to the semifinal round to meet the winner between Mississippi State and LSU at approximately 6:15pm CT on Saturday.
Friday’s game will be televised by the SEC Network with Courtney Lyle (PxP), Carolyn Peck (Analyst) and LVFL Andraya Carter (Reporter) on the call.
The SEC Network studio crew includes Alyssa Lang, Andy Landers and Steffi Sorensen.
SEC Radio Network will broadcast every game from the SEC Tournament on SiriusXM 374 as well as on Sirus 138/XM 190 and on Sirius/XM app. channel 961.
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 and Bobby Rader serving as the studio host.
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.
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.
Tennessee In The SEC Tournament
Tennessee Lady Vols basketball enters Friday night’s game with an 80-23 (.796) all-time record in the 41st year of the SEC Tournament.
The Lady Vols improved to 36-5 all-time in their opening game of the SEC Tournament and are 26-9 in their second contest of the tourney.
UT was a No. 8 seed a year ago and is playing as a No. 6 seed for the first time.
No. 6 is the Big Orange’s highest seeding since entering as a No. 5 in 2017 at Greenville.
Tennessee is seeking to capture its league-leading 18th SEC championship trophy. UT was victorious in 1980, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
The Tennessee Lady Vols were runners-up on six occasions, including 1982, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2003 and 2015.
UT has advanced to the title game in two of the past six seasons, winning in 2014 as a #2 seed, 71-70, over #4 Kentucky and falling as a #2 seed to #1 South Carolina, 62-46, in 2015.
The Big Orange women are 25-7 in SEC Tournament play since 2007-08.
Tennessee Lady Vols have had 15 SEC Tournament MVPs through the years, with a Lady Vol winning four of the last nine awards.
Isabelle Harrison (2014), Glory Johnson (2012), Shekinna Stricklen (2011) and Alyssia Brewer (2010) were the past four MVPs from Tennessee.
The Lady Vols won the very first SEC Tournament title in 1980, defeating Ole Miss, 85-71, at Stokely Athletics Center in Knoxville.
UT/UK Family Ties
Kellie Harper (1995-99) was teammates at UT with UK associate head coach Kyra Elzy (1996-2001) and assistant Niya Butts (1996-2000). The trio played on the second and third of UT’s three-straight NCAA titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Elzy served a tenure on UT’s staff that included roles as assistant coach and associate head coach from 2012-16.
Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell was a grad. asst. at UT in 1999-2000.
UK assistant Amber Smith was a G.A. at Tennessee in 2013-14.
Back In Greenville
This marks the fourth time Greenville has played host to the SEC Tournament.
UT stands at 5-2 in games played in the city after beating Mizzou in Thursday’s second round.
No. 2 seed Tennessee defeated #1 seed LSU in the tourney title game, 67-56, on March 6, 2005, the first time the event was held here.
Shyra Ely was named the SEC Tournament MVP that year, while Shanna Zolman and Brittany Jackson joined her on the all-tournament team.
UT beat Auburn in the second round (64-54) and Vanderbilt in the semifinals (76-73) that year.
Candace Parker Is UT’s SEC Legend
Two-time NCAA champion Candace Parker, UT’s all-time No. 3 scorer (2,137 pts.) and No. 8 rebounder (972 rebounds), is being honored as the Lady Vols’ SEC Legend at this week’s SEC Tournament.
The 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalist is a WNBA star for the Los Angeles Sparks.
She also is a TV commentator for NBA on TNT, NBA TV and NCAA Tournament coverage by Turner Sports and CBS Sports.
Big Orange Tailgate Tour
Join the Big Orange Tailgate Tour, March 5th-8th, in Greenville, SC, for food, fun and Rocky Top at the SEC women’s basketball tournament.
The official UT Alumni and Lady Vol fan tournament headquarters is the Carolina Ale House, located at 113 S. Main Street in Greenville. It’s a short walk to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
The following Big Orange Tailgates will be held ONLY if the Lady Vols advance to that day’s tournament play.
- Friday, March 6th | Tailgate: 3:00pm – 5:00pm CT | Game: (approx) 7:30pm CT vs. Kentucky
- Saturday, March 7th (semifinals) | Tailgate: 2:00 – 4:00pm CT | Game: (approx) 6:30pm CT
- Sunday, March 8th (championship) | Tailgate: 10:00am – 12:00pm CT | Game: 1:00pm CT
The Road Leading Up To This
Tennessee has won its last four contests, defeating Vanderbilt (67-63) and Ole Miss (77-66) in back-to-back home games, closing out the regular season at Auburn (56-55) and toppling Missouri, in the SEC Second Round, 64-51, to rise to 21-9 overall, 10-6 SEC.
Despite its substantial personnel losses from a year ago, UT has managed to improve upon its 19-13/7-9 outcome of 2018-19.
The past four wins have been critical bounce-back contests after UT dropped five straight during a brutal stretch that included No. 1 South Carolina, No. 8 Mississippi State, LSU (receiving votes), No. 16 Texas A&M and No. 22 Arkansas in succession.
UT had won six straight SEC contests and stood at 7-1 before dropping those five consecutive contests.
Tennessee’s Rennia Davis is averaging 18.2 ppg. in all games, shooting 47.4 percent (204-430) from the field and 80.4 (86-107) percent at the charity stripe.
Burrell has scored 12 or more points in six of eight games since earning her first start vs. Mississippi State.
In three of her last four games, Jordan Horston has committed two or fewer turnovers. In those contests, UT has committed 14, 12 and 10 as a team.
Recapping Tennessee Lady Vols Last Game
No. 6 seed Tennessee overcame a 13-point second-quarter deficit and ended up winning by 13, in a 64-51 victory over 11th-seeded Missouri in the second round of the SEC Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Thursday night. The Lady Vols advance to play No. 3 seed Kentucky (21-7) at 8:15 p.m. on Friday in the SEC Third Round.
Missouri (9-22) was led by Aijha Blackwell with 13 and Hannah Schuchts with 11.
Notes From Missouri Game
Rae Can Play
Sophomore Rae Burrell, who scored just two points in the first half against the Tigers, put up a 9-0 run all on her own in the third quarter, fueling a 16-0 spree that moved UT from being down five midway through the period to leading by 10 points a minute into the fourth. She finished the day with a game-high 16 points, marking the fourth time in eight career starts she’s led Tennessee in scoring.
Kasi Stepping Up
Junior Kasiyahna Kushkituah poured in 13 points against Missouri, finding her way into double digits for the first time since her 13-point performance against Air Force on Dec. 1, 2019. Prior to this game her highest point total this season in an SEC contest was eight against Ole Miss on Jan. 9.
Tennessee overcame a 13-point deficit against Mizzou to win by 13 points. It’s the largest comeback UT has made since bouncing back to win after being down 20 points in the third quarter against Stetson on December 5th, 2018.
Keeping Shooters Quiet
Tennessee ranks fifth in the country in field goal percentage defense. While the Tigers shot 48 percent from the floor in the first half (12 of 25), UT held them to just 13.3 percent in the second half (4 of 30), putting Mizzou’s field goal percentage for the game at 29.1. It is the 10th time the Lady Vols have held a team below a 30 percent field goal percentage this season. Only four teams have shot better than 40 percent against Tennessee this season, one of which was Missouri which shot 40.4 percent the first time the two teams met.
Turnovers In Check
The Lady Vols turned the ball over just 10 times against Missouri (including once in the second half), making it their best outing of the season. Their previous best was 11 turnovers against Stanford, and their lowest total against an SEC opponent was 12 twice vs. Ole Miss and at LSU.
Tenenssee-Kentucky Series Notes
This marks the 69th edition of UT vs. UK, with the Lady Vols leading the series, 55-13.
UT has faced only two other teams as many times as the Wildcats – Vanderbilt in 84 meetings and Georgia in 69 games.
Tennessee is 21-9 vs. UK in Lexington and 10-0 at neutral sites. The Lady Vols are 9-0 in postseason games.
The Lady Vols are 20-7 all-time at Memorial Coliseum and 1-2 in Rupp Arena.
The Big Orange women own a 24-4 mark against UK in games played in Knoxville, with the Wildcats winning on Rocky Top in 1983, 1985, 2014 and 2019.
UT is 3-1 in overtime games vs. Kentucky, including 3-0 in Lexington and 0-1 in Knoxville, with the last OT contest in the series coming in 1994.
Since Feb. 16, 2014, a four-point Tennessee win in Knoxville, six of the past 10 meetings have been decided by four or fewer points.
UT’s Rennia Davis showed out with 27 points on 60-percent shooting in the meeting earlier this season, but Rhyne Howard’s 37 points pushed UK to the four-point win on January 5th.
About the Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky was picked by the media and the SEC coaches to finish fourth in their preseason polls.
The Wildcats returned three starters, including consensus national freshman of the year Rhyne Howard, plus eight other players.
UK was 25-8 a year ago, finishing fourth in the SEC with an 11-5 mark.
SEC Player of the Year sophomore Rhyne Howard (21.3 ppg.) and transfers Chasity Patterson (11.4 ppg.) and Sabrina Haines (10.0 ppg.) pace the Big Blue attack. Patterson (SEC 6th Woman of Yr.) came from Texas and Haines from Arizona State.
Recapping Kentucky’s Last Game
Rhyne Howard scored 26 points, but the 15th-ranked Kentucky women’s team was upset by Vanderbilt 70-64 on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium.
Vanderbilt rallied in the final period, outscoring Kentucky 24-9 over the game’s final 10 minutes to turn a nine-point deficit into a six-point victory.
Kentucky (21-7, 10-6 SEC) hit just 20 of its 60 field goal attempts (33.3 percent) in the game, including just seven of 24 (29.2 percent) from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt connected on half of its shots (28 of 56), including one of three from behind the arc. The Commodores used their superior size to dominate points in the paint, 42-28.
Last Time Tennessee Lady Vols Played Kentucky Wildcats
Rennia Davis turned in a 27-point performance, but it wasn’t enough to pull off the upset bid over No. 13/13 Kentucky as the No. 22/23 Lady Vols fell in Memorial Gymnasium on January 5th, 2020, 80-76.
Also in double figures for Tennessee (11-3, 1-1 SEC) were sophomore Rae Burrell,who finished with 16 points and six rebounds, and freshman Jordan Horston, who posted 13 points and a career-high nine assists.
UK (12-2, 1-1 SEC) was led by Rhyne Howard with 37 points and nine rebounds, while Sabrina Haines added 11.
Most Recent Tournament Meetings
Tennessee and Kentucky last faced one another in the postseason during the 2015 SEC Tournament in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The Lady Vols grabbed a 75-64 victory in the semifinals.
The season before, UT captured its 17th all-time SEC Tournament title in Duluth, GA, edging the Wildcats, 71-70, in the championship game to hoist the trophy.
UT and UK also met for tourney titles in 2010 and 2011, with the Lady Vols taking a 70-62 decision in Duluth in 2010 and cruising to a 90-65 triumph in Nashville in 2011.