Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball heads to West Virginia to take on Mountaineers

Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball faces West Virginia Mountaineers in SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Sunday. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee (2-0) at West Virginia (3-0)

Sunday, December 6th, 2020 | 1:01pm CT
Morgantown, WV | WVU Coliseum

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – #RV/RV Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball team (2-0) hits the road for the first time during the 2020-21 campaign, as the Lady Vols make their way to Morgantown to face the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0) in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge at 1:00pm CT on Sunday, December 6th, 2020 at 14,000-seat WVU Coliseum.

The venue will be eerily quiet, however, as WVU, state and local officials are prohibiting spectators from attending indoor athletic events for the entire month of December due to recent spikes in positive cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus. Only essential game operations personnel and families of players and staff will be admitted.

Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball faces West Virginia Mountaineers in SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Sunday. (UT Athletics)

UT opened the campaign with back-to-back home victories over Western Kentucky (87-47) on November 28th and East Tennessee State (67-50) on December 2nd WVU, meanwhile, went 3-0 by defeating Fresno State (83-62) and LSU (62-42) at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas on November 27th-28th before returning home to take care of North Alabama, 80-51, on Thursday evening.

This is Tennessee’s first trip to Morgantown since the Lady Vols claimed a 74-58 victory over West Virginia there on January 4th, 1986. 

It also marks UT’s first travel to the state of West Virginia since it met WVU in Charleston on November 21st, 2007. Tennessee won that meeting, 67-49, in a game scheduled as a homecoming for South Charleston High School grad and Lady Vol Alexis Hornbuckle.

This meeting will provide a return home for UT sophomore Emily Saunders, who hails from Mullens, West Virginia, and starred at Wyoming East High School.

Sunday’s game will be live streamed by Big 12 Now/ESPN+ with Lanny Frattare (PxP), Meg Bulger (Analyst) and Angelica Trinone (sideline) on the call.

Bulger had seven points and seven rebounds the last time these teams played in 2007.

The contest also can be heard on Lady Vol Network radio stations and by audio stream, with Mickey Dearstone behind the microphone. Now calling the action for his 22nd season, Dearstone is joined by studio host Bobby Rader. 

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.


About the Tennessee Lady Vols

UT enters game three with 11 players averaging better than 12 minutes of duty per game, thanks to a pair of comfortable wins over Western Kentucky and East Tennessee State.

Senior Rennia Davis is on all the preseason watch lists and a projected All-SEC First Team pick by the coaches and players, but it has been junior Rae Burrell who has put up big numbers in the first two games.

Burrell has paced UT in scoring in both contests, hitting for 18 vs. Western Kentucky and 20 vs. ETSU to carry a 19.0 ppg. average into Sunday’s game. She is hitting 50 percent from the field.

Davis is second in scoring (12.5 ppg.) and leads UT in rebounding at 7.5 rpg. She is connecting on 53 percent of her field goal attempts.

Three newcomers have held down starting spots the first two games: freshman Marta Suárez and graduate transfers Jordan Walker and Keyen Green

UT is surrendering only 48.5 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot only 28.8 percent from the field. Those rank 15th and 17th nationally.

Tennessee is out-rebounding foes 50.0 to 31.5 for a margin of +18.5. that margin is 11th in the NCAA.

The UT Lady Vols are averaging 14.5 steals per game thus far after putting up only 5.5 a year ago, ranking No. 8 nationally.


UT Adds Game vs. Furman on December 10th

 UT announced on Friday that it is adding a home game vs. Furman at 6:00pm CT on December 10th.

The game will be streamed live on SECN+.

Last Time We Played

The Tennessee Lady Vols held off a scrappy ETSU team on Tuesday night, taking a 67-50 victory at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.  

Tennessee (2-0) was led in scoring by Rae Burrell, who finished with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Rennia Davis and Jordan Horston were also in double figures with 15 and 12, respectively. 

Jakhyia Davis was the high scorer for the Buccaneers (1-1), finishing with 11 points and six rebounds.

About the West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers returned four starters and seven letterwinners from last season’s squad that went 17-12 overall and 7-11 in league play to finish sixth in the Big 12 Conference.

Kysre Gondrezick, a 5-foot-9 redshirt senior guard  leads WVU, averaging 21.7 ppg and hitting 59 percent from three-point range (9-16). 

Sophomore Esmery Martinez puts up a double-double average of 12.0 ppg. and 15.3 rpg.

Kirsten Deans, a 5-8 sophomore guard is the third Mountaineer in double figures at 10.7 ppg. She shoots 90 percent from the free throw line. 

WVU is led by head coach Mike Carey, who is in his 20th season at the helm in Morgantown and 33rd year as a head coach. He is 413-217 leading the Mountaineers and 701-319 overall. 

Associate head coach Bett Shelby spent the 2001-02 season at Tennessee as a manager for the basketball program. 

Recapping Mountaineers’ Last Game

Led by a double-double from sophomore forward Esmery Martinez, West Virginia began its home slate with an 80-51 victory over North Alabama, on Thursday night in Morgantown.

With her second double-double of the season, Martinez posted 17 points and grabbed 22 rebounds to become the first Mountaineer to record 15-plus points and 20-plus rebounds in a game since Donna Abbott did so against Rhode Island on February 15th, 1992.

Redshirt senior guard Kysre Gondrezick paced WVU’s scoring efforts with 20 points, while junior guard Madisen Smith also dished out eight assists in the contest.

Last Time UT and WVU Met

The Tennessee Lady Vols and West Virginia Mountaineers last met on November 21st, 2007, playing in West Virginia at the Charleston Civic Center as a homecoming game for UT’s Alexis Hornbuckle, a graduate of South Charleston High School. 

Candace Parker was sensational that evening, posting a 29-point, 13-rebound double-double on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 accuracy from the free throw line. She also added three blocks, an assist and a steal.

Hornbuckle was UT’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, tallying 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals vs. WVU.


UT/WVU Series History

Tennessee leads the all-time series with the Mountaineers, 6-0.

UT is 3-0 at home in the series and 3-0 in the state of West Virginia in those match-ups.

The Big Orange are 9-0 vs. all schools from West Virginia, standing 3-0 vs. Marshall in three meetings taking place in Knoxville. 

There have been four players from the Mountain State on UT’s roster through the years: Mary Ostrowski (Parkersburg) from 1980-84, Amy Gamble (Glendale) in 1983-84, Alexis Hornbuckle (Charleston) from 2004-08 and Emily Saunders (Mullens) from 2019-present. 

The Lady Vols won in Parkerburg in a Mary Ostrowski homecoming game in 1983, in Morgantown in 1986 and in Charleston in an Alexis Hornbuckle homecoming game in 2007. 

This season marks a return home for Saunders, who played at Wyoming East High School in New Richmond. Saunders led Wyoming East to three Class AA state championship game appearances, winning a title in 2016 and finishing second in 2018 and 2019.

The last time these teams met, on November 21st, 2007, Tennessee was ranked No. 1 and WVU was rated No. 15/17. The Lady Vols prevailed, 67-49, and went on to win the 2008 NCAA Championship in Tampa that season.

Like the last meeting between these programs, both teams enter this game undefeated. Both schools entered 3-0 back in 2007, while this season sees WVU come in at 3-0 and UT at 2-0.

UT’s record against schools currently in the Big 12 Conference stands at 58-23.

Next Up for UT Lady Vols

The Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball team are in the midst of a scheduled two-game run of Big 12 opponents. They’ll play at Texas next Sunday at 4:00pm CT/5:00pm ET in a contest slated for ESPN.