#23/#24 Tennessee (8-2 | 2-1 SEC) at Alabama (11-1 | 4-1 SEC)
Sunday, January 17th, 2021 | 2:02pm CT (3:02pm ET)
Tuscaloosa, AL | Coleman Coliseum
Knoxville, TN – On Sunday, January 17th, 2021, #23/24 Tennessee women’s basketball (8-2, 2-1 SEC) faces team number two in a challenging three-game stretch, traveling to Tuscaloosa to play RV/NR Alabama (11-1/4-1 SEC). The Lady Vols and Crimson Tide will meet for the 58th time in the series at 2:00pm CT (3:00pm ET) at Coleman Coliseum.
UT saw a six-game victory string snapped in Knoxville on Thursday night, as Georgia overcame a 17-point deficit and held off a furious Big Orange comeback attempt to escape with a 67-66 victory. It marked Georgia’s first win at Thompson-Boling Arena since 1996.
UT’s only other setback is an overtime road loss to West Virginia (8-2), which is receiving votes in both polls and thundered past (then) No. 17/17 Texas last week by a 92-58 count.
The Big Orange women have victories over two top-15 teams, including (then) No. 15/15 Indiana in Bloomington (66-58) on December 17th and (then) No. 13/13 Arkansas (88-73) in Knoxville on January 7th.
Bama, meanwhile, is off to an impressive 11-1/4-1 start this season, winning its last three games after taking down No. 14/14 Mississippi State in Starkville on Thursday night. In addition to the triumph over Mississippi State, UA has a notable win over Oklahoma State and SEC “Ws” over LSU, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. The Tide’s only loss came at home vs. (then) No. 2 South Carolina, 77-60, on January 4th.
In the current SEC standings, Alabama sits in second place, while Tennessee is fifth. The teams are two of only five league programs with only one loss or fewer. The others are South Carolina (4-0), Georgia (3-1), and Texas A&M (3-1).
Sunday’s game will be streamed live by SECN+ with Eli Gold (PxP) and former Alabama head coach Rick Moody (analyst) on the call.
Institutions also can produce for SEC Network+ (SECN+) any conference and non-conference games that are not otherwise televised. Those are available on the ESPN app and SECSports.com.
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.
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.
We Back Pat Week Underway
January 14th-21st is officially We Back Pat Week in the Southeastern Conference. This marks the 10th anniversary of the initiative within the league and was established in conjunction with the Pat Summitt Foundation.
During the week, SEC member institutions will offer support to the Foundation during each of their 18 women’s basketball home games in 14 cities through a variety of efforts that include promotional public address announcements and video endorsements.
Tennessee’s official We Back Pat home game is on January 21st vs. UConn at 6:00pm CT.
UT also will support the cause at home vs. Georgia on January 14th, on the road at Alabama on January 17th, and at Vanderbilt on January 24th.
January 14th-21st, fashion accessories brand Kendra Scott (which has a store in Knoxville) is donating 20 percent of proceeds from online and select store sales of its Elisa Gold Short Pendant Necklace in Amethyst to benefit The Pat Summitt Foundation.
The Pat Summitt Foundation, a fund of East Tennessee Foundation, was established by Pat and Tyler Summitt in November 2011. Its mission is to award grants to nonprofit organizations that advance research for treatment and a cure, provide care and support for patients and caregivers, and educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease.
NCAA Net Rankjings and More
Tennessee women’s basketball was ranked No. 28 in the NCAA’s first NET Rankings ever on January 4th and stands at No. 25 as of January 15th. The rating tool replaces the previous RPI formula that was used for helping determine NCAA Tournament invitations and seeding.
The Tennessee Lady Vols have victories over NET No. 10 Indiana and No. 23 Arkansas, and their losses are to No. 16 Georgia and No. 22 West Virginia. UT has yet to face top-30 NET foes in No. 2 UConn, No. 3 South Carolina, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 17 Texas A&M, No. 16 Georgia (in Athens), No. 20 Alabama, and No. 28 Mississippi State.
In addition to the NET Rankings, the Lady Vols stand at No. 19 in this week’s Women’sHoopsWorld poll and No. 22 in the World Exposure Report poll. UT made its debut in the top 25 of both the AP and USA TODAY polls on January 11th and 12th, respectively, at No. 23 and No. 24.
Tennessee checks in this week at No. 31 overall and fifth in the SEC on the NCAA’s Strength of Schedule list. That’s even after the Lady Vols were unable to play originally-scheduled games vs. Texas, Stanford, and others due to COVID-19 Coronavirus.
About the Tennessee Lady Vols
UT is led in scoring by junior guard/forward Rae Burrell, who is putting up 16.7 ppg. and shooting 48 percent from the field, 43.2 percent on threes, and 82.8 percent from the free-throw line. She averaged 10.5 ppg. and shot 41, 33, and 60 percent, respectively, a year ago in those categories.
Burrell matched her career-high in points with 26 vs. No. 13/13 Arkansas last Thursday night and, combined with a team-leading 18 in the win over LSU on Sunday, averaged 22.0 ppg. last week, shooting 58.6 percent from the field, 50.0 on threes (5-10), and 83.3 from the charity stripe.
Senior Rennia Davis, who is on all of the preseason awards watch lists (Wade, Wooden, Naismith, Cheryl Miller), the Wooden Midseason List, and a projected All-SEC First Team pick by the coaches and players, is second in scoring (13.5 ppg.) and is first on the team in boards at 8.1 rpg.
The senior has posted double-doubles in three of her last six contests, including 19 points and 15 rebounds vs. No. 15/15 Indiana, 19/11 vs. Lipscomb, and 26/11 vs. No. 13/13 Arkansas.
The double-double vs. Arkansas was the 33rd of Davis’ career, moving her past Tamika Catchings into sole possession of sixth place on UT’s career list.
Davis has climbed to 20th on UT’s all-time scoring list with 1,535 points and tied for 17th on the rebounding list with Pashen Thompson at 816 rebounds.
Burrell (17.0 ppg.) and Davis (16.3 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) lead Tennessee statistically is conference games.
Sophomore Jordan Horston, an SEC All-Freshman performer a year ago is third on the team in scoring at 9.1 ppg. and is first in assists average (3.7) and steals average (2.0). She has started the past six games after coming off the bench the first four, tallying 11 points each in UT’s first three SEC contests.
Horston’s numbers in SEC play this season include 11.0 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 3.3 apg. and 2.0 spg. She is shooting 43 percent from the field and 85.7 at the line.
Freshman guard/forward Marta Suárez, joining Burrell and Davis as UT’s only starters in every game this season, is second on the Lady Vols in rebound average (6.2) and is sixth in scoring at 6.2 ppg.
Sophomore Tamari Key (9.3 ppg.) and senior Kasiyahna Kushkituah (8.7) have become UT’s fourth and fifth-leading scorers in SEC play this season. Kushkituah is the team’s second-leading rebounder (6.7).
UT is shooting 50.6 percent from the field in three SEC games, with Tamari Key knocking down shots at a 76.5 clip (13-17).
Recapping Tennessee’s Last Game
Despite shooting a solid 49 percent from the floor, No. 23/24 Tennessee women’s basketball dropped its first SEC contest on Thursday evening, falling 67-66 to Georgia in Thompson-Boling Arena.
The UT Lady Vols led by as many as 17, but the Lady Bulldogs exploded for 29 points in the third quarter, claiming a lead they never relinquished.
Gabby Connally and Que Morrison were the top scorers for UGA (11-1, 3-1 SEC) with 17 each, and Mikayla Coombs chipped in 11.
Tennessee-Alabama Series Notes
The Tennessee Lady Vols hold a 50-7 all-time record vs. Alabama, dating back to January 22nd, 1977, but Tennessee ended a five-game Crimson Tide winning streak last season in Knoxville.
Against the Crimson Tide, the Lady Vols are 23-1 in games played in Knoxville, 18-3 in Tuscaloosa, and 9-3 at neutral sites, with Bama taking the last three vs. UT on its home court.
Alabama has held Tennessee to 65 points or fewer in the last six meetings, including 64, 63, 65, and 65 the past four games, respectively.
UT is 16-2 vs. Alabama in Coleman Coliseum, losing for the first time there on February 16th, 2017, 65-57.
From 2011-16, the Crimson Tide women played in Foster Auditorium, where UT was 2-1, including a 54-46 loss on February 25th, 2016.
The 2016 loss ended a 42-game UT win streak.
Prior to that victory, the last Alabama win was on March 3, 1984, at the SEC Tournament in Athens, GA, by a score of 85-66.
The other came at the 1981 SEC Tournament, as the Tide knocked off #10-ranked Tennessee, 77-71, on January 30th.
Kellie Harper is 2-2 vs. Alabama as a head coach, forging a 1-1 mark vs. the Tide while at NC State, a 0-1 record as Missouri State’s coach, and a 1-0 edge at Tennessee. Missouri State lost at Tuscaloosa, 65-61, on Dec. 19, 2017, in Harper’s last visit to the UA campus.
Harper (then Kellie Jolly) was 7-0 vs. Alabama as a player at Tennessee.
Alabama director of operations Brian Johnson is a 2016 Tennessee graduate who served as a manager on the Lady Vol staff for four seasons.
About the Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide is led by the outstanding senior trio of forward Jasmine Walker (20.0 ppg., 10.1 rpg.), guard Jordan Lewis (16.4 ppg.), and forward Ariyah Copeland (15.3 ppg).
Alabama is outscoring foes, 79.2 to 64.1 this season, and holding opponents to 39.7 shooting from the field. UA ranks No. 3 in three-point field goals made per game in SEC play at 7.6.
Alabama is led by head coach Kristy Curry, who is 127-109 in her eighth season in Tuscaloosa.
Recapping Alabama’s Last Game
All five of Alabama’s starters finished in double figures in an 86-78 victory over No. 14/14 Mississippi State on Thursday in Starkville.
Jordan Lewis led the way for Alabama with 22 points, half of which came from the free-throw line. Megan Abrams had a dominant fourth quarter, scoring 11 of her 18 points in the final frame, while Jasmine Walker added 17 for the Tide to go along with 10 rebounds. Hannah Barber chipped in 12 points and a game-high six assists, and Ariyah Copeland rounded out the group with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Alabama out-rebounded State, 44-34, capitalizing on second-chance points by a 21-10 edge.
Last Time Tennessee Lady Vols Played Alabama
Rennia Davis’ deep, step-back three-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining lifted No. 23/25 Tennessee Lady Vols past Alabama, 65-63, on January 20th, 2020, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The junior forward’s heroics helped the Lady Vols end a five-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide and provide Kellie Harper her 300th career victory as a head coach.
Freshman Jordan Horston led Tennessee (15-3, 5-1 SEC) in scoring with 19 points and eight rebounds. Davis also had another strong showing, connecting on seven of 11 shots from the field, including her only three-point attempt, to finish with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Jasmine Walker had a double-double for Alabama (11-7, 1-4 SEC), tallying 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Jordan Lewis led UT with 17 points.
In the last two minutes of the game, there were seven lead changes and two ties.
Next Up for Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball
Tennessee women’s basketball team returns home for the Revival Series match-up with No. 4/5 UConn (7-0/6-0 BIG EAST) on Thursday in Knoxville (6:00pm CT / ESPN).