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Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball hosts UConn, Wednesday

 

#25 Tennessee (9-2 | 3-1 SEC) vs. #3/#5 UConn (8-0 | 7-0 BIG EAST)

Thursday, January 21st, 2021 | 6:04pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: ESPN2

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – The second installment of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Revival Series will take place on Thursday night, with #25/RV Tennessee women’s basketball (9-2, 3-1 SEC) playing host to No. 3/5 UConn (8-0/7-0 BIG EAST) at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Lady Vols and Huskies will meet for the 24th time in the all-time series and for the second straight season in a contest that tips at 6:04pm CT.

The Lady Vols come into the match-up having won seven of their last eight games after impressively handling RV/NR Alabama (11-2/4-2 SEC), 82-56, on Sunday.

Tennessee Women's Basketball takes on UConn at Thompson-Boling Arena, Wednesday. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee Women’s Basketball takes on UConn at Thompson-Boling Arena, Wednesday. (UT Athletics)

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.

UT’s only setbacks are against No. 22/23 Georgia (12-1) by a 67-66 count last week, and 79-73 in overtime on December 6th at West Virginia (10-2), which is receiving votes in both polls and thundered past (then) No. 17/17 Texas last week by a 92-58 score.

UConn, meanwhile, has competed only twice since December 30th due to COVID-19 Coronavirus playing havoc with its schedule, defeating Providence, 87-50, on January 9th, and Butler on Tuesday night, 103-35. The Huskies’ best win to date is a 72-52 blowout of No. 18/20 DePaul on December 29th. Their January 7th contest at (then) #6/6 Baylor was canceled.

Thursday night’s match-up marks the first in a four-game stretch of home contests for Tennessee.

Thursday’s game will be televised by ESPN2 with Ryan Ruocco (PxP), Rebecca Lobo (analyst), and Holly Rowe (reporter) on the call.

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.

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.

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.

Tickets Available At ALLVOLS.COM

Single game tickets are on sale, starting at just $5.00. Go to AllVols.com to purchase. 

We Back Pat Week Underway

January 14th-21st is officially We Back Pat Week. 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 supported the cause at home vs. Georgia on January 14th and on the road at Alabama on January 17th.

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 Rankings and More

Tennessee was ranked No. 28 in the NCAA’s first NET Rankings ever on January 4th and stands at No. 19 as of January 19th. The rating tool replaces the previous RPI formula that was used for helping determine NCAA Tournament invitations and seeding.

The Lady Vols have victories over NET No. 8 Indiana, No. 26 Arkansas, and No. 27 Alabama, and their losses are to No. 13 Georgia and No. 24 West Virginia. UT will face top-30 NET foes in No. 2 UConn, No. 3 South Carolina, No. 13 Georgia (in Athens), No. 14 Kentucky (twice), No. 16 Texas A&M (possibly twice), and No. 35 Mississippi State in the coming weeks.

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. UT is No. 25 and also receiving votes in those polls this week.

Tennessee checks in this week at No. 17 overall and fifth in the SEC on the NCAA’s Strength of Schedule list. That’s even after the UT Lady Vols were unable to play originally-scheduled games this season vs. Texas, Stanford, and others due to COVID-19 Coronavirus.

About the Tennessee Lady Vols

Just a quick reminder that the UT Lady Vols start a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and senior. They have played together as a quintet for seven total games, with Key and Horston being inserted into the starting lineup for the contest at Indiana. The group has demonstrated improvement with each game.

Over the past five games, UT has four players averaging double figures in points, including Rennia Davis (17.8 ppg./9.0 rpg.), Rae Burrell (15.6), Jordan Horston (10.8), and Tamari Key (10.4).

UT is led in scoring by junior guard/forward Rae Burrell, who is putting up 16.7 ppg. and shooting 49 percent from the field, 43.5 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 is averaging 15.6 ppg. and shooting 51.6 percent over her last five games (including 17.0 ppg. and 50.9 pct. in SEC games) with a 26-point effort vs. Arkansas on Jan. 7.

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 (14.2 ppg.) and is first on the team in boards at 8.3 rpg. In SEC play, she is putting up 17.5 ppg. and 8.5 rpg. to lead UT in both categories.

Davis, who averaged 18.0 ppg. and 8.2 rpg. as a junior last season, had tough luck shooting and found herself in foul trouble in two of UT’s first four contests this season. A breakout game of 19 points and 15 rebounds vs. Indiana on December 17th, however, helped Davis get her mojo back and send her on her way.

The senior has posted double-doubles in four of her last seven contests, including 19 points and 15 rebounds vs. No. 15/15 Indiana, 19/11 vs. Lipscomb, 26/11 vs. No. 13/13 Arkansas and 21/10 at Alabama on Sunday.

The double-double vs. Alabama was her fifth of the season and the 34rd of Davis’ career, moving her one spot out of a tie for fifth on UT’s career list.

Davis has climbed to 20th on UT’s all-time scoring list with 1,556 points and is six shy of Cindy Noble (19th, 1,561), 16 away from Nikki McCray (18th, 1,572) and 24 behind Debbie Groover (17th, 1,580).

Sophomore Jordan Horston, an SEC All-Freshman performer a year ago is third on the team in scoring at 9.5 ppg. and is first in assists average (4.0) and steals average (2.8). She has started the past seven games after coming off the bench the first four, tallying double figures in UT’s past four games with season bests of 14 points and seven assists vs. Alabama.

Horston’s numbers in SEC play this season include 11.8 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 4.3 apg. and 1.5 spg. She is shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 85.7 at the line.

Sophomore Tamari Key (10.8 ppg./5.0 rpg. in SEC play) has begun to blossom this season, tallying increasingly higher season bests with the past three games (12/14/15). She is shooting 65.5 percent vs. league opponents.

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 (5.7) and is fifth in scoring at 6.1 ppg.

Reserve senior center Kasiyahna Kushkituah joins Suárez in averaging 6.1 ppg. and is third at 4.8 rpg, while redshirt junior back-up point guard Jordan Walker contributes 5.8 ppg., 3.2 rpg. and 2.3 apg.

 


UT-UConn Series Notes

UConn leads the all-time series, 14-9.

Tennessee has won three of the last four games (Won: 2005, 2006, 2007; Lost: 2020) between these programs. It did so as the higher-ranked team each time it won.

The Lady Vols claimed victory the last time the game was held in Knoxville on January 7th, 2006, by a score of 89-80.

UT is 7-9 vs. the Huskies during regular-season encounters and 2-5 during the postseason.

The UT Lady Vols are 4-5 on the road, 3-4 at home, and 2-5 at neutral sites vs. the Huskies.

The Tennessee Lady Vols are 2-4 in games played in Hartford and 2-1 in contests held on campus in Storrs.

Tennessee’s Pat Summitt won eight NCAA titles and UConn’s Geno Auriemma has claimed 11, making them the most successful coaches in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Tennessee won NCAA titles in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2008.

UConn won NCAA crowns in 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

Kellie Harper is 0-1 vs. UConn as a head coach, but she was 4-1 vs. the Huskies in games she played as a Lady Vol.

Those scores as a player were 53-59 in Knoxville on Jan. 6, 1996; 88-83 in Charlotte (OT/NCAA FF Semis) on March 29, 1996; 91-81 in Iowa City on March 24, 1997 (MW Reg. Final); 84-69 in Knoxville on January 3rd, 1998; and 92-81 in Storrs on Jan. 10, 1999.

Harper (then Jolly) had 19 points and three assists vs. the Huskies in the 1997 Midwest Regional Final in Iowa City.

UConn’s Evina Westbrook played two seasons at Tennessee before making the move to Storrs two summers ago.

About the UConn Huskies

UConn features four players scoring in double figures, led by freshman guard Paige Bueckers at 18.1 ppg. Olivia Nelson-Ododa (16.5), Christyn Williams (14.9), and Evina Westbrook (10.5) also produce an average of 10 or more points per contest, with Aaliyah Edwards at 9.9 ppg.

The Huskies are led by 36th-year head coach Geno Auriemma, who is 1,099 and 142 in his career with 11 NCAA titles to his credit. The win over Butler moved him past Pat Summitt into second on the all-time NCAA Division I women’s basketball victory list behind Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer.

Recapping UConn’s Last Game

Olivia Nelson-Ododa led five Huskies in double figures, as UConn pounded Butler, 103-35, on Tuesday night at Gampel Pavilion.

Christyn Williams and Aubrey Griffin chipped in 17 each, while Evina Westbrook and Paige Bueckers added 14 and 13, respectively, as UConn hit 61.5 percent from the field, including 45.5 (10-22) from three-point range. Griffin added 10 boards for a double-double.

Butler could manage only five points in the second and fourth quarters, with two players (Okako Adika, 18, and Genesis Parker, 15) combining for 33 of the team’s 35 points for the contest.

Last Time Tennessee Played UConn

No. 23/23 Tennessee took a 31-28 lead into halftime but couldn’t hang on, falling to No. 3/5 UConn, 60-45, in front of a crowd of 13,659 at the XL Center on January 23rd, 2020.

Junior Rennia Davis paced Tennessee (15-4, 5-1 SEC) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Rae Burrell had nine points and six boards.

UConn (17-1, 7-0 ACC) was led by Crystal Dangerfield with 14 and Aubrey Griffin with 13.

 


Last Time in Knoxville

The Tennessee Lady Vols put four players in double figures, led by 21 points from Sidney Spencer, to defeat No. 7 UConn in Knoxville, 89-80, on January 7th, 2006, the last time these programs met on Rocky Top.

Candace Parker and Shanna Zolman tossed in 13 each, and Alexis Hornbuckle was a dime shy of a triple-double with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists.

Zolman made 10 of 10 free-throw attempts, helping UT score 32 points (in 41 tries) at the charity stripe with 22,415 fans looking on.

Next Up for UT Women’s Basketball

The Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team expected to be on the road at Vanderbilt on Sunday, but the Commodores have ended their season due to COVID-19 and other reasons. Therefore, the Lady Vols have rescheduled a home game with Kentucky that was postponed on January 3rd. UT and UK will meet in Knoxville at 1:00pm CT on Sunday in a contest carried by ESPN2.


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