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#20/#21 Tennessee (14-6 | 8-4 SEC) va. Auburn (5-17 | 0-14 SEC)
Sunday, February 28th, 2021 | 1:02pm CT/2:02pm ET
Knoxville, TN – No. 20/21 Tennessee women’s basketball team (14-6, 8-4 SEC) and Auburn (5-17, 0-14 SEC) will meet at 1:02pm CT on Sunday in the regular season finale for both teams at Thompson-Boling Arena.
At stake for the UT Lady Vols is a third-place finish in the SEC standings.
A win would mean the Lady Vols would earn a No. 3 seed and face the winner of the No. 6/11 game on Friday evening around 7:00pm CT at the SEC Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC.
A No. 3 seed would be the highest for Tennessee since taking a No. 2 seed into the 2015 SEC Tourney in North Little Rock, AR, and advancing to the championship game. UT also tied for third in the regular season conference standings a year ago, but it drew the No. 6 seed by virtue of the league’s tiebreaker system.
A setback on Sunday would leave the Big Orange in limbo, with Kentucky and Georgia able to overtake UT in the standings with wins over Ole Miss and Florida, respectively. That could result in the Lady Vols falling to a No. 4 or 5 seed at the SEC Tourney.
The Lady Vols enter Sunday on the heels of a 78-73 come-from-behind victory over Missouri in Columbia on Thursday night, with Rennia Davis tallying 26 second-half points, including 20 in the fourth quarter, to send Tennessee home happy. Tennessee’s match-up with Missouri was its first on the road in its past three trips where the opposition hadn’t enjoyed an open date prior to the game.
UT’s win, combined with Kentucky’s defeat of Georgia on Thursday night, boosted the Lady Vols from fourth place to third in the standings, giving the Big Orange an assist of sorts from Kellie Harper‘s former Lady Vol teammate, UK head coach Kyra Elzy.
Auburn, meanwhile, is coming off a near miss at home vs. #16/16 Arkansas on Thursday night, with the Razorbacks coming from 10-down in the third period to prevail, 74-69, and keep the Tigers winless in SEC play at 0-14.
Sunday’s game will be televised by SEC Network, with Sam Gore (PxP) and former LVFL Tamika Catchings (Analyst) 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 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 $7.00. Go to AllVols.com to purchase.
Tennessee Lady Vol Status Update
Tennessee is vying for a top-four seeding in the SEC Tournament, which earns the all-important double bye.
If Kellie Harper‘s squad can pull that off, it would mark UT’s first Friday debut at the tournament since 2015, when the Lady Vols were seeded second and advanced to the finals before falling to South Carolina.
That’s not bad for a team picked to finish sixth in SEC preseason polls by both the coaches and media.
UT tied for third in the SEC standings a year ago but was relegated to the No. 6 seed by virtue of tie breakers.
The Lady Vols are in play for a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and helped their cause with an eight-point win over No. 2/3 South Carolina on February 18th.
Tennessee has posted four victories over ranked teams (No. 13/13 Arkansas, No. 15/15 Indiana, No. 12/12 Kentucky, No. 2/3 South Carolina), marking the most in a season since 2017-18 when it had seven.
UT also suffered setbacks to four squads ranked at the time it played them: No. 3/5 UConn (67-61), No. 20/18 Kentucky (71-56), No. 6/5 Texas A&M (80-70) and No. 22/23 Georgia (57-55), with Rennia Davis missing the UK game due to medical reasons.
Tennessee’s other two losses are to a pair of teams who are now ranked but weren’t at the time: No. 18/22 West Virginia (79-73 OT) and No. 17/18 Georgia (67-66).
Big Orange Slices
UT is paced in scoring in all games by junior guard Rae Burrell (17.3 ppg.) and senior forward Rennia Davis (16.5 ppg., 8.6 rpg.), with sophomore center Tamari Key chipping in 9.2 ppg. and 5.6 rpg., and sophomore point guard Jordan Horston adding 8.2 ppg. and 4.0 apg.
In SEC play, three Tennessee players are scoring in double figures, including Davis (19.7 ppg.), Burrell (17.6) and Key (11.1). Davis ranks No. 4 in the SEC, while Burrell is 12th.
Against ranked foes, Davis and Burrell are putting up 20.3 and 18.0 ppg., respectively.
Davis has seven double-doubles this season and 36 for her career, tying Glory Johnson for fourth all-time at Tennessee.
UT has had 20+ scorers in its last seven games, including Rennia Davis vs. Ole Miss (21), Tamari Key vs. Florida (23), Rae Burrell vs. Kentucky (22); Rennia Davis vs. Texas A&M (25), South Carolina (24) and Georgia (22); and Davis (26) and Burrell (23) vs. Missouri.
For the season, Davis has seven 20-point games, Burrell six and Key 1. Davis has 20 for her career now and is tied with Meighan Simmons for sixth all-time at Tennessee.
Davis stands 12th on UT’s all-time scoring list with 1,714 points and is 14th on the rebounding list with 898 boards.
In career free-throw percentage, Davis ranks No. 10 at UT with a percentage of .806.
Sophomore Tamari Key, who is one of the SEC’s top shot blockers along with Jenna Staiti (UGA) and Aliyah Boston (USC), averages 2.8 bpg. in all games to rank third and is tied for second in SEC contests at 3.3 bpg.
Key has broken into the Lady Vol career blocks top 10 as a sophomore and stands eighth with 142 in 50 career games for an average of 2.78 that ranks No. 1 in Tennessee history. Candace Parker is second (2.50).
Another sophomore, Jordan Horston, is fourth at Tennessee in career assists average at 4.41 apg. through 51 games.
Bouncing Back From Losses
After beating Missouri, the UT Lady Vols are now 4-1 in games following losses.
In those contests, UT’s has outscored foes 78.0 to 63.0, outshot them 48.3 to 37.6 and outrebounded them 45.0 to 27.8.
Tennessee also has an average of 14.6 turnovers in those games, which is 1.4 lower than the 16.0 season average.
Opponents following losses have been Furman, Alabama, #12/12 Kentucky, #6/5 Texas A&M and Missouri.
Rae Burrell averages 19.4 ppg. and shoots 59.7 overall and 60.9 on threes in those games.
Jordan Horston averages 5.6 assists and 2.2 turnovers in those contests.
What Have You Done For Me Lately
Rennia Davis has scored 20+ points in her last four games, averaging 24.3 ppg. and shooting 51 percent.
She had 25 points vs. #6/5 Texas A&M, 24 vs. #2/3 South Carolina (all them in the second half), 22 vs. #22/23 Georgia and 26 vs. Missouri (all of them in the second half/20 in the fourth quarter).
Davis was named SEC Player of the Week on Feb. 23 for averaging 23.0 ppg. and 9.0 rpg. last week in games vs. #2/3 South Carolina and No. 22/23 Georgia.
Kasiyahna Kushkituah is UT’s leading rebounder over the past five contests, averaging 9.2 rebounds per game. She has grabbed at least six rebounds in each of her last eight contests, including 10+ on three occasions.
Jordan Horston has 21 assists and eight turnovers over the past five games.
Tamari Key has blocked 19 shots over her last five games, averaging 3.8 per contest.
Recapping Tennessee’s Last Game
Senior Rennia Davis scored all 26 of her points in the second half, including 20 in the fourth-quarter, leading No. 20/21 Tennessee to a 78-73 win over Missouri at Mizzou Arena on Thursday night.
Missouri (8-10, 4-9 SEC) was led by Haley Troup and Aijha Blackwell with 16 points each. Shannon Dufficy and Shug Dickson were also in double figures with 10 points apiece.
The Lady Vols outrebounded Missouri 46-25. They have now outworked 19 of 20 opponents on the glass this season and have done so by an average of 45.9 rpg. to 32.8 rpg.
The only team they did not win the battle of the boards with was against No. 2/3 South Carolina, as the teams tied with 40 rebounds each.
Tennessee-Auburn Series Notes
Tennessee holds a 46-11 all-time record vs. Auburn, dating back to February 9th, 1980, and has won 30 of the past 33 games in the series.
The Lady Vols are 22-2 vs. the Tigers in games held in Knoxville, 15-5 in games played at Auburn and 9-4 at neutral sites.
UT has won in 15 of its last 17 trips to The Plains after getting a “W” there on March 1st, 2020.
UT is 2-0 vs. AU in overtime games, winning extra-frame contests in Knoxville vs. the Tigers in 1996 and 2004.
Tennessee has limited Auburn to 66 points or fewer 13 of the last 15 times they’ve met and to 61 or less on 10 of those occasions.
Tennessee and Auburn played for the 1989 NCAA Championship in Tacoma, Wash., with the Lady Vols prevailing, 76-60.
Tennessee also beat the Tigers in regional finals in 1987 and 1991 en route to NCAA Final Fours they would end up winning.
UT and AU four times played for SEC Tourney titles from 1985 to 1990, with the Lady Vols winning three of those (1985, 1988, 1989).
Chamique Holdsclaw scored a career-high 39 points vs. the Tigers on February 14th, 1998, marking the sixth-highest point total in Lady Vol history.
AU coach Terri Williams-Flournoy beat UT and Pat Summitt while coaching Georgetown on November 27th, 2010, 69-58, at the Paradise Jam tourney in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Kellie Harper is 2-2 all-time vs. Auburn, defeating the Tigers last season as UT’s coach and in 2012 while at NC State. She was 0-2 vs. AU (with Nell Fortner at the helm) while leading Western Carolina.
Harper is 2-1 vs. Terri Williams-Flournoy as a head coach, winning a year ago while at UT and doing so in 2012 while at NC State. Harper’s Wolfpack team fell to Coach Flo’s Georgetown team in Washington, D.C., 67-66, on December 22nd, 2009.
About the Auburn Tigers
The Tigers are led by all-star forward Unique Thompson, who averages 18.2 ppg. and 13.3 rpg., while Honesty Scott-Grayson puts up 14.9 ppg.
Auburn has come close with Kentucky and Arkansas, but an SEC win has eluded the Tigers.
AU began the season 3-0 and was 5-2 on December 17th after a win over North Florida before dropping the past 15 games in a row.
Recapping Auburn’s Last Game
Unique Thompson scored 22 points and had 18 rebounds, but the Tigers let a fourth-quarter lead slip away in a 74-69 loss to No. 16 Arkansas Thursday night at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers trailed by as many as 10 in the second quarter, flipped that to a 10-point lead in the third and were still ahead with less than five minutes to play. But the Razorbacks found their shooting stroke in the final minutes, and Auburn was unable to keep pace down the stretch.
Honesty Scott-Grayson added 18 for AU.
Last Time Tennessee Played Auburn
Junior Rennia Davis tallied a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman Jordan Horston hit a runner in the lane with 0.6 seconds left to lift Tennessee to a 56-55 win at Auburn in the regular season finale on March 1, 2020.
The victory improved the Lady Vols’ record to 20-9 overall and 10-6 in the SEC, earning them a four-way tie for third in the SEC regular season.
The double-double was the 29th of Davis’ career (11th this season), tying Bashaara Graves for 10th all-time among Lady Vols. Redshirt senior Lou Brown was UT’s next highest scorer, posting nine points off 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.
Auburn (10-17, 4-12 SEC) was paced by senior Daisa Alexander, who finished with 15 points, followed by sophomore Robyn Benton who had 11.
Last Time In Knoxville
Junior guard Daisa Alexander led Auburn with 22 points.
Next Up For Tennessee Women’s Basketball
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