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#14/16 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball faces #7/7 South Carolina at SEC Tournament

 

#3 Seed Tennessee vs. #2 Seed South Carolina

Saturday, March 6th, 2021 | 5:30pm CT
Greenville, SC | Bon Secours Wellness Arena

UT Lady VolsGreenville, SC – No. 14/16 Tennessee (16-6, 9-4 SEC), the No. 3 seed, has advanced to the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament and will meet No. 7/7 South Carolina (20-4, 14-2 SEC), the No. 2 seed, at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

No. 1 seed Texas A&M and No. 4 seed Georgia will meet in the other semifinal round match-up at 3:00pm CT on Saturday.

The Tennessee Lady Vols will be making their first appearance in the SEC semifinal round since 2016, when they did so in Jacksonville, FL, before falling to Mississippi State, 58-48.

Tennessee Women's Basketball plays South Carolina in the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee Women’s Basketball plays South Carolina in semifinal round of SEC Tournament. (UT Athletics)

UT will be trying to advance to Sunday for the first time since 2015, when it fell to South Carolina in the championship game in North Little Rock, Arkansas, 62-46.

Tennessee won the previous match-up between these teams earlier this season, overcoming a 16-point deficit to take a 75-67 decision over the Gamecocks on February 18th.

The Lady Vols are 3-2 all-time vs. South Carolina in SEC Tournament play, winning the first three meetings and dropping the last two in 2015 and 2018.

Broadcast Information

ESPNU will televise Saturday’s game, with Courtney Lyle (PxP), Carolyn Peck (Analyst) Steffi Soresen (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 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.

 


Tennessee In The SEC Tournament

Tennessee is seeking to capture its league-leading 18th SEC Tournament 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 Lady Vols were runners-up on six occasions, including 1982, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2003, and 2015.

UT last advanced to the title game in 2014 and 2015, 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.

Tennessee enters Saturday night’s game with an 81-24 (.771) all-time record in the 42nd year of the SEC Tournament.  

UT is 23-10 all-time in SEC Semifinal games.

The Lady Vols are 37-5 all-time in their opening game of the SEC Tournament and are 26-10 in their second contest of the tourney.

The Big Orange women are 26-8 in SEC Tournament play since 2007-08.

Tennessee has 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.

 


SEC Tournament Experience

This marks the SEC Tournament debut for four Lady Vols, including Tess Darby, Destiny Salary, Marta Suárez, and Jordan Walker.

This is the second SEC Tournament for Kellie Harper and her coaching staff while at Tennessee. UT was 1-1 in 2019-20 and 1-0 this season.

Kellie Harper had an 11-1 record at the SEC Tournament during her time as a student-athlete at UT with postseason tournament titles in 1996, 1998, and 1999. The only loss was in the 1997 semifinals. 

Rennia Davis has averaged 16.6 ppg. in seven career SEC Tournament games, tallying 16 and five vs. Auburn and South Carolina in 2018, 19 and 16 vs. LSU and Mississippi State in 2019 and 15 and 14 vs. Missouri and Kentucky in 2020; and 33 vs. Ole Miss in 2021.

Jordan Horston is averaging 14.0 ppg. in SEC Tourney play after scoring six and 24 vs. Missouri and Kentucky last season and 12 vs. Ole Miss this time around.

Back In Greenville

This marks the fifth time Greenville has played host to the SEC Tournament. 

UT stands at 6-3 in games played in the city after beating Ole Miss on Friday.

Kellie Harper is 2-1 as a head coach in SEC Tourney games played at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

No. 2 seed Tennessee defeated #1 seed LSU in the tourney title game, 67-56, on March 6th, 2005, the first time the event was held IN Greenville.

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.

Tennessee In SEC Play

UT is 414-88 (.825) in SEC regular-season games through the Auburn match-up, winning 18 regular-season championships and capturing 17 SEC tourney titles.

Tennessee Head Coach Kellie Harper is 19-10 in SEC games in her second year leading the team and has a 2-1 record in SEC Tourney play.

The Lady Vols (projected sixth in preseason polls) have beaten three teams ranked above them in the 2020-21 SEC Coaches and Media Polls, including No. 1/1 selection South Carolina, No. 2/3 pick Kentucky and No. 4/5 selection Arkansas.

UT tied for third a year ago and finished third outright this season, marking its best back-to-back outcomes in league play since taking second in 2013-14 and first in 2014-15.

Tennessee Lady Vol Notes

Stacking Up 20s: Rennia Davis enters the SEC Semis with a six-game streak of scoring 20 points or more. She has nine 20-point games this year and 22 for her career to rank fifth at Tennessee.

Beat The Clock: Davis’ halftime buzzer beater was her 15th career make with the game clock winding down.

Re’s Last Five: Rennia Davis is averaging 25.6 ppg. and 10.0 rpg. over her last five games, shooting 53.2% on FGs, 47.1 on 3FGs, and 87.8 on FTs. 

Rock Steady, Rae:  With 18 points vs. Ole Miss, Rae Burrell has 20 games scoring in double figures this season, with 15 of them featuring 15+ points.

Drinking From The Well: Jordan Horston is 13 of 28 (46.4) shooting, including 6 of 9 on threes in her last two games at “The Well.”

Threes Are Falling: Tennessee is 13 of 20 over its last two games from the three-point arc for 65% accuracy.

Grinding Out The Close Ones: UT improved to 9-4 during the Harper era in games decided by five points or fewer, exhibiting resilience and toughness.

Rennia On Fire: Senior Rennia Davis tied her career-high of 33 points against Ole Miss, extending her streak of 20+ games to six, the longest by a Lady Vol since Candace Parker did so in the 2007 season.

Moving On Up: The 14 rebounds Davis pulled down vs. Ole Miss moved her up two spots on the career rebounding list, passing Nicky Anosike (914) and Bridgette Gordon (915) to rank 11th all-time among Lady Vols with a career total of 923.

1,400 Wins: Tennessee, which leads all NCAA Division I women’s basketball programs in victories, recorded win No. 1,400 on Friday night. UT is now 1,400-349 in its 76th year of basketball.

Vs. Ranked Teams This Season: UT is 4-4 vs. ranked teams in 2020-21, led by Rennia Davis (20.3 ppg.) and Rae Burrell (18.0 ppg.)

 


Recapping Tennessee’s Last Game

The No. 14/16 Lady Vols fended off an upset-minded Ole Miss team in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Friday night, winning 77-72 to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2016.

No. 3 seed Tennessee (16-6) was led by senior Rennia Davis, who turned in a career-high-tying 33 points and added 14 rebounds to record her sixth-straight game with 20+ points and her ninth double-double of the season. Junior Rae Burrell was also in double digits with 18 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore Jordan Horston had a solid outing with 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

Top scorers for Ole Miss (11-11), the No. 11 seed that had already ousted sixth-seeded #13/13 Arkansas on Thursday, were Donnetta Johnson with 20 points, Shakira Austin with 14, and Jacorriah Bracey with 13.

Series Notes vs. South Carolina

UT enters Saturday’s contest with a 51-9 advantage in the series, including 21-3 in Columbia, 23-3 in Knoxville, and 7-3 at neutral sites. 

Tennessee is 5-3 vs. USC during the postseason and is 1-0 in overtime, taking a 79-73 extra-frame decision over the Gamecocks in the Palmetto State on Feb. 15, 1996. UT is 3-2 vs. USC in the SEC Tourney.

Since 2012, the series has been very streaky. UT won three straight, then USC took three in a row. After the Lady Vols claimed three consecutive wins, South Carolina made it three in a row. To continue the trend, UT put up a “W” on February 18th.

Kellie Harper has a 2-4 record vs. South Carolina as a head coach. She was 0-1 while at Western Carolina, and 1-2 while at NC State, beating the Gamecocks, 55-53, in Raleigh on December 4th, 2011. She stands 1-1 while at UT, winning the latest match-up in 2021.

In the other two contests, both on the road, NC State suffered a 74-71 setback on Dec. 13, 2009, and a 77-63 loss on December 12th, 2010.

Harper was 5-0 vs. USC as a player, participating in the only overtime game between these schools in 1996.

Since 2010, USC has won five and UT four SEC regular-season titles, with UT winning or sharing in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2015 and USC doing so in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020.

After defeating South Carolina, the regular-season SEC champs at 14-2, the 13-3 Lady Vols went on to claim the 2014 SEC Tournament title in Duluth, GA.

Tennessee lost to South Carolina, 64-60, on February 2nd, 2012, in Knoxville, but rebounded to defeat USC in the 2012 SEC Tournament semifinals in Nashville, 74-58, en route to its 16th SEC postseason championship.

About South Carolina

UT is led by the trio of Zia Cooke (16.2 ppg.), Aliyah Boston (13.1 ppg., 11.8 rpg.), and Destanni Henderson (12.3 ppg.).

Cooke and Boston made the All-SEC First Team and Boston was Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

The Gamecocks’ only losses in SEC play are to Tennessee and Texas A&M. Non-conference foes N.C. State and UConn also defeated South Carolina.

Recapping South Carolina’s Last Game

Zia Cooke scored 22 points, Aliyah Boston had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 7 South Carolina withstood a late charge by Alabama for a 75-63 victory Friday night in the SEC Tourney.

The Gamecocks (20-4) led by 27 halfway through the second quarter but saw most of that margin disappear down the stretch after Ariyah Copeland drew the Crimson Tide (16-9) within 66-59 with 5:07 to go.

Jordan Lewis led Alabama with 25 points, while Ariyah Copeland added 17.

 


Last time Tennessee and South Carolina Met

Senior Rennia Davis turned in 24 second-half points, as No. 21/21 Tennessee erased a 16-point second-quarter deficit to beat No. 2/3 South Carolina in Thompson-Boling Arena, 75-67, on February 18th.

The win snapped a 31-game SEC win streak for the Gamecocks and marked UT’s first victory over a top-five team since taking an 82-75 win over No. 2/4 Texas, 82-75, in Knoxville on December 10th, 2017.

Davis added 12 rebounds to record the 36th double-double of her career. Junior Rae Burrell was also in double figures for Tennessee (13-5, 7-3 SEC) with 19 points, and sophomore Jordan Horston pitched in 12 points and five assists. 

South Carolina (17-3, 12-1 SEC) was led by Aliyah Boston, who posted a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson added 15 each.

The Last Meeting In The SEC Tournament

No. 12 Tennessee erased a 16-point first-half deficit and closed within three in the third quarter but couldn’t overcome No. 8 South Carolina, falling 73-62 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament in Nashville on March 2nd, 2018.

Freshman Anastasia Hayes led UT (24-7) in scoring, tying her career-high with 17 points. Senior Jaime Nared chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds.

A’ja Wilson led USC (24-6) with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Alexis Jennings also recorded a double-double, logging 19 points, and 12 rebounds.


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