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#11/10 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball heads to Las Vegas for South Point Thanksgiving Shootout

UT Lady VolsLas Vegas, NV – No. 11/10 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball (4-0) will be in Las Vegas this week for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout, facing Kansas (4-0) on Friday and Oklahoma State (3-1) on Saturday.

Both contests will tip-off at 5:30pm CT (3:30pm Pacific) at South Point Arena.

The set of games marks the second and third straight contests against Big 12 foes, as the Lady Vols toppled No. 12/21 Texas in overtime, 74-70, on Sunday afternoon in Knoxville to begin the sequence.

This marks the second appearance for the Lady Vols in the Entertainment Capital of the World, with their previous Vegas visit coming during the 1979-80 season on December 18th and 19th vs. Long Beach State and UNLV at the Nike Tournament of Champions.

UT has not faced a team with a loss yet, with its first five opponents combining for a 10-0 mark prior to meeting the Big Orange.  Tennessee opened the 2021-22 campaign with Southern Illinois (0-0) and followed with UCF (1-0), No. 23/22 South Florida (2-0), No. 12/21 Texas (3-0) and now Kansas (4-0). Saturday’s foe, Oklahoma State, is 3-1 entering the tournament. 

The Lady Vols have trailed in all four games and been behind entering the final five minutes in three of those four contests before emerging victorious. The 2021-22 squad has shown a resilience that wasn’t reflected a year ago when the team was 0-8 when heading into the final five minutes on the short end of the score.

Kansas has had blowout wins in each of its four contests (Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Tennessee State, Omaha, and Saint Louis) and outscored those foes, 85.3 to 57.0. The Jayhawks are shooting lights out, connecting on percentages of 50.2 on field goals, 42.9 on threes, and 75.9 on free throws.

Oklahoma State, which plays Green Bay on Friday before meeting Kellie Harper‘s squad, has victories over SMU, Missouri State and Rice after dropping the opener to Colorado. The Cowgirls have struggled with their shooting (36.6 FG/24.2 3FG/51.8 FT), averaging only 56.0 points per game, but their defense has held opponents to 29.9 percent accuracy from the field and only 48.3 points per contest.

Broadcast Information

Ben Wilson (play-by-play) on Friday and Trey Bender (play-by-play) on Saturday will be on the call for the FloHoops live stream (subscription required) from the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas.

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 23rd season, Dearstone is joined by studio host Bobby Rader. 

SiriusXM Ch. SEC Radio (374) will pick up the call.

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.

Vegas Connections

Tennessee senior guard/forward Rae Burrell, who is currently sidelined by an injury, hails from Las Vegas and graduated from Liberty High School.

Former UT player (1990-94), G.A. (1998-99) and assistant (2002-08) Nikki (Caldwell) Fargas is the president of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.

Looking Back At The Last Game

Tying a program-record 15 blocks in a game and overcoming an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit, the No. 16/12 Tennessee women’s basketball team took down No. 12/21 Texas, 74-70, in overtime in front of a raucous crowd of 9,460 on Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Junior Tamari Key’s career day resulted in the fifth triple-double in program history, while classmate Jordan Horston led the offensive charge in the Lady Volunteers’ comeback win.

Key, a 6-foot-6 center, posted the fifth triple-double in program history, scoring 10 points and adding 18 rebounds and 10 blocks in 39 minutes of play. Her rebound total breezed past her previous career-high of 12 and she matched her best for blocks, tying for the second-highest tally in UT annals. Key now has two triple-doubles and is the only player in Tennessee’s illustrious history with more than one. She posted her first last season vs. Florida (23 pts., 10 rebs., 10 blks.) on January 31st, 2021.

Horston was masterful on the offensive end for the second consecutive game, posting another banner day. The 6-2 guard led all Lady Vol scorers with 28 points, a career-high. She also pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds en route to her second double-double of the season and third of her career. Horston is averaging 22 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per contest thus far. After missing the first contest due to injury, Horston has led Tennessee in scoring in the last three outings.

Graduate Alexus Dye came through in the clutch, sinking critical free throws late in the contest and securing 13 points. The 6-0 forward swatted away four shots, a career best in blocks. Graduate guard Jordan Walker also added 13 points and a team-leading five assists.

UT Notables From The Last Game

Defensive Prowess
Tennessee has held each of its opponent this season under 40 percent shooting, including three under 32 percent. Under Harper, the Lady Vols have only allowed 16 teams to shoot better than 40 percent in the 60 games under her coaching.

Doing That Board Work
UT out-rebounded Texas by 15, 56-41, claiming an advantage in its fourth straight game this season. It was the third by double digits. During the Kellie Harper era, Tennessee has won the battle of the boards in 50 of 60 contests.

Double-Double Machine
The Lady Vols have registered at least one double-double in each game this season (Horston – 2, Key – 2 (1 a triple-double), Dye – 1).

Never Give Up
Tennessee has staged a fourth-quarter comeback in three of its games this season. The 12-point third-quarter deficit was the largest the Lady Vols have erased in a win since a 13-point gap against Missouri on Mar. 5, 2020, at the SEC Tournament.

Our Time, Overtime
Harper earned her first win in overtime as the UT Lady Vols’ head coach. It was also the first overtime game in Thompson-Boling Arena since February 23rd, 2012, when Tennessee bested Middle Tennessee, 88-81. The Lady Volunteers improved to 33-21 in overtime games in program history.

About The Tennessee Lady Vols

Tennessee started a season 4-0 for the fourth time in five years and will attempt to improve to 5-0 for the sixth occasion in 10 campaigns. The best opening of the Kellie Harper era here was 7-0 in 2019-20. 

The Lady Vols rank No. 5 in home attendance average at 7,143 after welcoming the nation’s number two crowd this season with 9,460 on hand for the Texas game.

The Big Orange women are 11-4 in games decided by five points or fewer.

Tamari Key ranks No. 2 in the NCAA and No. 1 in SEC play with 19 total blocks, and she is No. 3 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the SEC in blocks per game at 4.75.

Key’s team is No. 9 in blocked shots per game a (7.2) and No. 15 in total blocks (29).

Tennessee is up to No. 16 nationally in field goal percentage defense, a stat that Kellie Harper teams are known for. UT is allowing opponents only 30.6 percent from the field through four games.

Following her career-high 28-point effort vs. Texas, Jordan Horston has scored in double figures in seven of her last eight games, including four of the last five contests in 2020-21 and all three in 2021-22.

Horston is averaging 26.0 ppg. and 12.0 rpg. vs. ranked teams, while Tamari Key is putting up 10.0 ppg. and 14.0 rpg. while blocking eight shots per contest.

Horston is No. 7 nationally and No. 2 in the league in defensive rebounds per game at 9.0. She is No. 15 in the NCAA for the season (No. 1 SEC) ppg. at 22.0 and No. 16 (No. 2 SEC) for rpg. at 11.7. 

The 28 points by Horston vs. Texas stands as the highest scoring total this season by an SEC player.

Alexus Dye leads the SEC among active players with 33 career double-doubles, including one this year.

Tennessee posted its best points-in-the-paint totals (40) of the year vs. both South Florida and Texas.

UT is averaging 33.5 points in the paint per game, compared to 20.0 for opponents.

Tennessee-Kansas Series History

Tennessee is 3-0 all-time vs. the Jayhawks, including 2-0 at neutral sites and 1-0 in Knoxville.

The Lady Vols are 59-24 all-time vs. schools currently in the Big 12 Conference after defeating Texas, 74-70, in overtime on Sunday.

Kellie Harper is 1-0 vs. Kansas during her head coaching career, defeating that school, 87-64, on Nov. 13, 2016, in Lawrence while serving as head coach at Missouri State.

Tennessee last faced Kansas on March 24, 2012, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, in the NCAA Sweet 16, prevailing 84-73 in Pat Summitt’s penultimate game as head coach of the Lady Vols.

The Lady Vols faced KU twice when Kellie Harper was a player at UT, going 2-0.

The teams met on November 17th, 1996, with the Big Orange prevailing, 79-60, as part of the Women’s Preseason National Invitational Tournament games in Knoxville. Harper (maiden name Kellie Jolly) didn’t play in that contest due to an injury that sidelined her for much of the season).

They also played the previous spring in the NCAA Sweet 16 at Charlottesville, Va., with the Lady Vols taking a 92-71 victory on March 23, 1996. Harper (Jolly) had seven points on 3-of-3 shooting, and tallied six assists, two rebounds, and a steal in 15 minutes off the bench.

Kansas guard Erica Haynes-Overton was a thorn in Tennessee’s side in Harper’s first game as head coach of the Lady Vols while the standout was at East Tennessee State. Haynes-Overton scored 41 points and tallied 10 rebounds and seven assists, as the Lady Vol escaped Freedom Hall with a 72-68 victory over the Buccaneers despite that individual effort.

About the Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas, 4-0 thus far, returns four starters and nine total letter winners from last season’s squad that went 7-18 overall and 3-15 in Big 12 play to finish ninth. 

KU is led by a trio of returning starters, with senior guard Aniya Thomas (14.8), sophomore forward Ioanna Chatzileonti (11.5), and junior guard Zakiyah Franklin (11.5) all averaging double figures in points through four games.

Junior guard Holly Kersgieter was last year’s leading scorer at 17.0 ppg., and she has started three games this season and is putting up 7.8 ppg.

The Jayhawks have shot the ball well, posting percentages of 50.2 from the field, 42.9 from the arc and 75.9 from the free-throw line.

KU is averaging 6.8 blocks per game, led by 6-5 center Taiyanna Jackson with nine. 

Kansas is outscoring foes by +28.3, 85.3 to 57.0.

The wins have come against SIU Edwardsville, Tennessee State, Omaha and Saint Louis.

About Kansas’ Head Coach Brandon Schneider

Brandon Schneider is in his seventh season at the helm of the Kansas women’s basketball program. 

He is 65-115 in his seventh year at Kansas but is 466-253 in his 24th season as a head coach, coming to Lawrence after stints at Emporia State (1998-2010) and Stephen F. Austin (2010-15).

Last Time Kansas Played

Behind a career-high 19 points from Ioanna Chatzileonti, the Kansas Women’s Basketball team topped Saint Louis, 79-50, Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

The win moved the Jayhawks to 4-0 on the season, while the Billikens fell to 1-3. It marked the 16th time in program history and fourth under head coach Brandon Schneider where the Jayhawks have been undefeated through the first four games of the season.

Chatzileonti led the Jayhawks with 19 points, which included 15 points in the second half. Three other Jayhawks scored in double-digits including Mia Vuksic with 12, Zakiyah Franklin with 11 and Taiyanna Jackson with her new career-high of 10.

Coming out of the break was when the Jayhawks really started to pull ahead. Kansas scored 28 points in the third quarter and shot 68.8 (11-of-16) from the field. Saint Louis had its highest-scoring quarter thus far with 16, but was still unable to keep up with the Jayhawks.

Next Up For UT Women’s Basketball

After facing Kansas and Oklahoma State, Tennessee will enter a stretch where it plays six of seven games at home during the month of December.

The first assignment will be Tennessee Tech in Knoxville on December 1st (6:30pm CT/SECN+), followed by Virginia Tech on the road on December 5th (2:00pm CT/ACC Network).


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