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#11 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball takes to the road to take on Virginia Tech

#11/#10 Tennessee (7-0) at Virginia Tech (7-1)
Sunday, December 5th, 2021 | 1:00pm CT
Blacksburg, VA | Cassell Coliseum | TV: ACC Network

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – No. 11/10 Tennesse Lady Vols basketball team (7-0) and RV/RV Virginia Tech (7-1) will clash on Sunday afternoon in Blacksburg,  VA, in a border state battle between two of the nation’s top teams in 2021-22. The contest between the Lady Vols and Hokies will tip-off at 1:00pm CT at Cassell Coliseum.

UT enters the game after posting its largest victory margins of the season, cruising to a 25-point win on November 27th over Oklahoma State in its second contest at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas, 80-55, and rolling past Tennessee Tech by 28 on Wednesday night, 76-48, in Knoxville.

Tennessee has opened a campaign at 7-0 for the ninth time in the past 20 years and the fourth occasion in the past five. It is seeking to go 8-0 for the first time since 2018-19 and for the seventh occasion in the past 20 years. Kellie Harper has matched her career-best start, also guiding UT to a 7-0 opening in her first year leading the Lady Vols in 2019-20. 

Virginia Tech, meanwhile, enters on a two-game winning streak, handling Wisconsin in Madison on Wednesday night, 70-60. Prior to that road contest, the Hokies split games at the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico, falling to Kellie Harper‘s former team, Missouri State, by a 76-68 count on November 26th before rebounding to edge UT Martin, 54-49, on November 27th.

Broadcast Information

Pam Ward (play-by-play) and Stephanie White (analyst) will be on the call for the ACC Network.

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. 

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.

Air time for games on the Lady Vol Radio Network generally occurs 30 minutes prior to tip-off.

About The Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball Team

The Lady Vols continue to persevere and display consistent improvement after losing starters Rae Burrell and Marta Suárez to injuries. 

Tennessee relied on defense and rebounding early on to get through those personnel losses, and the squad has shown signs of great offensive strides over its past four contests.

UT also has carved out extra minutes of game experience for its younger players in the past two outings, victories of 25 and 28 points.

Tennessee is led by 6-2 junior guard Jordan Horston, who paces the team in scoring (17.7 ppg.), rebounding (10.0 rpg.) and assists (4.5 apg.) in a breakout season.

Horston has three double-doubles on the season and has topped UT in scoring in five of her six games played.

After her 20-point, nine-rebound effort vs. Tennessee Tech, graduate forward Alexus Dye became UT’s second active player to average double figures in points. She is putting up 10.1 ppg. and 8.6 rpg. She is the active leader among SEC players with 33 career double-doubles.

Tamari Key, a 6-6 junior center, is on the verge of averaging a double-double, checking in with 8.6 ppg. and 9.9 rpg. to go along with 4.0 bpg. She had a triple-double of 10 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks in UT’s 74-70 OT victory over No. 12/21 Texas and her block average currently ranks No. 1 all-time among Lady Vols in a season.

Freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett, graduate guard Jordan Walker, graduate forward/center Keyen Green and sophomore guard/forward Tess Darby average 6.4, 6.3, 6.0 and 5.3 ppg., respectively, with Walker and Darby starting alongside Key, Horston, and Dye after Burrell’s injury.

Freshman point guard Brooklynn Miles is UT’s eighth active player averaging double-figure minutes at 22.9, and she has been effective as a ball-handler and defender.

Evolving Over Last Three Games

Offensively, Tennessee has begun to find its groove the past three games while facing Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Tennessee Tech.

The Lady Vols are averaging 74.7 points per game and shooting 44.1 percent from the field after entering the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout with outputs of 58.5 ppg. and 38.0 percent.

UT has three players scoring in double figures over the past three contests, including Jordan Horston (13.3), Alexus Dye (11.7), and Tamari Key (10.3) while a fourth starter, Tess Darby (9.7), is very close.

Key, Dye, and Horston are pulling down 9.7, 8.7, and 8.3 rebounds per game during that stretch.

Key is shooting 68.4 percent from the field, while Darby is knocking down 56.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

Horston and Jordan Walker have 17/14 and 10/4 assist-to-turnover totals during that span.

Looking Back At The Last Game

Rolling to its second consecutive win of 25 points or more, the No. 11/10 Tennessee women’s basketball team defeated Tennessee Tech, 76-48, Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee (7-0) has now won nine consecutive games at Thompson-Boling Arena. That is its longest streak of the Kellie Harper era and longest since UT rattled off 11 straight from Feb. 19, 2017, to Jan. 7, 2018. The Lady Vols also have matched their longest win streak of the Harper era with the blemish-free start.

Junior center Tamari Key finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, generating her fourth double-double of the season and tying her for the SEC lead in 2021-22. Graduate forward Alexus Dye led all scorers with 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting (66.7 percent), notching her best scoring output at Tennessee. She also grabbed nine rebounds. Sophomore guard/forward Tess Darby was red hot from deep, scoring 12 points of 4-on-6 (66.7 percent) shooting from three-point land. 

The Lady Vols have now had at least one player register a double-double in each game this season. Kellie Harper‘s squad pulled down 53 boards, marking the fourth consecutive game with 50+. Winning by a margin of 28, the Lady Vols picked up their largest point differential all season and their second consecutive game-winning by 25+.

UT Lady Vols Notables From Last Game

Block Party
Junior Tamari Key had four blocks on the night, pulling within eight of Michelle Snow, who sits at No. 6 on the all-time career blocks list at UT with 194, and within nine of Mercedes Russell, who is fifth with 195. It also keeps Key’s career average at 4.0 bpg., which currently places her number one in school history.

Darby For Threee
Sophomore Tess Darby knocked down a career-best four treys on the night, shooting four of six from behind the arc en route to a career-high 12 points. She is now nine of 16 over the last three games and has already surpassed her 2020-21 season total of seven. 

Double Time
Tamari Key logged her fourth double-double of the season against the Golden Eagles and UT’s eighth double-double performance of the year. A Lady Vol has recorded a double-double in every game thus far this season.  

Dye Dialed In
Alexus Dye narrowly missed a double-double against Tennessee Tech, dropping 20 points and grabbing nine boards. It’s the most points she has scored as a Lady Vol and the 10th time in her NCAA career she has scored 20 or more.  

Freshmen Settling In
Freshmen Brooklynn Miles and Karoline Striplin each carded career highs against the Golden Eagles, with Miles setting new highs in assists (4) and Striplin logging bests in points (6) and rebounds (5).  

Tennessee-Virginia Tech Series History

Tennessee leads the all-time series over the Hokies, 7-2, including 3-1 in Knoxville, 3-1 in Blacksburg, and 1-0 at neutral sites. 

Virginia Tech, however, has claimed the last two meetings in the series, getting a 57-43 win over No. 8 UT in Knoxville on December 6th, 2015, and squeezing out a 67-63 triumph over the Lady Vols at Cassell Coliseum on November 27th, 2016, in Kenny Brooks’ first season as head coach in Blacksburg.

Kellie Harper is 4-1 all-time vs. the Hokies as a head coach, including a loss in 2007 while at Western Carolina and four victories as head of the program at NC State in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Harper was part of Tennessee’s last win over Virginia Tech on March 20th, 1999, as the #2/2 Lady Vols prevailed over the #13/15 Hokies, 68-52, in the NCAA Sweet 16 at Greensboro, N.C.

In that contest, 13,204 fans were on hand as UT legend Chamique Holdsclaw went over 3,000 career points.

Tennessee is 111-29 vs. schools currently in the ACC.

About The Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech returned all five starters and eight total letter winners from last season, when the squad finished 15-10 overall and 8-8 in Atlantic Coast Conference play while navigating a schedule delayed and occasionally interrupted by the effects of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

The focal point of that group of veterans is 6-foot-6 junior center Elizabeth Kitley, who leads the Hokies at 19.6 ppg. and 9.4 rpg., sporting a 63.5 field-goal percentage.

Aisha Sheppard, a 5-9 graduate guard, is No. 2 in scoring at 12.5 ppg. and has nailed 24 of 57 three-point attempts thus far (42.1 pct.).

Sheppard and Kitley are both on the Wooden Preseason Top 50 Watch List and members of the Preseason All-ACC Team.

Kitley also is on the Wade and Lisa Leslie Award Preseason Watch Lists.

Kayana Traylor, a 5-9 senior guard, averages 11.1 ppg. off the bench, while 6-0 junior guard Cayla King is putting up 9.1 ppg. as a starter.

About the Virginia Tech Head Coach

Kenny Brooks is in his sixth season as the head coach at Virginia Tech, compiling a 108-60 mark.

Brooks is 445-182 overall in 20 years as a college head coach, starting his career with a 337-122 mark in 14 seasons as the leader of a very successful program at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.                                                      

Tech has enjoyed five winning seasons under Brooks’ tutelage, including a return to the NCAA Tournament a year ago after a 15-year absence by the program.

Last Time Tennessee Played Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team got a 29-point showing from the bench on the way to a 70-60 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday night in Madison, Wis.

The Hokies (7-1) had four players score in double figures, led by Azana Baines, who notched a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Elizabeth Kitley tacked on 13 points, and Kayana Traylor helped out with 10 points off the bench.

Virginia Tech forced 14 Wisconsin turnovers while committing 13 themselves in Wednesday’s game. The Hokies turned those takeaways into 13 points on the offensive end of the floor. Baines’ one steal led the way for Virginia Tech.

Next Up For Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball

The Tennessee women’s basketball team is in a stretch where it plays six of seven games at home during the month of December.

Up next, the Tennessee Lady Vols play host to Georgia State on December 12th at 1:00pm CT (SECN+). That starts a run of five games in a row at home from December 12th to December 30th.

Defending NCAA champion Stanford comes to Rocky Top for a 4:15pm CT match-up on December 18th (ESPN2).


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