#9 Tennessee (8-0) vs. Georgia State (4-4)
Sunday, December 12th, 2021 | 1:00pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena
Knoxville, TN – After a week off for finals, No. 9/9 Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team (8-0) leaps back into action on Sunday afternoon with a non-conference clash vs. Georgia State (4-4) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The contest between the Lady Vols and Panthers will tip-off at 1:02pm CT and marks the first of five straight games for the team coming up on The Summitt between now and December 30th.
This will be only the second meeting between these programs, with UT claiming the initial match-up vs. GSU, 98-68, in the NCAA First Round in Knoxville back on March 15th, 2002.
The Lady Vols have opened a campaign at 8-0 for the seventh time in the past 20 years and the third occasion in the past five. They are seeking to go 9-0 for the first time since 2017-18 and for the sixth occasion in the past 20 years and the third time in the past 10.
Kellie Harper has forged her career-best start at 8-0, surpassing a 7-0 opening in her first year leading the Lady Vols in 2019-20.
Georgia State, meanwhile, enters after falling to Southern Miss in Atlanta on December 1st by a 64-56 score.
The Panthers had a two-game win streak halted with that setback and are 4-2 over their past six contests, including a 77-66 victory over future UT foe Chattanooga. GSU lost its first game of the year vs. SEC member Florida, 84-70, on November 9th.
Andy Brock (play-by-play), Madison Blevins Hock (analyst) and Kasey Funderburg (reporter) will be on the call for the SECN+ live stream.
All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) 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.
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.
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.
Holiday Hoops: Get $5.00 tickets for all price zones (excluding courtside), available in advance or on game day. Plus, $1.00 tickets are available for kids 12 & under.
Kids Day Out: Package includes two tickets, two t-shirts and a pregame event.
Free parking and free shuttle service from the Ag Campus (Lot CF near Brehm & Food Science Bldgs.).
For additional details and information, please call 865.974.1734 or visit the Fans tab on UTSports.com and click on the Fan Experience link.
UT In Top 10 In Both Polls
Tennessee has climbed to its highest positions in both the AP and USA TODAY/WBCA Coaches Polls since being ranked No. 9/8 in the seventh polls of the 2018-19 season on December 17th and 18th.
If you are wondering when UT was last in the top five, that was in week three of the 2015-16 polls, when the Lady Vols were ranked No. 4/5 on November 23rd and 24th. UT was No. 4/4 in the preseason polls.
In various preseason polls in 2021-22, Tennessee was ranked No. 12 in the USA TODAY/WBCA Coaches Poll, No. 15 by AP and Sports Illustrated, No. 16 by USA TODAY Sports and College Sports Madness, and No. 19 in the Lindy’s Sports Preseason Top 25.
The Lady Vols were picked second in the SEC Preseason Media Poll and No. 3 in the SEC Preseason Coaches Poll, marking their best positions since 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively.
The NCAA NET Rankings have UT ranked No. 15 as of December 8th, while the NCAA Toughest Schedule report has the Lady Vols tied at No. 9 with South Carolina.
RealTimeRPI.com has UT at No. 2 in RPI as of Dec. 8 with a calculation of .7667 and No. 9 in the strength of schedule.
ESPN has the Big Orange at No. 5 this week in its Women’s College Basketball Power Rankings.
In his Bracketology update on December 10th, ESPN’s Charlie Creme has Tennessee as a No. 2 seed in the Bridgeport Region. The Lady Vols are shown hosting No. 15 Mercer in the first round, with the winner facing No. 7 Nebraska or No. 10 Princeton.
About the UT Lady Vols Basketball Team
The Tennessee 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 adapt to those personnel losses, and the squad has shown signs of adding multiple offensive threats over its past five contests.
Eight different players have scored in double figures this season, including six who have done so in multiple games.
UT has shown itself to be a tough, gritty team, coming from behind in the fourth quarter four times this season to win games (Southern Illinois, South Florida, Texas, Virginia Tech).
Tennessee is led by 6-2 junior guard Jordan Horston, who paces the team in scoring (16.4 ppg.) and assists (4.5 apg.), while ranking second in rebounding (9.4 rpg.) in a breakout season.
Horston is second on the team with three double-doubles and has topped UT in scoring in five of her seven games played.
Alexus Dye, a 6-0 forward, is second among active players in scoring at 9.9 ppg. She is third in rebounding at 8.4 rpg.
Tamari Key, a 6-6 junior center, is putting up 8.9 ppg. and 10.1 rpg. to go along with 4.1 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 and No. 2 in the nation. Key leads Tennessee with five double-doubles thus far, including in the past three games and five of the last six.
To that point, the Lady Vols have registered nine double-doubles this season, including at least one in every game thus far.
Graduate guard Jordan Walker, freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett, graduate forward/center Keyen Green and sophomore guard/forward Tess Darby average 7.6, 7.5, 5.5, and 4.6 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 23.8, and she has been effective as a ball-handler and defender. She dished out six assists while committing zero turnovers in the win at Virginia Tech, improving her assist-to-turnover totals to 18 and 12.
UT-GSU Series Notes
Tennessee leads the all-time series over the Panthers, 1-0, with the only meeting coming in Knoxville.
UT and GSU met in the NCAA Tournament First Round on March 15th, 2002, with the Lady Vols rolling to a 98-68 win in Thompson-Boling Arena.
The coach of Georgia State at that time was Lea Henry, an LVFL who played for Pat Summitt on Rocky Top from 1979-83.
Henry coached the Panthers from 1994-2010, compiling a career record of 230-207 and a winning percentage of .525. Those marks still rank No. 1 and No. 4, respectively, in Georgia State women’s basketball history.
If she sounds familiar, GSU assistant coach Sherill Baker played collegiately at Georgia, graduating in 2006.
Former Tennessee men’s assistant coach Rob Lanier is now in year three as the head coach of the Georgia State men’s basketball program.
About the Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State finished 13-11 overall and 9-7 in Sun Belt Conference play a year ago, and it returned seven players with starting experience from that squad.
Thus far, senior guard Ashley Foster and junior guard Taylor Henderson have been the Panthers’ leading scorers, averaging 12.3 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. Henderson, however, did not appear in GSU’s last game.
Redshirt junior guard Taniyah Worth is Georgia State’s top rebounder, pulling down 5.0 per contest.
GSU has hit 53 three-pointers, with guard Kamryn Dziak hitting 15 of 32 at a 46.9-percent clip. Worth has connected on 13 of 35 (37.1).
About Georgia State Head Coach Gene Hill
Gene Hill is in his fourth season at Georgia State, compiling a 42-50 record during his time in Atlanta and a 54-90 overall mark in six seasons as a head coach.
He had a previous two-year stint as a head coach at USC Spartanburg from 1999-2001.
Prior to coming to GSU, Hill was on the staff for five seasons at NC State and was at Georgia Tech from 2009-12 as an assistant.
While in Raleigh, he helped lead the Wolfpack to a 112-52 record, including three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Hill also was at Butler and Lander as an assistant.
Last Time Tennessee Played Georgia State
Ashley Foster led Georgia State with 16 points on December 1st in a 64-56 loss to Southern Miss at the GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta.
Southern Miss jumped out to a 19-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and never gave up the lead. Georgia State fought back in the second quarter to close the gap, but the Golden Eagles used a late run to take a nine-point lead into halftime.
Next Up For Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball
The Tennessee women’s basketball team is in a stretch where it plays five in a row at home during the month of December, and the next one is the most high profile of the bunch.
Defending NCAA champion Stanford comes to Rocky Top for a 4:15pm CT match-up on December 18th (ESPN2). The Cardinal is ranked No. 4/4 in this week’s polls, so if the teams retain their rankings next week, the clash will be between top-10 foes.
The Lady Vols will then play host to East Tennessee State (ETSU) on December 20th at 5:30pm CT before the players head home for winter break.
The post-break slate features Chattanooga on The Summitt at 5:30pm CT on December 27th, and Alabama opening SEC play vs. UT in Knoxville at 5:30pm CT on December 30th.