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#5 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball is on the road Sunday to face #13 Georgia

#5 Tennessee (17-1 | 6-0 SEC) vs. #13 Georgia (15-3 | 4-2 SEC)
Sunday, January 23rd, 2022 | 1:02pm CT
Athens, GA | Stegeman Coliseum | TV: SEC Network

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – No. 5/6 Tennessee women’s basketball team (17-1/6-0 SEC) and No. 13/13 Georgia (15-3/4-2 SEC) meet on Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens for UGA’s We Back Pat game. The tip-off is set for 1:00pm CT.

The Lady Vols and Bulldogs will face off for the 72nd time in a series that dates back to 1969, with last year’s two games being decided by a combined total of three points.

This will mark UT’s highest-ranking entering this series match-up since coming in at No. 5/5 and defeating an unranked Georgia squad, 75-41, in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament in Little Rock, AK, on March 6th, 2015.

The Lady Vols carry several streaks into Sunday, having won eight straight games this season and eight consecutive SEC contests in a string that began last season on February 25th at Missouri. It’s the longest league-winning spree since UT won 17 in a row spanning the 2013-14 and 2014-15 campaigns. UT also enters with a six-game road win streak that originated at Missouri a year ago, marking the longest such spree of the Harper era.
 
Tennessee was idle Thursday night, but it stayed unbeaten in SEC play last Sunday by handling No. 19/20 Kentucky, 84-58, in UT’s We Back Pat game at Thompson-Boling Arena. it marked the 15th time in 18 games that Tennessee held its opponent to 60 points or fewer and the 17th time in 18 contests UT has out-rebounded its foe, including double-digit margins in 15 of those.

Georgia, meanwhile, comes off a 66-63 road win at Mississippi State on Thursday evening. The Bulldogs from Athens amassed a 27-point lead by the second quarter but had to withstand a furious MSU rally to walk away victoriously. UGA was won its last three games after opening league play at 1-2 with a 73-69 victory at Florida, sandwiched by losses to LSU (68-62) and at Kentucky (84-76).

Broadcast Information

Eric Frede (play-by-play) and Christy Thomaskutty (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network broadcast.

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.

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.

UT Lady Vols Projected for No. 1 Seed

In his Bracketology update on January 21st, ESPN’s Charlie Creme moved Tennessee to a No. 1 seed in the Wichita Region. The Lady Vols are shown hosting No. 16 Jackson State in the first round, with the winner facing No. 8 DePaul or No. 9 Kansas.


ESPN has the Big Orange at No. 3 in its January 17st Women’s College Basketball Power Rankings.

The NCAA NET Rankings show UT ranked No. 7 through January 20th, while the NCAA Toughest Schedule report had the Lady Vols at No. 17 (cumulative opposition).

RealTimeRPI.com has UT at No. 3 in RPI as of January 20th with a calculation of .7087 and No. 7 in strength of schedule.

UT Remains In AP Top Five

The Lady Vols remained at season-high rankings of No. 5 and 6 in the January 17th and 18th AP and USA TODAY/WBCA Coaches Polls, respectively, for the second straight week.

That is the highest combination of rankings since the Lady Vols were No. 4/5 in the November 23rd and 24th polls of 2015.

UT began that season at No. 4 in each poll and stayed there for two more weeks in the AP Top 25 but was relegated to No. 5 in the coaches poll the following two polling periods.

Tennessee Lady Vols In SEC Play

UT is 420-88 (.827) in SEC regular-season games through Kentucky, winning 18 regular-season championships and capturing 17 SEC tourney titles.

Tennessee Head Coach Kellie Harper is 25-10 in SEC games in her third year on Rocky Top, including 6-0 in 2021-22, and has a 2-2 record in SEC Tournament play.

UT tied for third in 2019-20 and finished third outright in 2020-21, marking its best back-to-back outcomes in league play since taking second in 2013-14 and first in 2014-15.

The Lady Vols were picked second in the 2021-22 SEC Preseason Media Poll and No. 3 in the SEC Preseason Coaches Poll, marking their best positions since 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively.


About The Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball Team

The Tennessee Lady Vols continue to be one of the nation’s biggest stories of 2021-22, opening up at 17-1, sitting atop the SEC standings, and climbing to No. 5 in the AP Poll against one of the NCAA’s toughest schedules despite losing returning starter Marta Suárez for the season to a lower leg injury and playing without top returning scorer Rae Burrell for 12 games (leg injury) and this year’s leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Horston for three (lower leg injury/illness).

Tennessee picked up its fourth victory over a ranked team this season on January 16th, as the Lady Vols rolled past No. 19/20 Kentucky in Knoxville, 84-58. UT recorded four wins over ranked foes the entire 2020-21 campaign and had only one ranked win in 2019-20.

The Big Orange women also have victories over No. 23/22 South Florida (52-49), No. 12/21 Texas (74-70 OT) and No. 25/23 Texas A&M (73-45) to their credit and beat RV/RV Virginia Tech (64-58) and RV/RV Ole Miss (70-58) this season.

Tennessee is led by Jordan Horston, an electric 6-2 junior guard, who paces the team in scoring (15.2 ppg.), rebounding (9.7) and assists (4.0 apg.) in a breakout season for the player who came out of high school ranked No. 2 overall and the No. 1 guard in the 2019 espnW HoopGurlz 100. 

Horston leads the Lady Vols with eight double-doubles and has topped UT in scoring nine times, including double-doubles in three of her last four games.

Tamari Key, a 6-6 junior center, is putting up 10.2 ppg. and 8.6 rpg. to go along with 3.7 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.

Key, rated No. 47 as a prep by espnW, is second on the team with seven double-doubles thus far and has scored in double figures in 11 of 18 games for the Lady Vols. She leads the nation in blocked shots (68) and is second in bpg. (3.78), sitting in UT’s single-season top 10 for the third time at No. 10 with 68 swats in only 18 contests. She also ranks fifth (86, 2019-20, 31 games) and eighth (72, 2020-21, 25 games) on that list.

Alexus Dye, a 6-0 forward, is third among active UT players in scoring at 10.0 ppg. She is third in rebounding at 7.8 rpg and has three double-doubles, including a 13/10 effort vs. Arkansas most recently. The graduate transfer from Troy has scored in double figures nine times thus far.
 
Senior All-SEC First Team preseason pick Rae Burrell (7.2 ppg.) has seen action the past five games (12/17/12/16/24 minutes) after missing the previous 12 contests due to a leg injury suffered in the opener vs. Southern Illinois. Her two most recent games were her best, as she hit double figures in scoring for the first time since Nov. 10, tallying 11 at Vanderbilt and 14 vs. Kentucky. Burrell knocked down all four three-point attempts in the win over UK and was five of eight overall from the field to bump her scoring average to 8.3 for the season and her shooting percentages to 48.6 on FGs and 41.7 on 3FGs.

Freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett is UT’s fifth-leading scorer. The No. 43 espnW prospect coming out of high school is putting up 7.6 ppg. and is shooting 49.0 percent from the field, 35.6 percent on threes and 77.8 percent on free throws and has scored in double figures five times. She got her first career starts vs. UTC and Alabama during Jordan Horston’s absence because of illness.

Graduate guard Jordan Walker, who had 10 points and six boards vs. Kentucky, is Tennessee’s sixth-highest scorer, putting up 7.6 ppg., while tallying 3.9 rpg. and 3.3 apg. to rank fourth and second for UT in those categories.

With 14 points and seven boards in 22 minutes vs. Kentucky, Keyen Green elevated her averages to 7.2 ppg. and 3.2 rpg. while shooting 58 percent.  

Tess Darby was three of six from the arc vs. UK last Sunday, adding to Rae Burrell’s four treys and one each from Jordan Horston, Sara Puckett, and Jordan Walker to give Tennessee a season-best 10 for the game.

The Lady Vols have limited five ranked opponents this season to 32.5 percent shooting from the field, 31.1 from the arc, and 59.2 points per contest.

Jordan Horston is putting up 20.0 ppg., 11.2 rpg. and  4.0 apg. vs. ranked teams in 2021-22.

UT is out-rebounding ranked foes by 10 this season, 50.6 to 40.6.

Tennessee is averaging 8.2 blocks per game vs. ranked opponents, with Tamari Key swatting 30 shots and averaging 6.0 per contest.

Tennessee Notes During SEC Play

Kellie Harper‘s squad is the only remaining undefeated team in league play, standing at 6-0 and joins #1 South Carolina (also 17-1) as the SEC teams with the best overall records.

UT is scoring 70.7 ppg. and allowing 53.2 ppg., while shooting 42.7 percent from the field and holding opponents to only 30.2 percent.


Tennessee is out-rebounding SEC teams, 49.7 to 35.5 for +14.2.

The UT Lady Vols have limited foes to shooting only 18.4 percent from the three-point arc, including games vs. noted three-ball teams Arkansas and Texas A&M.

UT is dishing out 15.5 assists per contest while allowing only 8.3 apg. for opponents.

Jordan Horston (15.4 ppg., 10.2 rpg. and 4.2 apg.), Tamari Key (10.2 ppg., 7.3 rpg. and 4.2 bpg.), Alexus Dye (9.5 ppg., 6.7 rpg.) and Jordan Walker (9.3 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 3.3 apg.) have led UT in its first six conference games.

Rae Burrell has elevated her playing time and productivity, averaging 7.6 ppg. and shooting 43 percent from the field, including 46 percent from the arc.

Also worth noting, Tess Darby (6.2 ppg.) is 12 of 28 on threes (42.9) during league play, while Keyen Green (7.5 ppg.) is hitting 69.2 percent of her field goal attempts.

Besides the five starters, freshmen Brooklynn Miles (20.3) and Sara Puckett (17.7) are averaging the most minutes per game in SEC play for Tennessee.

Looking Back At The Last Game

Scoring 73 points in the final three quarters, the No. 5/6 Tennessee women’s basketball team used a balanced offensive effort to down No. 19/20 Kentucky, 84-58, last Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game marked the annual We Back Pat game, bringing awareness and recognition to the Pat Summitt Foundation in its fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

With the win, the Lady Vols improved to 17-1 overall and 6-0 in SEC play. It’s the best season-opening overall record since UT started the 2007-08 campaign at 22-1. The 6-0 league beginning is the program’s best since going 13-0 in 2014-15.

Rae Burrell and Keyen Green tied for the team lead in scoring, dropping 14 points each. Burrell was white-hot from beyond the arc, going 4-of-4 on 3-pointers in the game. It was a defining day for Green at UT, as she tied her UT high in points and rebounds, pulling down seven. She added three assists, her most since joining the Big Orange in 2020.

In total, 10 of 13 Lady Vols taking the court scored. Four players finished with double-figure scoring, as Jordan Horston (11) and Jordan Walker (10) joined Burrell and Green.
 
The balance showed in the stat sheet, as Tennessee was 10-of-20 from beyond the arc. The Lady Vols also outscored UK in the paint, 40-28. UT pulled down 21 offensive boards, its fifth game this season with more than 20. That translated to a 22-8 advantage in second-chance points. Led by Burrell and Green’s contributions, Tennessee recorded 39 bench points to Kentucky’s nine.

Notables From Tennessee Lady Vols Last Game

Second Quarter Comeback

The Lady Vols poured in 27 points in the second quarter. It was their highest point total of any quarter during conference play this season and ties their season-high for second-quarter points. With three periods of 20+ points vs. UK, UT now has scored 20+ points in 20 of its last 32 quarters.

Making It Rain

Tennessee shot a scorching 50 percent from behind the arc, hitting a season-high 10 threes. It was the most 3-pointers scored by a UT team since dropping 14 on Furman on December 10th, 2020.  The percentage was the highest since the Lady Vols connected on seven of 10 for 70 percent vs. Ole Miss on March 5th, 2020, in the SEC Tournament.

Dominating The Boards

The Lady Vols outrebounded the Wildcats 50 to 29, marking the 15th time through 17 games that UT has managed a double-digit rebound margin.  Tennessee has now had 50+ rebounds in 11 games this season, and it’s the 29th time the Lady Vols have collected 50 or more rebounds during the Harper Era.   

Points From The Line

UT went 10 of 12 from the free-throw line, posting its highest free-throw percentage of the season at 83.3 percent.

UT-UGA Series Notes

UT enters Sunday’s contest with a 52-19 edge in the series. Tennessee has won 20 of the past 25, but UGA has claimed four of the past six meetings, including the last three in Athens.

Last year’s outcomes were decided by a combined three points, and the last three in Athens have been decided by a total of nine.

The Lady Vols are 23-5 in Knoxville and 15-3 at neutral sites all-time vs. the Lady Bulldogs. UT, though, is only 14-11 vs. Georgia in Athens.

Tennessee is 1-3 vs. UGA in overtime games.

The Lady Vols have a 14-3 postseason record against Georgia after winning in the 2015 SEC quarterfinals.
 
This is the 56th match-up when both teams were ranked. They have met twice with neither team ranked and 14 times when only one squad was in the polls.
 
This is Kellie Harper‘s fourth meeting with UGA as a head coach. She was 6-2 vs. the Lady Bulldogs as a player (1995-99) and 1-2 as coach.
 
Tennessee and Georgia met in the 1996 NCAA Championship game in Charlotte, with the Lady Vols prevailing, 83-64, in the first of three straight national championship seasons.

Tennessee and Georgia rank No. 1 and No. 2 in SEC regular season championships, with the Lady Vols owning 18 and the Lady Bulldogs having seven.

About The Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia is led by 6-4 graduate center Jenna Staiti (15.2 ppg., 7.9 rpg., 2.4 bpg.) and graduate guard Que Morrison (14.6 ppg., 4.6 rpg., 4.9 apg., 90 FT%).

Sophomore guard Sarah Ashlee Barker is right behind them at 9.7 ppg. and leads the team with 27 three-pointers.

UGA allows only 57.4 ppg. and 37.5 FG%. It also averages 9.2 steals and 6.3 blocks per game.

About Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor

Joni Taylor is in her seventh season in Athens as head coach and has a 134-68 record there.

She was the 2021 SEC Coach of the Year and a finalist for Werner Ladder Naismith National Coach of the Year a year ago.

Taylor played collegiately at Alabama (1997-2001).


Last Time The Georgia Bulldogs Played

After building a 27-point lead in the first half, No. 13 Georgia held off Mississippi State, 66-63, at Humphrey Coliseum on Thursday evening.

Redshirt senior Mikayla Coombs led Georgia in scoring with 13 points, highlighted by a clutch jumper that put the Lady Dogs in front 64-63 in the final minute. Que Morrison, who scored 12, hit two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to give the Lady Dogs the final 66-63 lead.

Rickea Jackson poured in 27 for Mississippi State, missing a potential game-tying three with three seconds remaining.

Georgia improved to 15-3 (4-2 SEC) while Mississippi State fell to 11-6 (2-3 SEC). 

The victory broke MSU’s six-game win streak in the series, and extended UGA’s winning streak on the season to three games. 

When Tennessee And Georgia Last Met

No. 21/21 Tennessee pulled within one in the final seconds at No. 22/23 Georgia but couldn’t overcome a tough day offensively, falling 57-55 in Stegeman Coliseum on February 21st, 2021.

Senior Rennia Davis led Tennessee (13-6, 7-4 SEC) with 22 points and six rebounds. Junior Rae Burrell turned in 10 points and five rebounds, and senior Kasiyahna Kushkituah pulled down 13 rebounds to tie her career-high.

Gabby Connally was the high scorer for Georgia (17-4, 9-4 SEC), finishing with 24 points. Que Morrison was also in double figures with 11 points, and Jenna Staiti grabbed 12 boards.


Next Up For UT Lady Vols Basketball

After trek to Athens, the next stop for the Tennessee women’s basketball team is Auburn, where the Lady Vols and Tigers will tussle on Thursday at 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT). The game will be streamed on SECN+.

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