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HomeSports#4 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball returns to Thompson-Boling Arena to play Arkansas

#4 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball returns to Thompson-Boling Arena to play Arkansas

#4 Tennessee (18-2 | 7-1 SEC) vs. Arkansas (14-6 | 4-3 SEC)
Monday, January 31st, 2022 | 6:02pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: SEC Network

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – After playing four of its last five games on the road, No. 4/5 Tennessee women’s basketball (18-2/7-1 SEC) is back at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday to host Arkansas (14-6/4-3 SEC) at 6:02pm CT.

The Lady Vols and Razorbacks will meet for the second time this year and for the 38th occasion as part of a series that dates back to 1992. UT came out on top of the first meeting this season, opening the SEC campaign 2-0 with a 70-63 victory in Fayetteville on January 2nd.

The Big Orange women are in the midst of a grueling stretch of their schedule, with six of eight contests from January 9th to February 6th taking place away from Knoxville. This week offers the challenge of playing three games in seven days, including road tilts at Florida and No. 10/9 UConn on Thursday and Sunday, respectively, after Monday’s match-up.

Tennessee had winning streaks of nine straight overall, nine consecutive in SEC play and seven in a row on the road ended at Auburn on January 27th, but the Lady Vols do bring a five-game active home spree into Monday night’s contest. UT fell to the Tigers, 71-61, as AU ended a 23-game SEC losing skid and handed Kellie Harper‘s squad its first SEC loss and second defeat overall this season.
 
Arkansas has won three straight and four of the past five after taking down No. 12/11 LSU on Thursday night in Fayetteville, 90-76. The Razorbacks have scored 90+ points in two of their past three contests. They knocked down 12 threes in the win over LSU.

Broadcast Information

Brenda VanLengen (play-by-play) and Aja Ellison (analyst) are on 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. He will be 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.

Game Promotions

UTK Faculty/Staff Appreciation: As a thank you for all they do, UT Knoxville faculty and staff may show their ID and receive two complimentary tickets at the ticket window on game day or in advance starting on Monday, January 24th. All UTK faculty/staff can also purchase additional tickets at a discounted rate.


Free parking and free shuttle service from the Ag Campus (Lot CF near Brehm & Food Science Buildings).

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.

Home Sweet Home

This is the 35th season that the Tennessee women’s and men’s basketball teams have called Thompson-Boling Arena their home, and the Lady Vols own a remarkable 487-51 record (.905) in the venue.

The Lady Vols have built a combined 640-75 (.895) home mark in contests played at Thompson-Boling Arena, Stokely Athletics Center and Alumni Gym.

Kellie Harper is 34-6 overall, 19-3 vs. non-conference foes and 15-3 in SEC play in games played on The Summitt through the match-up with Kentucky.

Tennessee ranks No. 6 nationally in average home attendance through 11 contests at 7,506.

Tennessee Lady Vols In SEC Play

UT is 421-89 (.825) in SEC regular-season games through Auburn, winning 18 regular-season championships and capturing 17 SEC tourney titles.

Tennessee Head Coach Kellie Harper is 26-11 in SEC games in her third year on Rocky Top, including 7-1 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.


UT No. 4 In NCAA Bracket Reveal

The NCAA Committee shared its first projected women’s tournament bracket of 2021-22 on Thursday night (1/27), highlighting the current top 16 seeds who can earn the right to host if they remain among those seeds when the official bracket is announced on Sunday, March 13th.

Tennessee was slotted at No. 4, holding a No. 1 seed in the Wichita Region.

Additional halftime reveals are scheduled for February 10th (South Carolina vs. Kentucky, 6:00pm CT, ESPN) and February 28th (Baylor vs. Iowa State, 6:00pm CT, ESPN2).

The first and second rounds take place on March 18th-21st, with First Four games slated for March 16th-17th.

Tennessee is vying to host for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

UT Lady Vols Projected For No. 2 Seed

In his Bracketology update on January 28th, ESPN’s Charlie Creme moved Tennessee to a No. 2 seed in the Wichita Region following the loss to Auburn. The Lady Vols are shown hosting No. 15 Mercer in the first round, with the winner facing No. 7 Duke or No. 10 Missouri State.

ESPN has the Big Orange at No. 3 in its January 24th Women’s College Basketball Power Rankings.

The NCAA NET Rankings show UT ranked No. 7 through January 27th, while the NCAA Toughest Schedule report had the Lady Vols at No. 14 (cumulative opposition).

RealTimeRPI.com has UT at No. 4 in RPI as of January 28th with a calculation of .6889 and No. 8 in strength of schedule.


About Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball

The Lady Vols continue to be one of the nation’s most surprising stories of 2021-22, opening up at 18-2, tied atop the SEC standings, and climbing to No. 4 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).

Burrell and Horston are back in form, but the Lady Vols lost another player for the season on January 23rd, when key reserve Keyen Green suffered a left knee injury vs. Georgia. Tess Darby, who missed the Georgia game due to COVID-19 protocols, returned to practice on January 25th and action on January 27th.

Tennessee picked up its fifth victory over a ranked team this season on January 23rd, as the Lady Vols came from nine down to defeat No. 13/13 Georgia in Athens, 63-55. 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), No. 25/23 Texas A&M (73-45) and No. 19/20 Kentucky (84-58) to their credit and beat RV/RV Virginia Tech (64-58) and RV/RV Ole Miss (70-58) on the road this season.

Tennessee is led by Jordan Horston, a dynamic 6-2 junior guard, who paces the team in scoring (15.8 ppg.), rebounding (9.6) and assists (3.8 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 nine double-doubles and has topped UT in scoring 11 times, including double-doubles in four of her last six games.

Tamari Key, a 6-6 junior center, is putting up 9.9 ppg. and 8.4 rpg. to go along with 3.8 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 20 games for the Lady Vols. She leads the nation in blocked shots (76) and is second in bpg. (3.80), sitting in UT’s single-season top 10 for the third time at No. 8 with 76 swats in 20 contests. She also ranks fifth (86, 2019-20, 31 games) and ninth (72, 2020-21, 25 games) on that list.
 
Alexus Dye, a 6-0 forward, is third among active UT players in scoring at 9.5 ppg. She is third in rebounding at 8.0 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.

Senior All-SEC First Team preseason pick Rae Burrell (7.2 ppg.) has seen action the past seven games after missing the previous 12 contests due to a leg injury suffered in the opener vs. Southern Illinois. She has hit double figures in three of the past four games, hitting 10+ for the first time since November 10th, tallying 11 at Vanderbilt, 14 vs. Kentucky, and 13 vs. Georgia. Burrell knocked down all four three-point attempts in the win over UK and was five of eight overall from the field.

Graduate guard Jordan Walker, who had 17 points vs. Auburn, is Tennessee’s fifth-highest scorer, putting up 7.8 ppg., while tallying 3.7 rpg. and 3.1 apg. to rank fourth and second for UT in those categories.

Freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett is UT’s sixth-leading scorer. The No. 43 espnW prospect coming out of high school is putting up 7.3 ppg. and is shooting 50.0 percent from the field, 34.0 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.

Sophomore Tess Darby emerged this season as Tennessee’s leading long-distance threat, connecting on 28 of 79 attempts (35.4).

The UT Lady Vols have limited unranked opponents to 30.5 field goal percentage this season, including 23.4 from the three-point arc, and have given up only 53.9 points per contest.

The Big Orange score 75.5 ppg. at Thompson-Boling Arena and 63.1 ppg. in away games.

UT is out-rebounding unranked foes by 18.6 this season, 49.9 to 31.2.
 
Tennessee has tallied 190 assists vs. 169 turnovers at home, as opposed to 79/148 on the road.
 
Over its last three games, Tennessee is shooting 75.5 percent from the free-throw line.
 
It also is hitting 41.7 on threes over the last three contests.
 
During that span, Jordan Horston is leading UT in scoring at 17.0 ppg., followed by Rae Burrell (11.7) and Jordan Walker (10.7).

Tennessee Notes During SEC Play

Kellie Harper‘s squad is now tied atop the SEC standings with No. 1/1 South Carolina at 7-1.

UT is scoring 68.5 ppg. and allowing 55.6 ppg., while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and holding opponents to only 31.5 percent on field goals.

Tennessee is out-rebounding SEC teams 48.8 to 35.5 for a +13.3 margin.

The Lady Vols have limited foes to shooting only 20.2 percent from the three-point arc, including games vs. noted three-ball teams Arkansas and Texas A&M.

UT has worked to elevate its free-throw shooting. It shot 59.2 vs. non-conference foes and has raised it to just under 70 percent at 69.6 in eight SEC games.

Jordan Horston (16.7 ppg., 10.0 rpg. and 3.7 apg.), Jordan Walker (9.8 ppg., 3.9 rpg., 2.9 apg.), Tamari Key (9.5 ppg., 7.0 rpg. and 4.1 bpg.), Alexus Dye (8.4 ppg., 7.3 rpg.) and Rae Burrell (8.4 ppg., 2.6 rpg.) have led Tennessee in its first eight conference games.

Key is shooting 65.0 percent from the floor and has blocked 33 shots already.

Also worth noting, Tess Darby (5.7 ppg.) is 12 of 29 on threes (41.4) during league play, while Jordan Walker is seven of 18 (38.9), Jordan Horston is six of 16 (37.5) and Rae Burrell is five of 14 (35.7).

Freshmen Brooklynn Miles (18.6) and Sara Puckett (17.9) are seeing significant minutes per game in SEC play for Tennessee.


Looking Back At The Last Game

No. 4/5 Tennessee suffered its first conference loss of the season on Thursday, falling 71-61 to Auburn at Auburn Arena.

Junior Jordan Horston led the Lady Vols (18-2, 7-1 SEC) in scoring with 21 points and eight rebounds, and graduate Jordan Walker tied her season-high of 17 points.

Aicha Coulibaly was the leading scorer for Auburn (9-10, 1-7 SEC) with 26 points. Sania Wells, Jala Jordan, and Annie Hughes were also in double figures with 13, 11, and 10, respectively. 

Notables From Tennessee’s Last Game

Go Jordy Go

With 21 points against Auburn, Jordan Horston turned in her fourth 20+-point performance of the season and second in SEC play. She is averaging a double-double in conference games at 16.7 ppg. and 10.0 RPG.

Cleaning The Glass

Tennessee won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding Auburn 43-30. UT has had double-digit rebound margins in 16 of 20 games this season and has been beaten on the boards only once by Stanford.

Tennessee-Arkansas Series Notes

Tennessee holds a 32-5 all-time record vs. Arkansas, dating back to February 29th, 1992, when UT prevailed, 105-59, in the initial meeting.

The Lady Vols are 15-2 in Knoxville, 15-3 in Fayetteville, and 2-0 at neutral sites.

UT has won six of the past eight meetings, but UA has taken two of the past four.

Tennessee is 1-1 in overtime and 2-0 in the postseason vs. UA, meeting for the first time in SEC Tournament play in 2016. UT prevailed, 68-51, in the second round in Jacksonville, FL, on March 3rd of that year.
 
UT’s only setbacks to the Razorbacks in Knoxville were both one-point losses. UA prevailed 72-71 in overtime on Feb. 23, 2012, and 80-79 on January 21st, 2019.
 
No. 1/1 Tennessee and unranked Arkansas met in an NCAA Final Four semifinal game in Kansas City, MO, on March 27th, 1998, and the Lady Vols cruised past the Razorbacks, 86-58, en route to their perfect 39-0 season.
 
Then the starting point guard for UT, Kellie (Jolly) Harper tallied 11 points, five assists, and three rebounds during 30 minutes of duty in that contest.

Harper finished her career with a 4-1 record vs. the Razorbacks as a player.

As a head coach, Harper is 4-3 all-time vs. Arkansas. She won her last two meetings vs. the Razorbacks while at Missouri State, including 69-54 in Fayetteville on December 2nd, 2015, and 64-62 in Springfield on December 11th, 2016.

This is the fourth meeting between Harper and Mike Neighbors as head coaches, with Harper getting the “W” earlier this season on January 2nd to improve to 2-1 vs. UA as UT’s skipper.

Arkansas assistant coach Lacey Goldwire was on the Tennessee payroll from 2019-21 before returning in 2021-22 to Mike Neighbors’ staff at Arkansas, where she worked from 2017-19 in his first two seasons as head coach in Fayetteville.

About the Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas (14-6/4-3 SEC) has won three straight games and four of its last five.

The Razorbacks are paced by four players scoring in double figures, including Makayla Daniels (15.0), Amber Ramirez (13.8), Sasha Goforth (11.2) and Samara Spencer (10.7).

Led by Ramirez’ 48 three-pointers made, UA has connected on 190 of 545 attempted treys this season for a 34.9 percentage.


About Arkansas Head Coach Mike Neighbors

Mike Neighbors is 92-56 in his fifth season as head coach of the Razorbacks and is 190-97 overall in nine years.

He spent his first four seasons as a head coach at Washington, where he guided the Huskies to a 98-41 mark and a 2016 NCAA Final Four appearance.

Last Time The Razorbacks Played

Arkansas (14-6, 4-3) secured the signature win of its season Thursday night in Bud Walton Arena, dominating No. 12 LSU (17-4, 5-3), 90-76.

The Hogs, who have now won three straight, went for 90+ points for the second time in their last three games and led by as many as 24 vs. LSU.

It’s the first-ranked win for Head Coach Mike Neighbors’ squad since February of last year when the Hogs beat No. 24 Mississippi State.

Redshirt senior guard Amber Ramirez was simply sublime in this one, going for 25 points, one shy of her season-high. She was efficient against LSU, hitting 10 of her 18 shots, including five or her eight threes. The lead guard duo of Makayla Daniels and Samara Spencer scored 20 points each in the victory.

When UT and UA Last Met

No. 7/9 Tennessee picked up a hard-fought win on the road on January 2nd, 2022, taking down the Razorbacks, 70-63, at Bud Walton Arena.


Tennessee (13-1, 2-0 SEC) had five players in double figures, with junior Tamari Key leading the team with 17 and graduate Alexus Dye recording a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Graduate Jordan Walker finished with 13, junior Jordan Horston had 12 and graduate Keyen Green rounded out the scoring with 11.

Amber Ramirez was the leading scorer for Arkansas (10-4, 0-1 SEC) with 26, while Makayla Daniels added 11.

Next Up For UT Lady Vols Basketball

After playing host to Arkansas, the Tennessee women’s basketball team heads back on the road for two to close out a three-game week.

The Lady Vols play at Florida on Thursday (5:00pm CT/SECN+) and then journey to Hartford, CT, to take on No. 10/9 UConn on Sunday (11:00am CT, FOX).

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