#13 Tennessee (19-4 | 8-2 SEC) vs. Missouri (16-7 | 5-5 SEC)
Thursday, February 10th, 2022 | 5:32pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: SEC Network
Knoxville, TN – No. 13/10 Tennessee women’s basketball (19-4/8-2 SEC) is back home for two games this week after playing six of its past eight contests on the road.
The Lady Vols welcome Missouri (16-7/5-5 SEC) to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 5:30pm CT contest on Thursday.
UT is happy to be back on a regular schedule after facing three games last week, including a Monday home date vs. Arkansas and road contests on Thursday and Sunday at RV/RV Florida and No. 10/9 UConn, respectively.
The Lady Vols, who have dropped three of their last four, are coming off a 75-56 setback vs. No. 10/9 UConn in Hartford, Conn., on Sunday. They did, however, secure an 86-83 overtime victory over Arkansas the last time they played on The Summitt on January 31st.
Missouri, meanwhile, has dropped two of its last three and is coming off a 61-45 home loss to Ole Miss last Thursday. The Tigers, though, opened SEC play at home back on December 30th by shocking No. 1/1 South Carolina, 70-69, in overtime.
Eric Frede (play-by-play) and Tamika Catchings (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network television 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.
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Tennessee In SEC Play
UT is 422-90 (.824) in SEC regular-season games through Florida, winning 18 regular-season championships and capturing 17 SEC tourney titles.
Tennessee Head Coach Kellie Harper is 27-12 in SEC games in her third year on Rocky Top, including 8-2 in 2021-22, and is 2-2 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.
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 35-6 overall, 19-3 vs. non-conference foes, and 16-3 in SEC play in games played on The Summitt through the match-up with Arkansas.
Tennessee ranks No. 6 nationally in average home attendance through 12 contests at 7,469.
UT No. 13/10 In Polls
After opening the year ranked No. 15/12, the Lady Vols climbed to No. 4 in the January 24th AP Poll and hit a best of No. 5 in the January 25th USA TODAY/WBCA Coaches Poll. This week, they stand at No. 13 in the AP Poll and No. 10 in the Coaches Poll.
The No. 4/5 plateau was the highest combination of rankings since the UT Lady Vols were No. 4/5 in the Nov. 23 and 24 polls of the 2015-16 campaign.
UT began that 2015-16 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.
UT Lady Vols Projected No. 3 Seed
In his Bracketology update on February 8th, ESPN’s Charlie Creme has Tennessee as a No. 3 seed in the Bridgeport Region. The Lady Vols are shown hosting No. 14 Charlotte in the first round, with the winner facing No. 6 North Carolina or No. 11 Kansas in the second.
ESPN has the Big Orange at No. 11 in its February 7th Women’s College Basketball Power Rankings.
The NCAA NET Rankings show UT ranked No. 17 through February 7th, while the NCAA Toughest Schedule report had the Lady Vols at No. 15 (cumulative opposition).
RealTimeRPI.com has UT at No. 5 in RPI as of Feb. 4 with a calculation of .6743 and No. 9 in strength of schedule.
About the Tennessee Lady Vols
Tennessee has dealt with more than its fair share of injuries in 2021-22. While the Lady Vols were able to overcome some of their misfortunes, they are now working on a plan to move past another setback.
The latest injury occurred on January 23rd at Georgia, when reserve forward/center and team leader Keyen Green (7.0 ppg., 3.2 rpg.) was lost for the year due to a knee injury.
Marta Suárez, a 6-2 guard/forward (4.1 ppg., 3.6 rpg.), another glue-type player for this program, already was sitting out the year due to an injury, so Green’s loss even more severely affected Tennessee’s depth.
UT’s top returnee, preseason All-SEC pick Rae Burrell, suffered a knee injury in game one and missed 12 games before gradually working her way back into the lineup. Her 10.2 ppg., 2.9 rpg. stat line, however, has yet to reach last season’s 16.8 ppg., 4.6 rpg. productivity.
All of that said, the Lady Vols still stand at 19-4 overall and 8-2 in SEC play as they prepare to close out the regular season with four of the final six contests on their home court.
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 statistically by Jordan Horston, a dynamic 6-2 junior guard, who paces the team in scoring (16.2 ppg.), rebounding (9.3), assists (3.7 apg.) and steals (1.5) in a breakout season for the five-star player who came out of high school ranked No. 2 overall and the No. 1 guard in the 2019 espnW HoopGurlz 100.
Horston, who has made the top 10 list for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award and the midseason list for the Naismith Trophy, leads the Lady Vols with 10 double-doubles and has topped UT in scoring 13 times.
Senior All-SEC First Team preseason pick Rae Burrell (10.2 ppg., 2.9 rpg.) has seen action the past 10 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 five of the past seven games, hitting 10+ for the first time since Nov. 10 with 11 at Vanderbilt on Jan. 13 and carding a season-high 21 vs. Arkansas on Jan. 31.
Over her last five games, Burrell is putting up 12.4 ppg. and 4.4 rpg., including 11 points vs. UConn.
Tamari Key, a 6-6 junior center, is putting up 9.9 ppg. and 8.1 rpg. to go along with 3.5 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 12 games for the Lady Vols. She leads the nation in blocked shots (81) and is second in bpg. (3.52), sitting in UT’s single-season top 10 for the third time at No. 7 with 81 swats in 23 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 fourth among UT players in scoring at 8.9 ppg. She is third in rebounding at 7.3 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 10 times, including a team-high 10 points vs. Florida.
Freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett is UT’s sixth-leading scorer. The No. 43 espnW prospect coming out of high school is putting up 7.4 ppg. and is shooting 48.6 percent from the field, 34.5 percent on threes, and 77.8 percent on free throws and has scored in double figures six times, including a critical 10-point, 10-rebound double-double in the win over Arkansas on January 31st.
Sophomore Tess Darby has emerged this season as Tennessee’s leading long-distance threat, connecting on 32 of 89 attempts (36.0 pct.). Sara Puckett (34.5) and Jordan Walker (33.5) have hit 20 and 19 treys, respectively.
Jordan Horston is putting up 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in nine home games.
Burrell is hitting 50 percent (8-16) on threes at T-BA.
Tennessee is outscoring opponents 76.3 to 56.6 at home, outshooting them 42.5 percent to 31.4 and outrebounding them 52.3 to 35.1.
UT is averaging 7.0 blocks per contest at home, led by Tamari Key at 4.4 bpg.
Tennessee Notes During SEC Play
Kellie Harper‘s squad holds down second place in the SEC standings, trailing No. 1/1 South Carolina (9-1) by a game at 8-2.
UT is scoring 69.3 ppg. and allowing 61.2 ppg., while shooting 41.4 percent from the field and holding opponents to only 34.3 percent on field goals.
Tennessee is out-rebounding SEC teams 48.8 to 36.4 for a +12.4 margin.
The UT Lady Vols have limited SEC foes to shooting only 23.0 percent from the three-point arc, including games vs. noted three-ball teams Arkansas (twice) 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 68.4 percent in 10 SEC games.
Jordan Horston (16.2 ppg., 9.3 rpg. and 3.6 apg.) leads the team statistically against league competition, followed by Rae Burrell (9.9 ppg., 3.1 rpg.), Tamari Key (9.8 ppg., 7.3 rpg.) Jordan Walker (9.4 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 3.0 apg.) and Alexus Dye (8.1 ppg., 6.6 rpg.).
Key is shooting 58.2 percent from the floor vs. SEC foes and has blocked 37 shots already for a 3.7 blocks per game average.
Horston Getting Awards Attention
Jordan Horston was among 30 players named to the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Midseason Watch List on February 8th.
That same day, Horston was announced as being among the top 10 for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, which goes to the nation’s top shooting guard.
Horston was among 20 candidates named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Watch List on January 31st.
The movement onto the Wooden and Naismith lists came due to Horston’s performance this season, as she was not on the preseason radar for either award.
Looking Back At The Last Game
Junior Jordan Horston turned in a game-high 26 points, but No. 7/7 Tennessee came up short at No. 10/9 Connecticut, falling 75-56 in the XL Center in Hartford on Sunday.
For the Lady Vols (19-4, 8-2 SEC), senior Rae Burrell joined Horston in double figures with 11 points on the day.
UConn (15-4, 9-0 Big East) was led by Azzi Fudd with 25, while Aaliyah Edwards and Evina Westbrook each turned in 14.
Notables From UT Lady Vols Last Game
Horston Gonna Hoop
Jordan Horston turned a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds against No. 10/9 UConn for her sixth performance of 20+ points this season and third in the last four games. Against opponents ranked in the Top 25, she is averaging 20.7 ppg., 10.7 rpg., and 4.0 apg.
Making Free Throws Count
Tennessee went 19-of-21 from the free-throw line for a season-best 90.5 percent free-throw shooting percentage. UT’s previous best performance from the charity stripe was 83.3 percent against Kentucky on January 16th.
Tennessee-Missouri Series Notes
The Lady Vols hold a 12-3 all-time record vs. Missouri, dating back to January 14th, 1978, with Tennessee winning the past four meetings.
Against Mizzou, the Lady Vols are 5-1 in games played in Knoxville, 5-2 in Columbia, and 2-0 at neutral sites.
UT owns a 9-3 mark against Missouri since the Tigers joined the SEC. Robin Pingeton has been the head coach in Columbia that entire time, and this is Kellie Harper‘s third season leading the UT Lady Vols.
Tennessee beat MU, 84-39, in Knoxville on Jan. 10, 2013, in their first-ever SEC meeting. Later that season Mizzou evened the score, defeating UT, 80-63, in Columbia.
Four of the past six meetings between these schools have resulted in a four-point game in Columbia in 2018 (MU, 77-73), two-point differentials in Knoxville (MU, 66-64) and Columbia (UT, 62-60) in 2019 and a five-point UT win (78-73) in 2021.
The 78 points Tennessee scored against MU in 2021 were the most since the Lady Vols raced past the Tigers, 84-39 in 2013.
Kellie Harper has started her coaching stint at UT with a 3-0 mark vs. Mizzou.
Harper is 5-4 vs. Missouri, with the first two wins coming while leading Missouri State (2-4 vs. MU) from 2013-19.
Harper is 2-2 in home games, 1-2 away and 2-0 at neutral sites vs. the Tigers.
Missouri State won it’s first two vs. Mizzou under Harper’s tutelage in 2013 and 2014 and lost a four-point decision to the Tigers in 2018-19 at Columbia, 65-61 before the Bears got their train rolling toward a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16.
Tennessee’s Marta Suárez and Missouri’s Mama Dembele were schoolmates at Joaquim Blume Institute and teammates in Spain’s LF2 League with Segle XXI Barcelona.
About the Missouri Tigers
Missouri is paced by a trio of players scoring in double figures, including guard Aijha Blackwell (15.9 ppg., 13.3 rpg.), forward Hayley Frank (15.2 ppg.) and guard Lauren Hansen (11.7 ppg.).
The Tigers have fired off 484 three-point attempts this season, connecting on 190 of them for 39.3-percent accuracy. They make an average of 8.3 per contest.
Frank and Hansen have hit 58 and 50 treys, respectively, in 2021-22 to lead the way.
About Missouri Head Coach Robin Pingeton
Robin Pingeton is in her 12th season at Missouri and in her 27th year as a head coach, possessing a 205-161 mark while in Columbia and a 540-318 record overall.
Pingeton has led her teams to six NCAA Tournament berths and 18 postseason appearances.
Last Time The Tigers Played
Missouri (16-7, 5-5 SEC) fell in a physical battle to No. 25 Ole Miss (18-4, 6-3 SEC) 61-45 last Thursday afternoon at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers got off to a slow start and were not able to overcome it despite shooting 45 percent from the field. LaDazhia Williams paced the Tigers, scoring 24 points.
Ole Miss took over from the start with an opening 6-0 run, ultimately maintaining a double-digit advantage throughout the entirety of the game. Mizzou chipped away, cutting the lead down to 10 in the second quarter, but the Tigers struggled to get in a consistent rhythm.
Aijha Blackwell snagged 10 rebounds on the day, the 12th consecutive game she has accomplished the feat. She did not record a double-double for the first time in 11 games.
When UT And Mizzou Last Met
Senior Rennia Davis scored all 26 of her points in the second half, including 20 in the fourth quarter, leading No. 20/21 Tennessee to a 78-73 win over Missouri at Mizzou Arena on February 24th, 2021.
Missouri (8-10, 4-9 SEC) was led by Haley Troup and Aijha Blackwell with 16 points each. Shannon Dufficy and Shug Dickson were also in double figures with 10 points apiece.
Next Up For UT Lady Vols Basketball
The Tennessee women’s basketball team welcomes Vanderbilt to Rocky Top on Sunday for a 11L00am CT contest that will be televised by SEC Network.
The Vandy contest is UT’s Play4Kay Game, and both teams will don pink as part of their uniform combinations to bring awareness to the urgent need for research and funding toward the battle against breast cancer.