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#18 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball takes on Buffalo in First Round of NCAA Tournament

#18 Tennessee (23-8 | 11-5 SEC) vs. Buffalo (25-8 | 16-4 MAC)
Saturday, March 19th, 2022 | 2:00pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: ABC

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – No. 18/17 Tennessee women’s basketball (23-8), which remained perfect in NCAA Tournament participation by earning the program’s 40th-straight invitation to March Madness, will play host to the NCAA First and Second Rounds on March 19th and 21st.

UT is hosting the NCAA First and Second Rounds for the first time since the 2018 tournament.

The Lady Vols were selected as a No. 4 seed in the Wichita Region and will meet No. 13 seed Buffalo (25-8) in the NCAA First Round on Saturday in Knoxville. Tip-off is slated for 3:00pm CT at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will be televised by ABC and carried by the Lady Vol Radio Network and on SiriusXM.

In the other Knoxville first-round game in the bracket opposite UT and UB on Saturday, No. 5 seed Oregon (20-11) meets No. 12 seed Belmont (22-7) at 5:30pm.
 
The winner of those games will advance to the NCAA Second Round and play on Monday at the same venue. Tip time and TV information will be announced after Saturday’s NCAA games are completed.
 
Louisville is the No. 1 seed in the Wichita Region, while Baylor and Michigan hold down the No. 2 and 3 seeds.

Broadcast Information

Eric Frede (play-by-play) and Tamika Catchings (analyst) will have the call for ABC.

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 for his final regular-season home game. 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 the Vol Network Affiliates tab.

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

The contest also will be available on satellite radio on  SiriusXM channel 133 or 201 and on the SXM app on channel 964.


Tickets

Tickets to the NCAA First and Second Rounds in Knoxville may be purchased at AllVols.com.

Current UT students will receive a free ticket for the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Women’s Tournament for the session(s) in which UT is playing. Students must show a current UT ID at the Gate B Ticket Office window starting two hours prior to tip-off.

Free parking and shuttle from the Ag Campus in parking area CF (across from Brehm and Food Science).

Fans with a current valid accessible placard or license plate may park on the Ag Campus in lot CF (across from Brehm and Food Science) and take the shuttle, which is fully accessible for those with disabilities (purple star).

Limited $10.00 parking is available in G-10 (Neyland Drive or Phillip Fulmer Way entrances), G3, G4, G5-30, and Staff 30-A (Peyton Manning Pass entrance).

Tennessee’s NCAA Tournament History

As mentioned, the Lady Vols are making their 40th appearance in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, and UT is the only program to appear in all 40 tournaments.

Tennessee was an at-large qualifier for the NCAA Tournament field, finishing third in the Southeastern Conference regular season for the third-straight season and bowing out in the semifinal round of the league tourney to No. 7 seed Kentucky, the eventual champion.

UT earned a No. 4 seed for only the second time ever and has a 3-1 record in that role after defeating Iowa, Georgia and LSU before falling to USC in the NCAA Final Four semifinals in 1986 in Lexington, KY.

The Lady Vols are 126-31 in NCAA Tournament play, and they rank first in games played (157) and victories (126) in NCAA tourney history.

Tennessee is second behind UConn in winning percentage at .803 in tourney play.

UT is 1-1 in NCAA play under Kellie Harper, making its first appearance with her at the helm in 2021 after the tourney was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health pandemic.

Tennessee has advanced to the NCAA regional round on 34 occasions, posting a 28-6 record in the Sweet 16.

The only seasons UT did not make the regional level were in 2009 and from 2017 to 2021. UT lost its opening-round contest as a No. 5 seed to No. 12 Ball State in Bowling Green, KY, in 2009. No. 5 seed UT lost its second-round game at No. 4 seed Louisville in 2017. No. 3 seed UT lost its second-round game to No. 6 seed Oregon State in Knoxville in 2018. No. 11 seed Tennessee fell to No. 6 seed UCLA in the first round at College Park, MD, in 2019. No. 3 seed UT dropped a 70-55 second-round decision to No. 6 seed Michigan in 2021.
 
UT has made the Elite Eight 28 times and in five of the past 10 tournaments, posting an 18-10 record in that round.

The Lady Vols have seen their season end in the regional championship game in five of the past 10 years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016).

UT has advanced to 18 NCAA Final Fours and won eight of them (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2008), ranking second to UConn.

Tennessee has finished second in the nation five times and third on five more occasions.

In drawing Buffalo, UT will be playing its 89th different opponent during all rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

UT In First and Second Rounds

Tennessee is making its 40th appearance in the NCAA First/Second Rounds, and it owns a 59-5 record during games played in those rounds.

The Lady Vols are 31-2 all-time in the NCAA First Round and 28-3 in the NCAA Second Round.

The only blemishes are a first-round loss to Ball State, 71-55, in Bowling Green, Ky., on March 22nd, 2009, a second-round setback to Louisville, 75-64, in Louisville, Ky. on March 2th0, 2017, a second-round loss to Oregon State, 66-59, in Knoxville, on March 18th, 2018, a first-round ouster by UCLA, 89-77, on March 23rd, 2019, in College Park, MD., and a second-round loss to Michigan, 70-55, in San Antonio, Texas, on March 23rd, 2021.

In NCAA First/Second Round play, Tennessee is 45-1 at home, 4-2 away, and 10-2 at neutral sites.

The breakdown for that is 23-0 home/0-1 away/8-1 neutral for the first round and 22-1 home/4-1 away/2-1 neutral for the second round.


UT vs. The NCAA Field

Tennessee has played 16 games vs. 14 different teams in the 2022 NCAA Tournament field.

The UT Lady Vols are 10-6 vs. those opponents.

Tennessee was 5-2 vs. non-conference NCAA Tournament-qualifying foes this season, defeating Kansas, South Florida, Texas, UCF, and Virginia Tech and falling to Stanford and UConn.

The Big Orange had a 5-4 record vs. SEC teams that made the NCAA Tournament, defeating Arkansas (twice), Georgia, Kentucky, and Ole Miss, while falling to Florida, Kentucky, LSU, and South Carolina.

The SEC placed eight teams in the tournament, which tied for most of any league (with the ACC).

The SEC’s teams going dancing in 2022 include Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss South Carolina and Tennessee.

UT Lady Vol NCAA Experience

As opposed to last season, when only three Tennessee players possessed NCAA Tournament experience entering the Big Dance, nine members of this year’s roster have played in NCAA contests.

Rae Burrell leads the way with three NCAA games under her belt, followed by Tess Darby (2) Tamari Key (2), and Jordan Walker (2).

Burrell averaged 16.5 ppg. and 6.0 rpg. in 2021 and has put up 11.0 ppg. and 4.0 rpg. for her career.

Walker averaged 10.5 rpg. last season after pulling down 14 caroms vs. Middle Tennessee.
 
Jordan Horston, who has been out due to injury, possesses two as well, while Keyen Green (out for the season) played in one while at Liberty.
 
Alexus Dye, who tallied 26 points and 11 rebounds for Troy last year vs. Texas A&M, has one tourney game to her credit. So do Jessie Rennie and Emily Saunders.

Recapping The Last Game

Graduate Alexus Dye put up a game-high 26 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a Kentucky team that hit six first-quarter treys as No. 18/15 Tennessee fell on March 5th in the semifinals of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, 83-74.

Dye managed her second straight double-double with a season-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Rae Burrell also was in double figures for third-seeded Tennessee (23-8) with 16 points on the day.

Rhyne Howard led seventh-seeded Kentucky (18-11) in scoring with 24 points, while Robyn Benton and Jada Walker each turned in 16.

UT Notables From The Last Contest

Key is Queen

Tamari Key took sole possession of Tennessee’s single-season blocks record, swatting two shots against Kentucky to move her season total to 115. She trails Candace Parker (275), UT’s leader in career blocks, by only two. 

Have A Day, Dye

Graduate Alexus Dye put up a season-high 26 points against UK while grabbing 10 boards to turn in her second straight double-double.

Walker Dishing

Graduate Jordan Walker doled out a career-high 10 assists against the Wildcats. Her previous high of nine came at Western Michigan against Akron on January 25th, 2020. Prior to tonight, her high against an SEC opponent was seven, set against MSU on February 24th.

Dye Picking Up The Slack

In the five contests since Tennessee lost Jordan Horston, its leading rebounder, Dye has picked up her activity on the boards, averaging 10.0 rpg. over that stretch.


Tennessee-Buffalo Series Notes

While Buffalo and Tennessee have never met in women’s hoops, the Lady Vols are 8-1 vs. schools in the Mid-American Conference.

UT is 0-1 vs. MAC schools in the NCAA Tournament, with the only loss ever to that league occurring on March 22, 2009, when Ball State toppled the Lady Vols, 71-55, in Bowling Green, KY, in the NCAA First Round.

That was UT’s first-ever loss in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

UB’s Dominique Camp and Tennessee’s Alexus Dye were teammates last season at Troy and helped the Trojans to the NCAA Tournament.

Bulls freshman forward Laney Bone is from Chattanooga and attended Silverdale Baptist Academy.

Buffalo senior guard Jazmine Young is a transfer from Tennessee State.

Young started and played 19 minutes for TSU against the Lady Vols on The Summitt on November 14th, 2019, tallying three rebounds, two assists, and a steal with no points.

A Look At The Bulls

The University at Buffalo is led by dynamic 5-foot-5 junior guard Dyaisha Fair, who averages 23.4 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 4.3 apg. and 2.1 spg. while hitting 88 three-pointers on the season.

She is joined by fellow standouts in 6-0 freshman guard Georgia Woolley (14.6 ppg., 48 3FGs) and 6-1 graduate forward Summer Hemphill (13.1 ppg., 10.4 rpg.).

The Bulls have won their last nine contests and 14 of their past 15 since a three-game skid from January 22nd-26th.

UB played South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Syracuse back-to-back-back at the Battle 4 Atlantis, falling 88-60 and 93-72, respectively, to the first two foes before taking down the Orange, 88-79.

Syracuse happens to be the alma mater of Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack.


About Buffalo Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack

Felisha Legette-Jack is in her 10th season as the head coach at Buffalo.

Legette-Jack is 202-115 during her tenure with the Bulls and is 343-278 overall in 19 years as a head coach.

She also directed programs at Hofstra (2002-06) and Indiana (2006-12).

Legette-Jack was hired in 2012 by her (then) athletics director at UB, Danny White. On Saturday, she’ll be facing White’s current employer, which happens to be the University of Tennessee.

Buffalo’s Last Game

The University at Buffalo women’s basketball team held off Ball State, 79-75, to claim the 2022 Mid-American Conference Championship at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on March 12th.

Dyaisha Fair (30) and Georgia Woolley (29) combined to score 59 of the team’s 79 points to help the Bulls win their third MAC title in six years.

Buffalo held a 53-50 lead entering the fourth quarter, and that’s when Fair and Woolley took over. The pair combined to score all 26 fourth-quarter points for the Bulls. With the game tied, 53-53, Woolley drained a three from the top of the key to put UB ahead for good. 

Fair was named the MAC Tournament MVP and became UB’s all-time leading scorer as well as the first player in program history to surpass 2,000 career points.

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