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HomeSportsTennessee Lady Vols take on Toledo next in NCAA Tournament

Tennessee Lady Vols take on Toledo next in NCAA Tournament

#24 Tennessee (24-11 | 13-2 SEC) vs. Toledo (29-4 | 16-2 MAC)
Monday, March 20th, 2023 | 5:00pm CT / 6:00pm ET
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: ESPN2

UT Lady VolsKnoxville, TN – No. 24/RV Tennessee (24-11), the No. 4 seed in the Seattle 3 Region, continues its 41st-straight NCAA Tournament journey, playing host to No. 12 seed Toledo (29-4) on Monday in the second round at 5:06pm CT at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The winner of that game will advance to the Seattle 3 Regional Sweet 16 at Climate Pledge Arena, where it will meet the victor of Sunday’s contest between No. 1 seed Virginia Tech (28-4) and No. 9 seed South Dakota State (29-5) on Saturday, March 25th.

The Lady Vols are serving as a host for the NCAA First and Second Rounds for the second year in a row, and this marks the 19th occasion UT has welcomed the NCAA First and Second Rounds to Rocky Top since that format was instituted in 1994.

The Big Orange women have won 20 of their past 26 games in 2022-23, with the only losses during that span coming at No. 3 Stanford (77-70), vs. No. 4 UConn (84-67), at No. 5 LSU (76-68), at Mississippi State (91-90 2OT), vs. No. 1/1 South Carolina (73-60) at home and vs. No. 1/1 South Carolina in the SEC Tournament championship game (74-58).

Head coach Kellie Harper led her squad threw a gauntlet of a schedule. She patiently put the pieces of the 2022-23 Lady Vol puzzle together, helping talented returnees and newcomers find their roles for this team and guiding them through absences of key players (Horston, Jackson, Hollingshead, Franklin) and the loss of two more (Key, Suárez) for the season.

Tennessee placed third in the SEC for the fourth-straight season, finished 13-3 for its highest league victory total since 2014-15, and advanced to its first SEC Tournament title game since 2015, with a 69-67 triumph over No. 4/3 LSU serving as a signature win.

The Lady Vols advanced to the NCAA Second Round by rolling past the Saint Louis Billikens, 95-50, on Saturday afternoon, putting four players in double figures and getting points from all 13 players who saw action.

Toledo, the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament champion, advanced and won its 17th straight game by pulling off the second NCAA #12/5 upset in the first round in as many seasons on The Summitt, taking down No. 5 seed Iowa State, 80-73, on Saturday. In 2022, it was Belmont shocking Oregon.

Tennessee and Toledo meet for the second time ever, but the first occasion during NCAA play, with the Lady Vols defeating the Rockets, 81-63, on December 18th, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii, during their initial matchup.

Broadcast Information

Monday’s game will be televised by ESPN2, with Pam Ward (PxP) and Stephanie White (Analyst) on the call.

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 stations and by audio stream, with Brian Rice on the call and Andy Brock serving as studio host. 

A link to the live audio stream can be found on the Hoops Central page or the 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 generally occurs 30 minutes prior to tip-off.

The broadcast also is available via SiriusXM Channels 138 or 206, and the SiriusXM App. Channel 969.

Promotions And Fan Information

Tickets are available at AllVols.com.

There are single-session options as low as $10 for adults and $5 for youth.

The first 500 UT students with a current student I.D. will be admitted free.

Gates C & E will be open to ticketed fans.

Free parking and shuttle service are available from the Ag Campus (Lot CF near Brehm & Food Science Bldgs. and S65/66 behind Vet Hospital).

For additional details and information, please call 865-974-1734 or visit the Fans tab on UTSports.com.

UT In First & Second Rounds

Tennessee is making its 41st appearance in the NCAA First/Second Rounds, and it owns a 62-5 record during games played in those rounds through March 18th.

The Lady Vols are 33-2 all-time in the NCAA First Round and 29-3 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 20th, 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 48-1 at home, 4-2 away and 10-2 at neutral sites.
 
The breakdown for that is 25-0 home/0-1 away/8-1 neutral for the first round and 23-1 home/4-1 away/2-1 neutral for the second round.

Lady Vol NCAA Experience

Tennessee returned nine players this season with 31 games of prior NCAA Tournament experience and welcomed two with eight games’ experience at other schools for totals of 11 players and 39 games.

After the game vs. Saint Louis, 13 players with 45 games of experience are active, with Tamari Key (5) and Jessie Rennie (2) sidelined for medical and injury reasons, respectively.

UT entered with nine players with NCAA experience in 2022 (but with Jordan Horston and Keyen Green inactive for the tourney) and only three in 2021.

Through the Saint Louis game, Jasmine Franklin leads the way for active players with seven NCAA games under her belt (6 at Missouri State), followed by followed by Tess Darby (6), Jordan Walker (6), Karoline Striplin (4), Sara Puckett (4), Kaiya Wynn (4),  Brooklynn Miles (4), Jordan Horston (3) and Jillian Hollingshead (3).

Active players with starts include Jasmine Franklin (6), Jordan Walker (6), Tess Darby (4), Jordan Horston (1), Rickea Jackson (1) and Karoline Striplin (1).

Rickea Jackson (18.0), Jordan Horston (12.3) Jasmine Franklin (9.9), Jordan Walker (9.0), Jordan Horston (8.0) and Jillian Hollingshead (6.3) have the highest scoring averages in NCAA play.

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As a freshman, Sara Puckett hit a game-deciding corner three-pointer with 17.5 seconds left to lift the Lady Vols to a second-round victory over Belmont.

Looking Back At The Saint Louis Game

Fourth-seeded Tennessee cruised to a decisive 45-point victory over 13th-seeded Saint Louis on Saturday afternoon, winning 95-50 in front of 6,871 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

With the win, Tennessee improved to 33-2 all-time in NCAA First Round games and is a perfect 25-0 in opening-round contests at home.

Senior Jordan Horston led UT (24-11, 13-3 SEC) in scoring with 21 points and eight rebounds. Senior Rickea Jackson turned in 18 on the day, graduate Jordan Walker finished with 11 points, three assists and three steals, and Tess Darby chipped in 10.

Brooke Flowers was the high scorer for the Billikens (17-18, 10-6 Atlantic 10) with 17 points. Camreé Clegg and Kyla McMakin were also in double figures with 12 and 11, respectively.

Big-Time Run

Tennessee held SLU scoreless for an elapsed time of eight minutes, 10 seconds, via a 29-0 run spanning from the 6:35 mark of the second quarter to the 7:56 mark of the third quarter.

It was Tennessee’s longest scoring run of the season and its third 20+ scoring run of 2022-23, having posted 22-0 streaks against both Rutgers and Wofford.

T3ss Climbing Career Lists

Tess Darby pitched in three treys against SLU, marking the 22nd time this season she has hit multiple treys in a game and the 12th time she has knocked down three or more.

Darby moved into a tie for ninth in single-season threes made all-time at UT, tying Meighan Simmons and Shannon Bobbitt with 69 each.

She upped her career total to 125, moving within eight treys of catching Sidney Spencer to land among the top-10 career totals in program history.

Points All-Around

Every active Lady Vol made it onto the court against SLU, and all 13 players contributed at least two points to the victory.

UT Lady Vol Odds & Ends

ON THE CUSP OF 25: At 24-11, Tennessee has reached the 20-win plateau for an incredible 46th time and is one win away from 25 for the 38th occasion.

HORSTON CHASING HER COACH: With 449 career assists, Jordan Horston has tied Michelle Marciniak for No. 8 on the UT career list and is three away from equaling Kellie (Jolly) Harper’s No. 7 total of 452 during her time at UT from 1995-99.

A-LIST SENIOR SCORER: Rickea Jackson’s 19.5 ppg. ranks No. 5 all-time for a UT senior behind Trish Roberts (29.9), Chamique Holdsclaw (21.3), Bridgette Gordon (20.4) and Cindy Brogdon (20.1).

JORDY IN RARE AIR: With 10 boards vs. LSU on 3/4, Jordan Horston (1,418/719/449) joined Alexis Hornbuckle (1,333/740/503) as the only Lady Vols to surpass 1,000 pts., 700 rebs. and 400 asts. in a career.

BEST FOR JOJO: Jordan Walker tied her year-old season career best of 115 assists.

MOST NCAA POINTS SINCE 2018: The Lady Vols’ 95 points vs. SLU were UT’s most since hitting 100 vs. Liberty on 3/16/18.

FEWEST ALLOWED SINCE 2014: The 50 points Tennessee allowed to Saint Louis in the first round were the fewest by a UT foe in NCAA play since Northwestern State managed only 46 on 3/22/14.

SECOND-MOST STEALS: UT’s 13 steals vs. Saint Louis were the second most of the campaign behind the 15 vs. Colorado.

GET IT & GO: UT’s 30 pts. off TOs and 27 fast break pts. vs. SLU were season highs.

DROPPING 20 IN A FRAME: After scoring 20+ points in three different quarters vs. SLU, UT has tallied 20 or more in 61 of 140 quarters, including 16 in the past 32 periods.

IMPROVEMENT AT THE LINE: Tennessee is shooting 86.4 percent (70-81) on free throws during its four postseason contests (SEC/NCAA) and has hit 77.0 percent (177-230) over its last 10 games.

TAKING AND MAKING THREES: The Lady Vols have shot 591 three-pointers and made 184 of them this season, with those numbers ranking No. 4 and No. 9 all-time in program history.

POTENT POSTSEASON PAIR: Rickea Jackson (23.8, 6.5) and Jordan Horston (19.5, 8.5) are combining for 43.3 of the Lady Vols’ 75.5 ppg. and 15.0 of their 38.0 rpg. in postseason play (NCAA/SEC).

JORDY & ‘KEA DROPPIN’ 20: Jordan Horston and Rickea Jackson have recorded 17 and 16 20-point scoring performances during their time at Tennessee, ranking No. 8 and 9 on school career lists. Jackson’s 16 such games in 2022-23 also rate as the ninth-best mark in a single season.

DARBY DROPPIN’ DAGGERS: Tess Darby has scored in double figures in seven of her past 10 games and is averaging 9.2 ppg. while shooting 48.9 percent on three-pointers over that time.

NCAA VET CHIPS IN: Jasmine Franklin’s previous NCAA experience was evident vs. SLU, as she contributed eight points, four boards and four steals off the bench.

PRODUCTIVE JOJO: Over her last 10 games, gritty point guard Jordan Walker is averaging 6.3 ppg., 4.4 rpg. and 3.9 apg. while hitting 81.0 percent of her free throws. She also leads UT with 20 charges taken this year.

Tennessee/Toledo Notes

Tennessee is 0-0 at home, 0-0 on the road, and 1-0 at neutral sites vs. Toledo.

The Lady Vols and Toledo have met only once previously, with No. 13/14 UT defeating the Rockets, 81-63, on December 18th, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

UT is 9-1 all-time vs. schools currently in the Mid-American Conference.

The Big Orange last faced a MAC team in the 2022 NCAA Tournament First Round in Knoxville, defeating Buffalo, 80-67, on March 19th.

This will mark Kellie Harper‘s second meeting with the Rockets in her four coaching stops, falling at Toledo, 67-61, on November 18th, 2006, during her time at Western Carolina.

UT graduate guard Jordan Walker was an All-MAC Third Team selection in 2019-20 during her three-season stint at Western Michigan.

Walker and Toledo senior guard Sophia Wiard both hail from Muskegon, Michigan, with Walker graduating from Mona Shores High School and Wiard a product of Oakridge High School.

A Look At The Rockets

Toledo is led by 5-10 senior guard Quinesha Lockett, who averages 17.8 ppg., 4.9 rpg., 3.6 apg.

Also scoring in double figures are Sammi Mikonowicz and Sophia Wiard, who produce 10.2 ppg, with Mikonowicz setting the team’s tone on the glass with 8.2 rpg and Wiard dishing 4.0 apg.

Lockett was named MAC Player of the Year and All-MAC First Team, while Sophia Wiard was All-MAC Third Team and Khera Goss was named to the All-Defensive Team.

Skipper Tricia Cullop was named MAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time in her career.

Among Toledo’s 29 wins are victories over Power 5 and NCAA Tournament and currently-ranked teams #18/18 Michigan (71-68) and now #17/20 Iowa State (80-73).

Toledo’s Last Game

Toledo captured one of its biggest wins in program history on Saturday, defeating No. 5 seed Iowa State 80-73 in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

The victory was the Rockets’ 17th straight win, a new school record, and propelled them into the second round of the Big Dance for the first time since the 1995-96 season.

Toledo’s win was also its largest upset triumph in terms of seeding in school history, and the performance matches the Mid-American Conference record for highest seed to win an NCAA Tournament game, last accomplished by No. 12 seed Ball State in 2009 vs. Tennessee.
 
UT also improved to 29-4 on the season, tying the school record for most wins in a campaign. Its 58 combined wins between this year and last are tied for the most wins in back-to-back seasons by a MAC school in league history.

Last Meeting Between Tennessee and Toledo

Bridgette Gordon fired in a game-high 19 points, Sheila Frost carded a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double in reserve, and Shelley Sexton chipped in 13 points, as No. 13/14 Tennessee defeated Toledo, 81-63, on December 18th, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Lady Vols shot 50.7 percent from the field and held the Rockets to 40.0 shooting.

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