#7 Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball faces #3 Stanford at Thompson-Boling Arena
#7 Tennessee (9-0) vs. Stanford (7-2)
Saturday, December 18th, 2021 | 4:17pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: ESPN2
Knoxville, TN – No. 7/9 Tennessee women’s basketball team (9-0) and No. 3/3 Stanford (7-2) face off this weekend for the 38th time, including the 27th clash featuring both teams ranking among the nation’s top 10 in at least one of the major polls.
The Lady Vols and defending NCAA champion Cardinal, who didn’t play last season due to travel restrictions put in place for Stanford because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, renew their annual rivalry at 4:15pm CT Saturday in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee comes into the contest on the heels of a runaway 84-60 victory over Georgia State last Sunday in Knoxville that saw five Big Orange players score in double figures and both Tamari Key and Jordan Horston register double-doubles.
The Lady Vols have opened a campaign at 9-0 for the first time since 2017-18, the sixth occasion in the past 20 years, and the third time in the past 10.
Kellie Harper has forged her career-best start at 9-0, surpassing a 7-0 opening during her first year leading the Lady Vols in 2019-20.
Stanford comes to Rocky Top on a three-game winning streak, having defeated No. 2 Maryland, Pacific, and UC Davis in succession. The Cardinal toppled the Aggies, 68-42, at Maples Pavilion on Wednesday night before making the trek to Tennessee.
Head coach Tara VanDerveer’s squad suffered its only losses this season to No. 25 Texas on November 14th, 61-56, and to No. 18 South Florida on November 26th, 57-54. Those are teams that the Lady Vols defeated in back-to-back games by scores of 52-49 and 74-70 (OT), respectively, on November 15th and 21.
Beth Mowins (play-by-play) and Debbie Antonelli (analyst) will be on the call for the ESPN2 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.
SiriusXM Ch. SEC Radio (374) also will pick up the call.
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.
Holiday Hoops: Get $5.00 tickets for all price zones (excluding courtside), available in advance or on game day. Plus, $1.00 tickets are available for kids 12 & under.
Ooh, We Got It: Hot chocolate, that is, for $1.00.
Kids Day Out: Package includes two tickets, two t-shirts and a pregame event.
Free parking and free shuttle service from the Ag Campus (Lot CF near Brehm & Food Science Bldgs.).
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.
UT In Top In Both Polls
Tennessee has climbed to its highest position in the AP Poll and stayed the same in the USA TODAY/WBCA Coaches Polls, checking in at No. 7/9 on December 13th and 14th.
That’s the highest combination of ranking positions since the Lady Vols were No. 6/7 the week of January 18th in 2018.
In various preseason polls in 2021-22, Tennessee was ranked No. 12 in the USA TODAY/WBCA Coaches Poll, No. 15 by AP and Sports Illustrated, No. 16 by USA TODAY Sports and College Sports Madness, and No. 19 in the Lindy’s Sports Preseason Top 25.
The Lady Vols were picked second in the SEC Preseason Media Poll and No. 3 in the SEC Preseason Coaches Poll, marking their best positions since 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively.
Active Streaks vs. Ranked Teams
Tennessee is looking for its third straight win over a ranked team, following Ws over No. 23/22 South Florida and No. 12/21 Texas earlier this season.
The Lady Vols are looking for their second consecutive victory over a top-five-ranked squad, as they beat No. 2/3 South Carolina, 75-67, in Knoxville on February 18th, 2021.
Kellie Harper had one win over a ranked foe in her first season at Tennessee, four last year and two already in 2021-22. She is 5-3 vs. ranked teams at home as head coach of the Lady Vols.
Top-10 Match-Ups For Tennessee
This is the first top-10 match-up (both teams in the top 10) for Kellie Harper as a head coach.
This is Tennessee’s first top-10 match-up since December 18th, 2018, when No. 8/9 Stanford defeated No. 9/8 UT, 95-85, in Knoxville.
The Lady Vols are looking for their first win in a top-10 clash since January 14th, 2018, when No. 6/6 Tennessee defeated No. 9/8 South Carolina in Columbia, 86-70.
UT is looking for its first home win in a top-10 battle since January 8th, 2015, when No. 7/9 Tennessee took down No. 9/8 Texas A&M, 81-58, in Knoxville.
About the Tennessee Lady Vols
The Lady Vols are one of the nation’s biggest stories of 2021-22, remaining unbeaten even after losing returning starters Rae Burrell and Marta Suárez to injuries and opening the season with Jordan Horston on the sideline for a game.
Tennessee is among the nation’s best at rebounding and defending, but its offense is emerging with different members of the team stepping up each game.
Eight different players have scored in double figures this season, including seven who have done so in multiple games.
The Lady Vols have had at least one player record a double-double in every game this season.
UT has shown itself to be a tough, gritty team, coming from behind in the fourth quarter four times this season to win games (Southern Illinois, South Florida, Texas, Va. Tech).
Tennessee is led by 6-2 junior guard Jordan Horston, who paces the team in scoring (15.6 ppg.) and assists (3.9 apg.), while ranking second in rebounding (9.5 rpg.) in a breakout season.
Horston is second on the team with four double-doubles and has topped UT in scoring five times.Tamari Key, a 6-6 junior center, is putting up 9.7 ppg. and 10.2 rpg. to go along with 4.0 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 and her block average currently ranks No. 1 all-time among Lady Vols in a season and No. 2 in the nation. Key leads Tennessee with six double-doubles thus far, including in the past four games and six of the last seven.
Alexus Dye, a 6-0 forward, is third among active UT players in scoring at 9.2 ppg. She is third in rebounding at 8.2 rpg.
Freshman guard/forward Sara Puckett, graduate guard Jordan Walker, graduate forward/center Keyen Green and sophomore guard/forward Tess Darby average 8.0, 7.2, 6.4 and 4.8 ppg., respectively, with Walker and Darby starting alongside Key, Horston and Dye.
Freshman point guard Brooklynn Miles is UT’s eighth active player averaging double-figure minutes at 23.3, and she was effective as a ball-handler and defender before becoming a scorer in game nine. She hit for a season-high 11 points vs. Georgia State last Sunday, hitting three of five field goal attempts.
UT-Stanford Series Notes
This is the 38th all-time meeting between these programs, and the Lady Vols own a 25-12 record vs. the Cardinal in a series that dates back to December 18th, 1988.
This will mark the 36th time these teams have played when both schools are ranked in the top 25 of at least one of the polls and the 27th occasion when both were in the top 10.
Tennessee is 13-3 in Knoxville vs. Stanford, 6-0 at neutral sites and 6-9 at Maples Pavilion.
One of those neutral-site wins for Tennessee, came in the Lady Vols’ run to NCAA Championship trophy number eight, when the Lady Vols defeated Stanford, 64-48, on April 8th, 2008, in Tampa, FL.
The programs have combined for 11 National Championships (UT 8, SU 3), 32 NCAA Final Fours (UT 18, SU 14), and 2,566 victories (UT 1,410, SU 1,156), with the late UT legend Pat Summitt and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer responsible for much of the growth the game of women’s basketball as enjoyed through the years.
The Lady Vols and Cardinal have split their last six meetings, with UT taking two of the past three on The Summitt.
Tennessee won 11 games in a row over their West Coast foes from 1997-2006, but the series has tilted 8-6 in Stanford’s favor since then, with UT, though, posting a 4-2 mark at home.
UT and SU have needed overtime to settle scores in six contests, with the club from Rocky Top holding a 4-2 record. Tennessee is 2-0 in OT games played in Knoxville, 1-2 at Stanford and 1-0 at neutral sites.
UT is 68-23 all-time vs. schools currently in the Pac-12 Conference, falling at Stanford, 78-51, on Dec. 18, 2019, in the Lady Vols’ last match-up with an institution from that league.
About the Stanford Cardinals
Stanford returned 12 letterwinners and four starters from last season’s NCAA Championship and Pac-12 winning squad, which finished 31-2 overall and 19-2 in league play.
Stanford has four players on preseason watch lists for positional awards announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Lexie Hull (Ann Meyers Drysdale Award), Haley Jones (Cheryl Miller Award), Fran Belibi (Lisa Leslie Award), and Cameron Brink (Katrina McClain Award).
Brink, Hull, and Jones were also named to player of the year watch lists for the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award, while Brink and Jones garnered attention for the Wade Trophy.
Leading Stanford in scoring and rebounding is Brink at 15.3 ppg. and 8.3 rpg. Jones and Hull put up 10.4 and 9.9 ppg.
About Standford Head Coach
The Cardinal is directed by Tara VanDerveer, who is in her 36th season at the school (980-206) and in her 43rd year as a head coach (1,132-257).
VanDerveer already is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2011) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2002).
She is a five-time national coach of the year (1988, 1989, 1990, 2011, 2021) and 16-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, leading Stanford to NCAA titles in 1990, 1992 and 2021).
Tennessee’s Last Game Against Stanford
Hannah Jump had 17 points, six rebounds, and three steals, and No. 3 Stanford overcame a slow offensive start to run away from UC Davis for a 68-42 victory Wednesday night in its final home game of the non-conference schedule.
Cameron Brink, coming off a career-best 25 points in Sunday’s 91-62 win against Pacific, added 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Lacie Hull finished with 10 points.
When UT And SU Last Met
The No. 23/24 Lady Vols suffered their second loss of the season at top-ranked Stanford on December 19th, 2019, falling in Maples Pavilion, 78-51.
Tennessee (8-2) was led by junior Rennia Davis, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
Kiana Williams led Stanford (10-0) with 19 points and seven assists. Sophomore Lexie Hull and freshman Ashten Prechtel were also in double figures for the Cardinal with 11 and 10, respectively.
Next Up For Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball
The Tennessee women’s basketball team is in a stretch where it plays five in a row at home during the month of December, and the next one is the final game before the team gets a holiday break.
The UT Lady Vols will play host to East Tennessee State on Monday at 5:30pm CT (SECN+) before the players head home.
The post-break slate features Chattanooga on The Summitt at 5:30pm CT on December 27th, and Alabama opening SEC play vs. UT in Knoxville at 5:30pm on December 30th.
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