Hoops Preview: Lady Vols vs. Central Arkansas

Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —  Tennessee, which is receiving votes in the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls, opens the home portion of its 2019-20 regular-season schedule on Thursday, Nov. 7, as the Lady Vols welcome the University of Central Arkansas to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 7:02 p.m. ET contest.

The Lady Vols enter the match-up with a 1-0 record after tipping off the season Tuesday night with a 72-68 win over upset-minded East Tennessee in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,881 at Freedom Hall in Johnson City.

Entering Thursday, UT is 42-3 in home openers through the years, winning its last 19 in a row. Tennessee also is 31-1 in home openers that have been played at Thompson-Boling Arena, losing only on Nov. 14, 1999, when a No. 6/6 Louisiana Tech squad defeated the No. 2/2 Lady Vols, 69-64.

UCA is meeting the Big Orange in that school’s season opener and does not have an exhibition game under its belt. The Lady Vols are 2-0 all-time in the series vs. Central Arkansas, playing previously in November of 2015 and 2017.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Thursday night’s game will be streamed on SECN+, with Bob Kesling (PxP) and Madison Blevins (Analyst) on the call.
  • The contest also can be heard on Lady Vol Network radio stations and by audio stream, with Mickey Dearstone calling the action for the 21st season.
  • 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 in the black bar at the top of the page.
  • Air time for games on the Lady Vol Radio Network generally occurs 30 minutes prior to tip-off.
  • SECN+ games are online broadcasts and are available only on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets.
  • All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) and the SEC Network 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.

PROMOS

  • Gates open at 6:00 p.m., and fans can enter at Gates A, C and E.
  • It’s Knox County Schools Night. Fans may donate two school supply items and receive one complimentary ticket. Donations benefit the Knox County School Supply Depot, supporting local teachers and education. Fans are asked to please bring all donations in a clear or disposable bag.
  • Kids 12 & younger can pick up a wristband at the Fan HQ table on the concourse to participate in the pregame High-5 tunnel. Wristbands are limited. To purchase discounted group tickets and reserve wristbands for your team, call 865-946-7000.
  • Spark the Summitt with tickets starting at just $5 on allvols.com.
  • Free parking and shuttle service will be available from UT’s Ag Campus. Shuttles begin two hours prior to tip-off.

RECAPPING OUR LAST GAME

  • The Lady Vols staved off a tenacious ETSU squad on Tuesday night, opening the Kellie Harper era with a gritty 72-68 win in front of a crowd of 5,881 at Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tenn.
  • Tennessee (1-0) was paced by junior Rennia Davis and freshman Tamari Key who each notched double-doubles. Davis ended the evening with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Key recorded 11 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Zaay Green led UT in scoring with 17 points.
  • ETSU (0-1) was led by Erica Haynes-Overton who poured in 41 points while pulling down 10 boards and snagging seven steals. E’Lease Stafford was also in doubles figures for the Bucs with 13.

LADY VOL LEFTOVERS FROM THE ETSU GAME

  • Newbies Get Things Started: Tennessee’s first 17 points vs. ETSU were scored by four Lady Vols playing in their first game (Lou Brown-9, Jordan Horston-4, Jaiden McCoy-2, Tamari Key-2). That quartet helped UT’s bench outscore ETSU’s bench during the game, 33-2.
  • Transfers Making Waves: Jaiden McCoy started the game for UT, becoming just the second transfer student to start in her debut. Shannon Bobbitt was the first in 2006. Meanwhile, Lou Brown came off the bench to pour in 11 points, making her one of just five transfers to score in double digits during her first game in orange.
  • TK Coming In Hot: Freshman Tamari Key made her presence known, pulling down 10 boards in the first half en route to a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in her Lady Vol debut. She became the eighth Lady Vol to record a double-double in her debut. She is only the sixth Lady Vol ever to record 10+ rebounds in her debut with only one other (Tiffani Johnson, 17) having ever recorded more than her 12.
  • Double-Double Davis: Junior Rennia Davis logged 13 points and 10 rebounds to record her first double-double of the season and the 19th of her career. She is now tied with Jaime Nared for 19th all-time in career double-doubles.
  • Owning The Glass: The Lady Vols out-rebounded the Bucs 62-29 and outscored them 19-2 in second-chance points via 25 offensive boards.

PRESEASON RECOGNITION

  • Junior wing Rennia Davis is a member of the Cheryl Miller Award Preseason Watch List, the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 and the Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List.
  • Davis was named to the SEC Coaches Preseason All-SEC First Team.
  • She was a second-team selection on the SEC Media Preseason squad.
  • Last season, Davis was an All-SEC Second Team choice by both the media and coaches.

UP NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE

  • Tennessee plays its third game in seven days on Monday, as the Lady Vols hit the road to take on No. 16/14 Notre Dame in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
  • UCA returns home to face Hendrix at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12.

ABOUT CENTRAL ARKANSAS

  • This marks the season-opening game for the Sugar Bears, with no known exhibition games under their belts.
  • Central Arkansas is led by head coach Sandra Rushing, who is 141-78 in seven years at the school and 545-333 in 29 seasons of coaching.
  • UCA has twice made the NCAA Tournament, last making the field in 2017.
  • The Sugar Bears return two starters and five total letterwinners from 2019-20 and welcome seven newcomers.
  • Top returnees include 5-7 senior guard Taylor Sells (7.0 ppg., 4.3 rpg.), 6-2 junior center Hannah Langhi (6.8 ppg., 4.5 rpg.) and 5-11 sophomore forward Alana Canady (6.6 ppg., 2.8 rpg.). Sells and Canady started 16 and 17 games, respectively, last season.
  • Langhi’s father is Dan Langhi, who was a 6-11 standout player at Vanderbilt from 1996-2000.

UCA’S LAST SEASON AT A GLANCE

  • UCA went 12-18 overall and 6-12 in the Southland Conference a year ago, finishing eighth in the league standings.
  • Senior guard Kamry Orr was the team’s leading scorer at 16.0 ppg. and also paced the team in free throws made (133), assists (107) and steals (77).

THE LAST TIME WE MET

  • No. 12/13 Tennessee made history on defense when it held Central Arkansas scoreless in the fourth quarter and to 10 total second-half points in a 77-34 victory on Nov. 30, 2017, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
  • The Sugar Bears (3-2) came into the game averaging 78.8 points per game on .504 shooting from the field, but the Lady Vols’ best defensive effort since the season-opening ETSU game limited Central Arkansas to only 23.7 percent shooting from the field. The zero points scored by UCA in the final stanza of the game was the first time UT (7-0) has ever held an opponent scoreless in a quarter. The 10 points allowed in the second half also stood as a program best.
  • The Lady Vols had three players score in the double digits for the game. Mercedes Russell collected her 33rd double-double of her career with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Anastasia Hayes filled the stat sheet with 14 points, three rebounds, four steals and four assists. Meme Jackson added 11 points.
  • Halfway through the first quarter, UT found itself down one, as Central Arkansas led 6-5. A 15-0 run that lasted until almost the second quarter, however, broke the game open and pushed UT’s lead to 22-8 by the end of the opening period.

UT Athletics

Blogs

Weather

  • Forecast
  • Currents
  • Planner