Hoops Preview: #20/25 Lady Vols vs. Air Force

Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —  The Lady Vols (6-0), who are ranked 20th in this week’s AP Poll and debuted on Nov. 26 at No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, welcome Air Force (1-6) to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 2:02 p.m. ET contest on Sunday.

This marks Tennessee’s first matinee of the season after opening with seven straight 7:02 p.m. tips, including the exhibition. The Lady Vols are playing their fourth of six straight games on Rocky after opening with two of the season’s first three contests on the road.

After facing Air Force (Dec. 1), UT welcomes Texas (Dec. 8) and Colorado State (Dec. 11) to The Summitt. The Air Force game is part of UT’s Salute to Service Week, while the Texas match-up is part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

The meeting with the Falcons is the first-ever between the programs in women’s hoops.

Tennessee stayed perfect on the season on Tuesday night, bolting to a 48-11 halftime lead and coasting to a 92-51 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Air Force, meanwhile, began a two-game eastern U.S. swing in Annapolis, Md., dropping a 67-59 decision against Navy on Wednesday evening.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Sunday’s game will be televised by the SEC Network with Eric Frede (PxP) and Christy Thomaskutty (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

  •  It’s Salute to Service Week, when we honor all who have served and say thank you for their service and sacrifice. Current military members and veterans may present their Military ID or DD 214 at Gate C, Gate E or the ticket tent located on Phillip Fulmer Way prior to entering Thompson-Boling Arena for complimentary admission for themselves and their immediate family.
  • Tickets are available for the general public at AllVols.com. Spark the Summitt with tickets starting at $5! Gates open at 1 p.m.
  • Enjoy the pregame Kids’ Corner at Gate F. It opens one hour prior to tip-off. Fun includes free face painting, the Big Orange prize wheel, visits from Smokey and cheerleaders, crafts and more.
  • Participate in “High-5 the Lady Vols.” 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, please call 865-946-7000.
  • Post-game Lay-ups: Kids 12 & younger can shoot a lay-up on the court after the game!
  • Free parking & shuttle service is available from UT’s Ag Campus. Shuttles begin two hours prior to tip.

RECAPPING OUR LAST GAME

  •  No. 20/25 Tennessee moved to 6-0 on the season, defeating the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, 92-51, on Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
  • The Lady Vols were led by junior forward Rennia Davis, who recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Rae Burrell added a career-high 17 points, while junior Kasiyahna Kushkituah chipped in 15.
  • The Golden Lions (0-4) were paced by junior Trasity Totten, who finished the night with 19 points and four rebounds. Jayla Atmore and Tyler Pyburn contributed 12 and 11, respectively.
  • Tennessee finished the game with 54 points off the bench and 62 in the paint, both season bests. The Lady Vols also out-rebounded the Lady Lions 53-32, continuing their streak of out-performing their opponents on the boards for the sixth-straight game.

NOTES FROM THE LAST GAME

  • Big First Quarter: The Lady Vols poured in 26 points during the first quarter against UAPB, their highest point total in any quarter this season. Meanwhile, they held the Golden Lions to just seven points, the fewest scored by any UT opponent in a first quarter this season.
  • Balanced Attack: Tennessee’s first four baskets came from four different players, and by halftime 10 of the 11 active roster members had scored at least two points. By the end of the game, Tennessee had seven players with five or more points and three in double figures.
  • Lockdown Defense: The Lady Vols held Arkansas-Pine Bluff scoreless for nearly nine minutes in the second quarter, allowing just four points to tie for the third-fewest allowed in a quarter all-time. The 11 points allowed in the first half tied for the fifth-fewest scored by a UT opponent in any game.
  • Hot Hands: The 92 points against the Golden Lions was the highest point total managed by a Lady Vol team since they scored 98 against Murray State on Dec. 28, 2018. With a field goal percentage of 54.5 percent against UAPB, the Lady Vols posted their highest shooting percentage of the season and best since clicking at a 61.7 rate vs. Liberty in the NCAA First Round on March 16, 2018.
  • Bench Points: Tennessee’s bench produced a season-high 54 points, outscoring the Golden Lions’ bench by 28 points. UT had 15 in the first quarter.
  • Double-Double Davis: Junior Rennia Davis logged her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The effort moved her career total to 22, tying her with Shekinna Stricklen, Karla Horton and Shyra Ely for the 11th-most career double-doubles by a Lady Vol.

HARPER HISTORY IN THE MAKING

  • Kellie Harper will attempt to open a season 7-0 for the first time in her head coaching career. She twice opened 4-0 at NC State in 2011-12 and 2012-13 before topping that with a 6-0 start at UT this season.
  • On Nov. 18, 2019, Kellie Harper became the 40th person to play for and coach an AP-ranked women’s basketball team when UT debuted at No. 23.
  • She became the 13th person to accomplish that feat at the school where she also played.
  • According to Hoops Guru Mel Greenberg, UT and USC are the only schools with two alums to accomplish that feat. Harper and Holly Warlick did so at Tennessee, while Cheryl Miller and Cynthia Cooper-Dyke did so at Southern Cal.
  • Harper is one of only 11 coaches to lead three different women’s programs to NCAA Tournament appearances (Western Carolina, NC State, Missouri Stat
  • She will attempt to join Jim Foster (St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, Chattanooga) in becoming the only coaches to take four different women’s teams to the NCAA tourney.

TENNESSEE TOPICS

  • Tennessee has opened a season 6-0 for the third year in a row and will attempt to make it 7-0 for the  third time in as many seasons and for only the fifth time in the past 10 years.
  • Junior guard/forward Rennia Davis has posted double-doubles in three of her past four games. She ranks No. 8 nationally with four double-doubles.
  • Junior forward Jaiden McCoy (injured left hand/missed three of last four games) returned to action vs. UAPB, tallying a season-best six points and five rebounds.
  • The Lady Vols have won the rebounding battle in all six games and have an +18.3 margin vs. opponents.
  • Eight players currently are averaging at least 4.5 rebounds per game, led by Rennia Davis at 8.5 and Kasiyahna Kushkituah at 6.2. Seven different players have led the squad in rebounds during the first six games.
  • Tennessee is allowing only 51.2 points per game and has given up more than 51 points in only two of its six contests.
  • At home, the Lady Vols are allowing only 44.0 ppg.
  • The highest field goal percentage UT has allowed in a game this season was .348 to ETSU in the opener.
  • Rae Burrell leads Tennessee in scoring average in home games at 12.3 ppg.
  • Jazmine Massengill has recorded 15 assists vs. only three turnovers in four home games this season.
  • Kasiyahna Kushkituah is shooting 63 percent from the field and averaging 10.3 ppg. in home contests.
  • Tennessee has had 16 or more assists in each game this season and a season-best 25 vs. UAPB.
  • The Big Orange have been big on swatting shots, averaging 7.5 blocks per contest. Tamari Key averages 2.8 per game.
  • Jordan Horston (10-24, .417) and Rennia Davis (6-19, .316) have accounted for 16 of UT’s 28 three-pointers this season. Lou Brown has four.

UT-AIR FORCE SERIES NOTES

  • Tennessee and Air Force are meeting for the first time in women’s basketball. This is also the first time a Kellie Harper-coached team has faced the USAFA program.
  •  The Falcons are members of the Mountain West Conference.
  •  UT is 3-0 in all-time meetings vs. schools currently in the MWC.
  •  The Lady Vols also play host to Mountain West Conference school Colorado State on Dec. 11.
  •  UT is 1-0 each vs. MWC schools Boise State, San Jose State and UNLV.
  •  In the most recent meeting with a Mountain West Conference program, a No. 6/5 Lady Vol unit turned back the Boise State Broncos in Knoxville during the NCAA First Round on March 21, 2015, 72-61.
  •  In games vs. other service academies, the Lady Vols own a 3-0 mark. They are 2-0 vs. Army and 1-0 vs. Navy.
  •  The most recent meeting between the Lady Vols and a service academy occurred on Nov. 13, 2016, when Tennessee played host to Navy. Tennessee came away with an 85-55 victory in that match-up.
  •  Kamera Harris was the only current member of the team to play in that contest vs. Navy, carding one blocked shot in the match-up.
  •  The second of UT’s two all-time contests vs. Army occurred on March 19, 2006, when then-redshirt freshman Candace Parker set an NCAA record with two dunks in a 102-54 win in Norfolk, Va.

ABOUT AIR FORCE

  • Air Force returned four starters and six other letterwinners from a year ago, when an extremely young Falcon squad posted an 8-22 ledger and finished 10th in the Mountain West Conference with a 4-14 record.
  •  The team is still quite youthful, featuring no seniors, two juniors, five sophomores and five freshmen. First-year player Kamri Heath has started all six games for the Falcons, joining two juniors and two sophomores in the lineup.
  •  Kaelin Immel is leading the Air Force in scoring for the third-straight season, averaging 14.9 points per game.
  •  Second-leading scorer Riley Snyder (12.3 ppg.) was named to the Mountain West All-Freshman Team last season.
  •  The Falcons are coached by Chris Gobrecht, who is 20-157 in her fifth season at the Air Force Academy and 562-580 in her 40th year as a head coach.
  •  Gobrecht had DI stops at Cal State Fullerton (1979-85), Washington (1986-96), Florida State (1996-97), USC (1997-2005) and Yale (2005-15) before arriving in Colorado Springs. She last faced UT as USC’s coach on Dec. 14, 2002, falling 71-39.
  •  Associate head coach Stacy McIntyre was a standout player at Kentucky, a two-time team captain, an All-SEC Second Team honoree in 1992 and a 1994 graduate.
  •  The Falcons were picked to finish 10th this season in the Mountain West Conference.

RECAPPING AIR FORCE’S LAST GAME

  •  Air Force dropped a 67-59 contest to Navy, Wednesday evening in Alumni Hall on the campus of the United States Naval Academy.
  •  The Falcons, now 1-6 on the season, were led by junior co-team captain Kaelin Immel who scored a season-high 24 points on the night.  The Mids ended their three-game losing streak, improving to 3-3 on the season.
  •  Immel, who has led the Falcons in scoring for three-straight games, left it all on the court, snagging six rebounds and dishing three assists while shooting 9-of-17 from the field in her attempt to rally the Falcons to victory.
  •  A native of Beaverton, Ore., Immel has two 20-point games and five double-figure scoring marks this season. She now has 952 career points, continuing her run to become the 16th all-time Falcon to achieve 1,000 career points.
  •  Sophomore forward Riley Snyder dropped 12 points for her fifth double-figure scoring mark this season. Snyder shot 40-percent from the field and notched her fifth perfect game from the free throw line this season (4-4). Sophomore teammate Haley Jones record eight points and five rebounds on the night.

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