Hoops Preview: #11/12 Lady Vols vs. Gonzaga

Hoops Preview: #11/12 Lady Vols vs. Gonzaga

No. 11/12 Tennessee (2-3) will close out its stay at the 2022 Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis at 2:30 p.m. ET on Monday, as it faces RV/RV Gonzaga (4-1) in the third-place game at Imperial Arena.

The match-up continues a trend of the Lady Vols facing teams ranked or receiving votes in five of six games in 2022-23, with Rutgers being the lone exception.

UT finds itself in the third-place game after defeating Rutgers in the opening round (94-54) on Saturday and then falling to RV/RV UCLA (80-63) in the semifinals on Sunday. Gonzaga, meanwhile, fell to Marquette, 70-66, in the semifinals on Sunday after toppling No. 6/4 Louisville on Saturday, 79-67, in overtime.

This will mark the fifth meeting between the Lady Volunteers and Zags, with the Lady Vols holding a 4-0 advantage in the series. UT has a 2-0 record vs. GU at neutral sites, most recently coming from 17-down to defeat the Zags at Spokane Arena, 73-69, in overtime on March 28, 2015.

Tennessee is in the midst of a six-game campaign-opening gauntlet over a 14-day period. UT played three games in the first seven days of the season and now is in the midst of a three-games-in-three-days stretch in the B4A tourney, followed by a two-in-three-day run at home on Nov. 25 (Colorado) and 27 (Eastern Kentucky).

Broadcast Information

  • ESPNU will televise the Tennessee vs. Gonzaga contest, with Kevin Fitzgerald (PxP) and Carolyn Peck (Analyst) on the call for the third-place game at the Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis.
  • The contest also can be heard on Lady Vol Network radio stations and by audio stream, with Voice of the Lady Vols Brian Rice in his first season behind the mic. He will be joined by studio host Andy Brock. 
  • 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.

Lady Vol Trending Topics

  • Senior forward Rickea Jackson has emerged as the Lady Vols’ scoring leader the past four games, tallying 24, 17, 26 and 14 points after opening the season with nine points at Ohio State. She is averaging 20.3 points per game during that span and 18.0 for the season.
  • Jordan Horston has scored in double figures in every game she has completed in this season, averaging 14.3 ppg. over those three contests. She was injured in the second quarter vs. UMass and also missed the next contest vs. Indiana. 
  • Marta Suárez, who missed all of last season due to an injury and recovery, has shown flashes of her freshman year contributions. She has produced 8.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field over the past two games here in The Bahamas. She has led UT on the boards the past two contests.
  • Tennessee got to the free-throw line 31 times vs. UCLA and is averaging 16.0 points per contest at the charity stripe.
  • UT, which is looking to improve in its board play so far this season, limited UCLA to an opponent-low five second-chance points on Sunday.
  • Tamari Key has had her productivity limited offensively over the past two games, but she has continued to be a defensive presence. She blocked five shots vs. Rutgers and three vs. UCLA to average 4.0 during this tournament.

What’s Next?

  • Tennessee returns home Tuesday afternoon, has preparation days on Wednesday and Thursday, and welcomes Colorado and Eastern Kentucky to Knoxville on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
  • The Lady Vols and Buffaloes will meet at 7 p.m. ET on Friday in a game televised by SEC Network.
  • The Big Orange and Colonels face off on Sunday at 2 p.m. in a matinee streamed on SECN+.

First Time At B4A, Third Time In The Bahamas

  • This is the Lady Vols’ first appearance at the Battle 4 Atlantis, but it is their third trip to The Bahamas.
  • They are visiting their third different island, having twice participated in the Junkanoo Jam Tournament on two other isles. 
  • In 2013-14, the Tennessee women went 2-0 and won the Lucaya Division at the Junkanoo Jam in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.
  • UT defeated Virginia, 76-67, and SMU, 87-47, in Freeport. 
  • In 2018-19, the Lady Vols traveled to Resorts World Bimini and won both games there to capture the Junkanoo Division crown at the Junkanoo Jam. 
  • In Bimini, the Big Orange turned back Clemson, 78-66, and UAB, 73-69 in overtime.
  • Thus far at the B4A, UT is 1-1 after streaking past Rutgers, 94-54, in opening round play on Saturday and falling, 80-63, to RV/RV UCLA in the semifinals on Sunday.

International Success

  • Tennessee is making its fourth in-season trip outside the U.S. and sixth international excursion during the past 10 years, holding a 14-1 mark on foreign soil soil during that stretch, including 8-1 in games that count toward season records after Saturday’s win.
  • This is the program’s 10th all-time international excursion, and UT is 25-8 on foreign soil.
  • This is the Lady Vols’ first trip outside the country since going to The Netherlands, Belgium and France in August 2019 prior to Kellie Harper‘s first season at Rocky Top. Seniors Jordan HorstonTamari Key and Jessie Rennie had just arrived at Tennessee.
  • The B4A is UT’s first in-season international trip since the 2018 Junkanoo Jam in Bimini, Bahamas.
  • UT has been to Freeport, Bahamas/2013 Junkanoo Jam (2-0); Cancun, Mexico/2017 Cancun Challenge (3-0); Bimini, Bahamas/2019 Junkanoo Jam (2-0); and now Paradise Island, Bahamas/2022 Battle 4 Atlantis for NCAA countable competition.
  • Foreign Tours and records include Brazil in June 1987 (1-4), England in January 1992 (2-1), Belgium/France/Switzerland in August 1999 (5-0), Italy/Greece in August 2003 (3-2), Italy in 2015 (3-0) and The Netherlands/Belgium/France in 2019 (3-0). 
  • Not counting in these totals are trips to U.S. territory tournaments in San Juan, Puerto Rico/San Juan Shootout in November-December 2002 (3-0); and two appearances in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I./Paradise Jam in Nov. 2005 (3-0) and Nov. 2010 (2-1).

Looking Back At The UCLA Game

  • The No. 11/12 Lady Vols suffered a tough loss on Sunday in the semifinal round of the 2022 Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis, falling 80-63 to an undefeated UCLA squad that is receiving votes in both the AP and USA TODAY Coaches Polls.
  • Tennessee (2-3) was led by seniors Rickea Jackson and Jordan Horston who turned in 14 and 11, respectively. 
  • The Bruins (5-0) were hot from long range, knocking down 16 treys on 53-percent shooting from behind the arc. 
  • Charisma Osborne led that effort, hitting five threes en route to becoming the game’s leading scorer with 23 points. Kiki Rice was also in double figures with 15, while Gina Conti and Lina Sontag each turned in 12.

Free Throw Machine

  • Rickea Jackson scored 10 of her 14 points from the free-throw line against UCLA, going 10 of 12 on the night.
  • She is 16 of 19 from the charity stripe over the last three games for a free-throw percentage of 84.2 percent. 

Cutting Back On The Miscues

  • Tennessee limited its miscues to just 14 against the Bruins, marking the lowest turnover total of the season thus far.

Bench Production

  • Tennessee has averaged 31.5 points per game from its reserves at the Battle 4 Atlantis, getting 37 vs. Rutgers and 26 vs. UCLA.
  • For the season, the Lady Vols’ bench is outscoring the bench of UT’s foes, 21.2 to 16.4.

A Look At Gonzaga

  • Gonzaga enters Monday’s contest with five players averaging double figures in scoring, including Yvonne Ejim (17.2), Brynna Maxwell (13.8), Kaylynne Truong (12.0), Eliza Hollingsworth (11.8) and Kayleigh Truong (10.3).
  • The Zags shoot 40.2 percent from the three-point arc, led by Brynna Maxwell (14-24, 58.3) and Eliza Hollingsworth (7-12, 58.3).
  • GU is 73 of 91 from the charity stripe for a sizzling 80.2 percent through five games.
  • Gonzaga is led by Lisa Fortier, who is 209-55 in her ninth year as head coach at the school.
  • Fortier has directed the Zags to seven NCAA appearances and has been named the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year on four occasions.
  • Gonzaga and Tennessee both have wife/husband tandems holding down the head coach position and one of the assistant coach spots.
  • Lisa Fortier’s husband, Craig, and Kellie Harper‘s spouse, Jon, handle those responsibilities.

Gonzaga’s Last Game

  • Despite three Zags scoring in double figures, Gonzaga women’s basketball fell just short to Marquette, 70-66, in the second game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
  • Both Brynna Maxwell and Kaylynne Truong scored 18 points, and Eliza Hollingsworth also scored 12. Yvonne Ejim led the team in rebounds with 11 and scored nine points, just short of her second double-double of the year.
  • The game saw seven lead changes and the game tied at five different points. Rebounds were also competitive with both teams, as GU grabbed 38 compared to Marquette’s 39. 
  • The Zags were without Kayleigh Truong due to an injury sustained in Saturday’s game against Louisville.

UT/GU Notes

  • Tennessee is 4-0 all-time vs. Gonzaga, while UT’s Kellie Harper is 0-1 vs. the Zags.
  • UT is 2-0 vs. GU at neutral sites.
  • The teams last met on March 28, 2015, in the NCAA Sweet 16 at the off-campus Spokane Arena, where the Lady Vols erased a 17-point late second-half deficit to win in overtime, 73-69.
  • Former Lady Vol Angie Bjorklund (2007-11) hails from Spokane, Wash., where Gonzaga is located, and her sister Jami played for the Zags from 2005-09.

-UT Athletics

Lady Vols – Gonzaga / Credit: UT Athletics