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

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

No. 11/12 Tennessee (2-2) will meet UCLA (4-0) in Imperial Arena on Paradise Island, Bahamas, at noon ET on Sunday in the semifinal round of the 2022 Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Lady Vols evened their record by racing by Rutgers, 94-54, on Saturday in the opening round. The Big Orange led from start to finish and built a 54-point lead before turning things over to the reserves.

UT had entered the tournament with a 1-2 mark against three teams who participated in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, including No. 14/15 Ohio State on the road (L, 87-75), UMass at home (W, 74-65) and No. 12/11 Indiana at home (L, 79-67). The game vs. Rutgers marked Tennessee’s third against a Big Ten foe in 2022-23, with UT improving to 81-17 vs. that league after suffering losses to Ohio State and Indiana in games one and three.

UCLA advanced on Saturday by holding off South Dakota State, 72-65 in a battle of teams receiving votes and residing just outside the top 25 in both the AP and USA TODAY Coaches polls. The Bruins pocketed a trio of home wins before making their way to The Bahamas, handling Cal Poly, UC Riverside and Troy over the course of six days.

This will mark the 21st meeting between the Lady Volunteers and Bruins, with the Big Orange holding an 18-2 advantage.  The teams are 1-1 vs. one another at neutral sites after UCLA won the most recent meeting in College Park, Md., 89-77, in the NCAA First Round on March 23, 2019. That Bruin triumph snapped a 15-game losing skid to the squad from Rocky Top.

Tennessee is in the midst of a six-game campaign-opening gauntlet over a two-week 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

  • FloHoops will stream the Tennessee vs. UCLA contest, with Jill Painter Lopez (PxP), Isis Young (Analyst) and Dani Wexelman (Reporter) on the call for games 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.

Storylines

  • Sunday’s match-up is Tennessee’s first vs. two Pac-12 opponents this season. The Lady Vols will travel to the West Coast to play at No. 2/2 Stanford on Dec. 18 as part of the programs’ annual clashes that date back to 1988.
  • Tennessee rookie Justine Pissott and UCLA freshman Kiki Rice joined forces to win a gold medal with the 2022 USA U18 National Team at the FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, over the summer.
  • Rickea Jackson has led the Lady Vols in scoring the past three games, tallying 24, 17 and 26 after opening the season with nine points at Ohio State. She is averaging 22.3 points per game during that span.

What’s Next?

  • The lower half of the bracket features another semifinal matchup between Marquette and Gonzaga at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
  • The winners of Sunday’s semifinal contests will advance to Monday’s Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis championship game at noon on ESPN. 
  • The losers of the semifinal games will play for third place at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, with ESPNU televising.
  • Kevin Fitzgerald and Carolyn Peck are on the call for those ESPN/ESPNU broadcasts.

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 1-0 after streaking past Rutgers, 94-54, in opening round play on Saturday.

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 14-0 mark on foreign soil soil during that stretch, including 8-0 in games that count toward season records after Saturday’s win.
  • This is the program’s 10th all-time international excursion, and UT is 25-7 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 Rutgers Game

  • No. 11 Tennessee took a commanding victory in its first game at the 2022 Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis, defeating Rutgers, 94-54, in Imperial Arena on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Lady Vols (2-2) shot a sizzling 53 percent from the floor, including 48 percent from behind the arc, and were led by senior forward Rickea Jackson who poured in 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting while grabbing six boards in only 20 minutes of duty. Senior guards Jordan Horston and Jasmine Powell were also in double figures with 12 each, as well as redshirt-sophomore Marta Suárez who finished with 10. Powell and Suárez led UT with eight assists and seven rebounds, respectively.
  • All 15 of UT’s active players saw the floor with 12 contributing at least two points toward the final score.
  • Kaylene Smikle was the high scorer for Rutgers (3-2) with 16 on the day. Kassondra Brown and Awa Sidibe were also in double figures with 12 and 10, respectively.

Jordy Returns

  • UT’s decorated 6-2 guard Jordan Horston, who had been out of the lineup after being sidelined with a lower extremity injury in the UMass game on Nov. 10, was back in the starting five vs. Rutgers.
  • She played 15 minutes and finished with 12 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal.

Making Runs

  • Tennessee was explosive offensively against the Scarlet Knights, posting three double-digit scoring streaks of 11-0 and 10-0 in the second quarter and a 22-0 run in the third.
  • Prior to Saturday’s game, UT had not posted a double-digit run during the 2022-23 season.

Big-Time Bench Play

  • Every active player on UT’s roster saw the floor against Rutgers, combining for 37 points and 23 rebounds.
  • Marta Suárez led that effort with 10 points and seven boards, while Karoline Striplin scored her first points of the season, finishing with six.

Suarez Gets Her Groove Back

  • Redshirt-sophomore Marta Suárez, who missed last season due to injury, turned in 10 points against the Scarlet Knights, marking her first 10-point performance since dropping 10 against UConn on Jan. 21, 2021.

Powell Performing

  • Senior Jasmine Powell, who transferred to UT from Minnesota, has scored in double figures in three of four games this season.
  • The 5-foot-6 point guard scored 19 at Ohio State, 16 vs. Indiana and 12 vs. Rutgers.
  • Powell is Tennessee’s second-leading scorer at 12.8 per contest and paces the Lady Vols in assists with 5.8 per contest after dishing out a season-high eight on Saturday vs. Rutgers.

A Look At UCLA

  • UCLA is now 4-0, after collecting home victories over Cal Poly (84-48), UC Riverside (64-43) and Troy (95-83), and then opening play at the Battle 4 Atlantis with a 72-65 victory over South Dakota State.
  • The Bruins have three players averaging double figures in points entering Sunday’s game.
  • Charisma Osborne, a 5-9 senior guard, sets the tone for UCLA, producing sparkling averages of 22.3 points and 9.0 rebounds.
  • Osborne is on preseason watch lists for the Wooden Award and the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award.
  • Also scoring in double figures for UCLA are 6-4 redshirt sophomore forward Emily Bessoir (11.3) and 5-11 freshman forward Gabriela Jaquez (10.3).
  • Gina Conti, a 5-11 graduate guard, is on the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List. She currently is averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds.
  • Freshman Kiki Rice (9.3 ppg., 3.8 rpg.) joined Tennessee rookie Justine Pissott in winning a gold medal with the 2022 USA U18 National Team at the FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, over the summer.

UT/UCLA Notes

  • This marks the 21st meeting between the Lady Vols and UCLA, with UT possessing an 18-2 record in the series.
  • UT is 1-1 at neutral sites, 8-1 at home and 9-0 on the road vs. the Bruins.
  • UCLA ended a 15-game Big Orange series win streak on March 23, 2019, as the No. 20/24 Bruins took down an unranked UT team, 89-77, in College Park, Md., in the NCAA First Round.
  • All 20 games between these teams have been completed in regulation.
  • Tennessee is 68-24 all-time vs. programs in the Pacific-12 Conference.
  • Kellie Harper is 0-1 vs. UCLA, falling to the Bruins as head coach at NC State, 74-54, on March 21, 2010.

-UT Athletics

Lady Vols vs. UCLA / Credit: UT Athletics

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