Game Thread: LADY VOLS VS. #22/25 ARKANSAS

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"Winner Walk-Off"

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee (17-8, 7-5 SEC), which is receiving votes in this week's AP and USA TODAY Coaches Polls, will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where it will meet the No. 22/25 Arkansas Razorbacks (20-5, 8-4 SEC) on Thursday at 6:02 p.m. CT (7:02 ET) at Bud Walton Arena.

The Lady Vols enter the contest in seventh place in the SEC standings and a game back of UA, which is tied for third place with Kentucky, LSU and Texas A&M. This will mark the 35th meeting in a series that began in 1992. UT has a 30-4 record vs. UA and has won four of the past five.

In addition to conference seeding, Thursday night's contest offers Tennessee an opportunity against an Arkansas squad that ranks No. 37 in the RPI. As of Feb. 18, the Lady Vols occupy the No. 56 spot in the RPI.

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TENNESSEE

Roster Schedule Game Notes (PDF)
ARKANSAS

Roster Schedule Game Notes (PDF)
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BROADCAST INFORMATION
  • Thursday night's game will be televised by the SEC Network with Courtney Lyle (PxP) and Carolyn Peck (Analyst) handling 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 and Bobby Rader serving as the studio host.
  • 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.
A CLOSER LOOK AT TENNESSEE

  • The Lady Vols' only losses this season are to eight teams that seem destined for NCAA Tournament bids. Six of those teams were ranked, including four that were top-10 ranked teams, when UT played them.
  • While UT beat Notre Dame when the Irish carried a No. 15/14 ranking, the most appealing win on the résumé currently appears to be the home triumph over LSU on Jan. 26. The Tigers are continuing to receive votes in both polls.
  • UT has a two-point loss to Texas A&M, a four-point setback at LSU and a six-point loss to Texas among its "Ls".
  • In the Feb. 18 edition of Bracketology, Charlie Creme has the Lady Vols listed as a No. 9 seed, playing eighth-seeded Drake in the NCAA First Round in Eugene, Oregon, as part of the Portland Regional. The winner would meet No. 16 UC Davis or No. 1 Oregon in the second round.
THE ROAD LEADING UP TO THIS

  • The Lady Vols will try to snap a four-game losing streak after falling in recent games vs. No. 1 South Carolina, No. 8 Mississippi State, LSU and No. 16 Texas A&M.
  • UT had won six straight SEC contests and stood at 7-1 before dropping those four contests, including two straight on the road.
  • Tennessee's Rennia Davis is averaging 20.1 points per game in SEC play, shooting 52.8 percent (86-163) from the field and 82.6 (38-46) percent at the charity stripe.
  • Jordan Horston is UT's only other double-figure scorer in league play, contributing 10.2 per game.
  • Arkansas enters Thursday night's battle having won two of its last three and five of six after blowing past Kentucky (103-85) and Ole Miss (108-64) in its last two games.
  • Prior to that two-game winning streak, the Razorbacks were drummed in Fayetteville, 86-65, by No. 1 South Carolina on Feb. 6. UT also lost by 21 to the Gamecocks (69-48) the game before UA played them.
  • Arkansas struggled to win at Mizzou on Feb. 2, escaping in overtime, 85-81.
  • UA's other losses came to Georgia at home (64-55), South Carolina on the road (91-82), Texas A&M at home (84-77) and at Cal (84-80).
  • The Razorbacks are led by the three-headed monster combo of Chelsea Dungee (18.1 ppg.), Alex Tolefree (15.9 ppg.) and Amber Ramirez (14.5 ppg.). They have made a combined 196 (42, 72 and 78) of their team's 244 three-pointers this season.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

  • After the visit to Fayetteville, Tennessee heads home to play its next two games in the friendly confines of Thompson-Boling Arena.
  • Vanderbilt visits on Sunday (noon) and Ole Miss comes calling on Feb. 27 (7 p.m.).
  • The Vanderbilt game is UT's Live Pink, Bleed Orange (Play4Kay) game, and the Ole Miss date is Senior Night.
  • Next up for Arkansas will be back-to-back road games at Florida on Sunday and Mississippi State on Feb. 27.
RECAPPING OUR LAST CONTEST

  • No. 25 Tennessee pulled to within two points in the final minute but couldn't overcome a No. 16/18 Texas A&M team that went 28 of 33 from the free-throw line en route to a 73-71 victory in Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday afternoon.
  • Sophomore Rae Burrell led UT (17-8, 7-5 SEC) with 19 points and seven rebounds in front of a season-best crowd of 12,738. Junior Rennia Davis was also in double figures for the Big Orange, posting 18 points, six assists and five rebounds.
  • Junior Chennedy Carter was the high scorer for Texas A&M (20-5, 8-4 SEC), finishing with 37 points and five rebounds. Carter was 14 of 16 from the charity stripe for the Aggies.
NOTES FROM THE A&M GAME

  • Balanced Attack: Five different Lady Vols contributed to UT's first 10 points, and on the day six UT players finished with seven or more points.
  • Have A Day, Rae: Sophomore Rae Burrell made the most of her third career start, scoring nine-straight points in the second quarter en route to a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds. The game moves her scoring average to 10.2 ppg., making her the team's second-highest scorer.
  • Packed House: Sunday's attendance of 12,738 is the largest Lady Vol crowd since the 2017-18 season. It's the third audience of 10K or more this season, an increase over the 2018-19 season in which no games had an attendance figure surpassing 10,000.
  • Unselfish Basketball: Tennessee doled out 21 assists against the Aggies, marking the eighth time this season the team has posted 20 or more assists. Rennia Davis helped fuel the effort with a career-high six assists, while Jazmine Massengill and Jordan Horston also finished with six dimes. Massengill moving her season total to 104. If the season ended today her average of 4.2 apg. would be good enough for sixth all-time among Lady Vol sophomores. Horston, meanwhile, now has 122 assists and averages 4.88 per game. The total ranks her fifth all-time among Lady Vol freshmen, and her average is currently the second-best ever by a UT rookie.
UT-ARKANSAS SERIES NOTES

  • Tennessee holds a 30-4 all-time record vs. Arkansas, dating back to Feb. 29, 1992, when UT prevailed, 105-59, in the initial meeting.
  • The Lady Vols are 14-2 in Knoxville, 14-2 in Fayetteville and 2-0 at neutral sites.
  • Tennessee is 1-1 in overtime and 2-0 in the postseason vs. UA, meeting for the first time in SEC Tournament play in 2016. UT prevailed, 68-51, in the second round in Jacksonville, Fla., on March 3 of that year.
  • UT's only setbacks to the Razorbacks in Knoxville were both one-point losses. UA prevailed 72-71 in overtime on Feb. 23, 2012, and 80-79 last season on Jan. 21, 2019.
  • Despite the series disparity, Tennessee has overcome some significant deficits to claim some recent wins vs. UA.
  • UT bounced back from a nine-point second-half gap in Fayetteville on Jan. 11, 2015, to win, 60-51; an eight-point first-half deficit to win 70-60 in Knoxville on Jan. 30, 2014; and an 11-point second-half gap on Feb. 24, 2013, in Fayetteville to win, 60-54.
  • The last time the two teams faced each other as ranked squads was in 2003 when #4-ranked Tennessee won, 92-79, over #12-ranked Arkansas in Fayetteville.
  • No. 1/1 Tennessee and unranked Arkansas met in an NCAA Final Four semifinal game in Kansas City, Mo., on March 27, 1998, and the Lady Vols cruised past the Razorbacks, 86-58, en route to their perfect 39-0 season.
  • Then the starting point guard for UT, Kellie (Jolly) Harper tallied 11 points, five assists and three rebounds during 30 minutes of duty in that contest.
  • Harper finished her career with a 4-1 record vs. the Razorbacks as a player.
  • As a head coach, Harper is 2-2 all-time vs. Arkansas, all during her time at Missouri State. She has won her last two meetings vs. the Razorbacks, including 69-54 in Fayetteville on Dec. 2, 2015, and 64-62 in Springfield on Dec. 11, 2016.
  • This is the first meeting between Harper and Mike Neighbors as head coaches.
  • First-year Lady Vol assistant coach Lacey Goldwire was on the staff at Arkansas for two seasons prior to joining Kellie Harper at Tennessee in 2019-20.
RECAPPING THE LAST GAME
  • No. 23 Arkansas (20-5, 8-4) won its 20th game of the season on Sunday, beating Ole Miss (7-18, 0-12) 108-64 at the Pavilion.
  • With the win, Arkansas reached eight SEC wins for just the second time since joining the conference.
  • Senior guard Alexis Tolefree continued her statement season with another great outing against Ole Miss, going for a team-high 19 points in the win. Chelsea Dungee and Amber Ramirez tossed in 18 points and 17 points, respectively.
THE LAST TIME WE VISITED UA

  • No. RV/17 Tennessee fell to Arkansas, 80-79, at Thompson-Boling Arena on Jan. 21, 2019, giving UA only its second win all-time in Knoxville.
  • Freshman guard Zaay Green (17 points and six rebounds) and senior forward Cheridene Green (15 points and 12 rebounds) had productive nights for UT. Cheridene Green dominated the glass and recorded her third double-double of the year on 5-of-9 shooting.
  • The Razorbacks had three players with at least 10 points, as senior guard Malica Monk led Arkansas with 23 points. Chelsea Dungee (19 points) and Alexis Tolefree (16 points) were the other Razorbacks with double-digit points. Arkansas logged 12 3-pointers and 20 points off turnovers in the win.
LAST MEETING IN FAYETTEVILLE

  • Rennia Davis recorded a career-high 33 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 11/11 Tennessee to a 90-85 win at Arkansas on Feb. 8, 2018.
  • Davis connected on 13-of-18 shots from the floor, as the Lady Vols (20-4, 8-3 SEC) earned their 20th victory for the 42nd season in a row. Meme Jackson added 21 points with five 3-pointers, while Jaime Nared netted 16 points, including four clutch free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the win.
  • Devin Cosper scored 29 points for the Razorbacks (6-18, 2-8 SEC), while Malica Monk went 4-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc and finished with 25 points. UA cut the deficit to two at multiple points in the fourth quarter, but UT held on down the stretch despite no field goals over the last 3:37.
VolNation:

Sorry about not being able to do this section justice, but will make up for it in the next game. (Up late dealing with a gnat)
Coach J
 
#2

VolBalls33

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Thanks for the post! Saw UT is up to 54 in the RPI and with the win should be top 50 afterwards with 3 very winnable games to end the regular season.
 
#4

Volfan2012

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#4
They can really score let's hope they can't shoot very well tonight and we come with the same effort we played with against A&M. Of course if we miss ten foul shots another loss. We may not even get ten fouls shots but we should. They shouldn't be able to guard us inside if we had someone that would take a leadership role and take it to them. We'll see how this goes tonight.
 
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OrangeBeachVol

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Ark does shoot well. They have scored over a 100 twice this yr. My fear is how they can make TO's hurt you, and LV's are very gracious with TO's. LV's cannot get into a running/shooting game with them.
 
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glv98

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This feels like the 19th nervous breakdown game day. On one hand, its a chance to get a much needed quality road win in the SEC and for NCAA tourney insurance. On the other hand, Arky is very scary. This could get out of hand in a very ugly way for us.
They shouldn't be able to guard us inside
Unfortunately, no one has needed to guard us inside since our post players so far cannot jump, catch or shoot.
es shoot well. They have scored over a 100 twice this yr. My fear is how they can make TO's hurt you, and LV's are very gracious with TO's.
Exactly. Been very worried about this game since I saw what they did to KY. If their crowd is rowdy (assuming there will be a "crowd") and their 3s are falling, this could be a long night for us. Arky is the team I wish we could be, and hope we become - improving steadily, gaining confidence, and definitely a team no one wants to play in the tourney. I think Mike N is a very good coach.

Here's hoping this is the game it all comes together for us and we do the unexpected - play a complete, focused, smart game. Then we'll see what happens.
 
#8

teacherdean

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Thanks Coach for your hard work. We can win this game if we play up to our potential, make free throws, make the easy shots and when we are open shoot the ball instead of throwing risky passes. I would like the ladies to play with the aggressiveness of Burrell with control.
 
#10

allenfan1

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They can really score let's hope they can't shoot very well tonight and we come with the same effort we played with against A&M. Of course if we miss ten foul shots another loss. We may not even get ten fouls shots but we should. They shouldn't be able to guard us inside if we had someone that would take a leadership role and take it to them. We'll see how this goes tonight.
Maybe you should have a coach that teaches that, and then the girls would not have to figure it out on their own as she has stated they need to do
 
#11

glv98

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We can win this game if we play up to our potential, make free throws, make the easy shots and when we are open shoot the ball instead of throwing risky passes. I would like the ladies to play with the aggressiveness of Burrell with control.
That all LOL? Don't know why we can't pull all that together. Gotta start sometime.
 
#12

Volfan2012

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Maybe you should have a coach that teaches that, and then the girls would not have to figure it out on their own as she has stated they need to do
Teaching it and figuring it out are not the same thing. When you teach someone you give them the information they need and they are the ones that have to figure out how to use the information.
 
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#13

glv98

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Teaching it and figuring it out are not the same thing. When you teach someone you give them the information they need and they are the ones that have to figure out how to use the information.
Exactly. You can teach it, drill it, practice it, but having players execute it consistently in a game setting is what separates the best from the rest. Hardest part of the mountain to climb and probably that oh so difficult last mile in the journey KJH refers to. Every up and coming or rebuilding team waits for their turn to summitt.
 
#14

teacherdean

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Maybe you should have a coach that teaches that, and then the girls would not have to figure it out on their own as she has stated they need to do
I know a lot of us think that KJH should have come and cured all of our ills. That is easier said then done. As I have mentioned before KJH has to change the culture. These ladies have little if any idea what the Lady Vols hay thedays were like. You can tell them but they do not have a feel for what it truly was. The Lady Vols were headed in the wrong direction and I think none of us really realized how far the program had fallen. I believe that KJH is trying to find the right combinations and teach the ladies to play winning basketball. You can see the frustration in her face as a result of the needless mistakes the ladies make. KJH also came in with a different philosophy than the prior staff. These may not be the right ladies to get that job done, or it may be taking longer than KJH thought.
 
#19

Voltopia

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#19
While Arkansas has not played the toughest schedule this year, (I say that with a slight bit of sarcasm but when you have Oral Roberts, Stonybrook, and New Orleans in your non-conference slate ... ), they are very highly ranked in Assist to Turnover ratio and Turnover Margin. Considering that turnovers are Tennessee's kryptonite ... yeah. Further, Arkansas just put 100+ on Kentucky and then put 100+ on Ole Miss as an encore, and if you look at their prior games they can definitely score points. Given all that, it would be a surprise if Tennessee wins tonight. Probably around a 10-15 point loss. I will gladly be wrong on that, but it just doesn't read as a road win given the recent performances by both teams.
 
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Ark runs a lot of penetrate and dish and penetrate and finish...what makes the most sense to me is to not let them get comfortable bringing the ball down....My game plan starting off is to attack them full court and half-court traps (on this side of the mid-court line) and deny off the ball like it is gold

On offense, make them adjust to our size and exploit their lack of size by feeding the paint and playing a lot of twin tower interior offense...every chance we get, post up their guards and exploit them there too
 
#21

RAVOL

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#21
I know a lot of us think that KJH should have come and cured all of our ills. That is easier said then done. As I have mentioned before KJH has to change the culture. These ladies have little if any idea what the Lady Vols hay thedays were like. You can tell them but they do not have a feel for what it truly was. The Lady Vols were headed in the wrong direction and I think none of us really realized how far the program had fallen. I believe that KJH is trying to find the right combinations and teach the ladies to play winning basketball. You can see the frustration in her face as a result of the needless mistakes the ladies make. KJH also came in with a different philosophy than the prior staff. These may not be the right ladies to get that job done, or it may be taking longer than KJH thought.
Very good post. So many posting believe that just by coaching a certain principle it happens immediately. It doesn't and never will. It takes time and hopefully many players through constant teaching and reps will finally play the game the right way.
 
#22

volnationnj

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#22
I care more about the will to win and never giving up than any stat, and that includes W-L.

GO LADY VOLS!
You would rather see a team, that never gave up, and went 5-25 (because they were simply overmatched) rather than a team that went 25-5 (excellent players) whose effort was sporadic ?
 

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