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

No. 11/12 Tennessee (1-2) will meet Rutgers (3-1) in Imperial Arena on Paradise Island, Bahamas, at noon ET on Saturday in the first game of the 2022 Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Lady Vols enter the tournament having faced 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).

Rutgers, meanwhile, enters at 3-1 after opening the 2022-23 campaign with four straight home contests against local foes and finding early success with only eight active players on its roster. RU’s latest win came on Wednesday night vs. N.C. Central, 66-45

This will mark the 24th meeting between the Lady Volunteers and Scarlet Knights but first since 2014. UT’s Kellie Harper will be facing RU for the first time as a head coach.

Rutgers will be the third Big Ten foe the Lady Vols have played this season, entering the match-up with an 80-17 record against the league after suffering losses to Ohio State and Indiana in games one and three.

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 will embark on 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. Rutgers 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

  • Rutgers assistant coach Nikki McCray-Penson played her college basketball at Tennessee under the late, legendary Lady Vols head coach, Pat Summitt.
  • McCray averaged 12.4 ppg. and 5.3 rpg. during her time in Knoxville, earning KODAK All-America and SEC Player of the Year honors in 1994 and 1995, and going on to win gold medals for the U.S. at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.
  • Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper, who played at Tennessee from 1995-99 and won three NCAA titles as a point guard, just missed being McCray’s teammate at UT by one season.
  • Prior to her arrival at Rutgers, McCray-Penson was head coach at Mississippi State, where she coached current Tennessee standout Rickea Jackson during the 2020-21 campaign.
  • Lady Vol freshman Justine Pissott hails from Toms River, N.J., and prepped at Red Bank Catholic High School, which is about 30 miles southeast of the Rutgers campus. 
  • UT guard Jasmine Powell, who transferred from Minnesota prior to this season, will face yet another former Big Ten foe.
  • Powell played against Rutgers in each of her three seasons for the Gophers, posting a pair of double-figure scoring efforts.
  • On Jan. 6, 2022, Powell had 19 points, five assists, four rebounds and a steal vs. the Scarlet Knights in 37 minutes. She hit four of nine shots from the field, including a 2-of-2 effort beyond the arc, and a 9-of-11 performance at the free-throw line.
  • Powell also had 19 points along with five rebounds and four assists in 47 minutes in a Feb. 2, 2020, overtime contest, going 10 of 10 from the charity stripe.

What’s Next?

  • The winner between UT and RU will meet the victor of UCLA and South Dakota State at noon on Sunday. The losers of the first-round games will meet at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
  • The lower half of the bracket features first-round match-ups between No. 3/3 Texas and Marquette at 5 p.m. on Saturday and No. 7/5 Louisville vs. Gonzaga at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Sunday contests also are on FloHoops. Winners bracket games on Monday are on linear TV, including the championship game at noon on ESPN and the third-place contest at 2:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Kevin Fitzgerald and Carolyn Peck are on the call for those broadcasts.

First Time At B4A, Third Time In The Bahamas

  • This will mark the Lady Vols’ first appearance at the Battle 4 Atlantis, but it will be their third trip to The Bahamas.
  • They’ll be 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.

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 13-0 mark on foreign soil soil during that stretch, including 7-0 in games that count toward season records.
  • This will mark the program’s 10th all-time international excursion, and UT is 24-7 on foreign soil.
  • This will be 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 will be 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 Indiana Game

  • Despite a double-double from Jasmine Powell and three 14-plus-point scorers, the No. 11/4 Tennessee Lady Volunteers fell to No. 12/11 Indiana, 79-67, Monday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
  • Powell turned in a strong night in just her second game played on The Summitt, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. It marks just the second career double-double for the senior transfer from Minnesota. The guard was the Lady Vols’ leading scorer in the first half, sinking 11 points on 3-of-6 on 3-pointers.
  • Tennessee’s leading scorer was Rickea Jackson, who posted 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 2-of-3 marksmanship from downtown. She also made all three free throw attempts in the game and was complimented by solid paint play from Tamari Key, who also finished in double figures in scoring with 14 points. Key was perfect from the floor, converting all four layup tries in the game for the Big Orange (1-2).
  • Indiana (3-0) won the game with a balanced attack, having five different double-digit scorers, led by Sara Scalia and Mackenzie Holmes who both finished with 16. Holmes and Grace Berger both carded IU’s first double-doubles of the season, as they both logged 10 boards. Berger finished with 13 points in her seventh career double-double, while Holmes is the team leader in the category with 12.

Tess For Three (TImes Three)

  • Junior Tess Darby has hit three 3-pointers in three straight games, the longest streak in her Lady Vol career, and is averaging 9.0 points per contest entering the Battle 4 Atlantis.
  • Darby is connecting on 47.4 percent of her tries beyond the arc.

Powell Pops Off

  • Senior Jasmine Powell posted 16 points and 10 rebounds, notching the second double-double of her career and her first as a Lady Vol.
  • Powell ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.0 per contest.

Transfers Standing Out

  • Transfers Rickea Jackson and Jasmine Powell have shined in the inaugural contests of the season. 
  • Jackson has accumulated 50 points and 23 rebounds through three games, while Powell has recorded 39 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Jackson leads the Lady Vols at 16.7 ppg. and is second in rebounding at 7.7 rpg., while Powell is right behind Jackson in scoring at 13.0 ppg. and paces the squad at 5.0 assists per outing.

A Look At Rutgers

  • In the first season under head coach Coquese Washington, Rutgers features a roster of only eight players yet it has forged a 4-0 start.
  • The program was 11-20 overall and 3-14 in the Big Ten in 2021-22, but it did make an NCAA appearance in 2021.
  • No starters and only three letterwinners returned from last season.
  • Kassondra Brown, Awa Sidibe, Erica Lafayette and Chyna Cornwell have all been double-figure scorers for the Scarlet Knights in 2022-23.
  • RU hit 20 of 21 fee throws vs. NJIT on Nov. 13.

UT/RU Notes

  • This is the 23rd meeting between these schools, dating back to March 16, 1979.
  • The Lady Vols carry a 10-game series winning streak into the contest
  • Home court has been crucial in this rivalry, with Tennessee maintaining a perfect 7-0 mark in front of its fans while standing just 4-3 on the road. 
  • UT is 9-0 in neutral site games vs. RU.
  • The last time these squads met, on Dec. 14, 2014, The No. 11/13 Lady Vols handled a No. 17/19 Rutgers unit, 55-45, in Piscataway, N.J.
  • In all of Pat Summitt’s games as head coach at Tennessee, none of her Lady Vol teams had mounted the kind of comeback they fashioned at Rutgers on Jan. 3, 2009. Tennessee trailed 33-13 at the half. The 13 points were the fewest ever scored by the Lady Vols in the first 20 minutes of a game. Additionally, the 20-point halftime deficit was the largest in school history. Rutgers led by as many as 23 points before UT rallied for the 55-51 win. 
  • UT is 80-17 vs. schools currently in the Big 10 after dropping contests to Ohio State and Indiana this season.

-UT Athletics

Lady Vols vs. Rutgers / Credit: UT Athletics

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