Hoops Preview: #23/24 Lady Vols vs. Colorado Buffaloes

No. 23/24 Tennessee (2-4) returns home to face Colorado (4-1) at 7:02 p.m. ET on Friday in Thompson-Boling Arena. 

Kellie Harper‘s squad is coming off a difficult three-games-in-three-days stretch from Nov. 19-21 at the Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.

The Lady Vols, who began the year ranked No. 5/4 in the AP and USA TODAY Coaches Polls, have been challenged by a run of frequent early-season games against challenging competition and find themselves clinging to a spot in the nation’s top 25. A welcome six-game homestand and a run of nine of the next 11 contests being contested at home will hopefully generate some momentum for a Big Orange squad that is highly talented on paper but hasn’t quite fired on all cylinders just yet.

The Lady Vols showed some signs of progress in a dominant win over Rutgers. They also responded in positive fashion in a highly-competitive affair with a skilled Gonzaga squad the last time out, but they came up just short in a 73-72 heartbreaker that saw the Lady Vols get several last-second shot attempts that fell just off the mark.

Tennessee welcomes a Buffaloes squad that has won four of its first five games and is two points away from being 5-0. CU’s only loss came on the road at Texas Tech, 86-85, in overtime.

This will mark the fifth meeting between the Lady Volunteers and Buffaloes, with the squad from Rocky Top holding a 3-1 advantage over the program from the Rocky Mountains in the all-time series.

Game Promotions

  • A special promotion for the CU game includes a “Weekday Family 4-Pack Deal,” featuring four tickets & four $10 concession vouchers starting at $48 (plus tax/fees).
  • Tickets are available at AllVols.com.

Broadcast Information

  • The SEC Network will televise the Tennessee vs. Colorado contest, with Courtney Lyle (PxP) and Steffi Sorensen (Analyst) on the call.
  • All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) 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.
  • The contest also can be heard on Lady Vol Network radio stations and by audio stream. John Wilkerson will pinch hit for Voice of the Lady Vols Brian Rice while Rice is calling UT men’s games at the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis. Wilkerson 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.
  • The Lady Vol Network broadcast also can be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio via channel 962 on the SXM App.

Lady Vol Trending Topics

  • In the first six games, a three-player tandem of double-figure scorers has developed, and three of those players averaging 10 or more points are newcomers.
  • Senior forward Rickea Jackson leads the way at 17.7 points per game, followed by senior guard Jordan Horston (13.4) and senior guard Jasmine Powell (10.5).
  • After opening the year with nine points at Ohio State, Jackson has hit for 14+ in each game since then, including 24 vs. UMass and 26 vs. Rutgers.
  • Jackson was named to the Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis All-Tournament Team after averaging 18.7 ppg. and 5.3 rpg. while shooting 58 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line.
  • Horston has scored in double figures in every game she has completed in this season, scoring 20 in the opener vs. Ohio State and bouncing back from an injury vs. UMass to contribute 12, 11 and 19 vs. Rutgers, UCLA and Gonzaga, respectively.
  • In addition to the three mentioned above, graduate forward Jasmine Franklin (2), senior center Tamari Key (2) and redshirt sophomore forward Marta Suárez (1) have registered double-figure scoring efforts in 2022-23.
  • Franklin is coming off her strongest effort of the season vs. Gonzaga, producing a near double-double effort of 11 points and nine boards vs. the Zags. 
  • Key tallied nine blocks over three games at the Battle 4 Atlantis, including five vs. Rutgers.
  • Powell dished out 13 assists in Atlantis vs. five turnovers.
  • Tennessee’s best quarter has been the second frame, where it is outscoring opponents 117-88 for a +29 margin.

What’s Next?

  • Tennessee returns to The Summitt at 2 p.m. on Sunday, as Eastern Kentucky comes to Knoxville for a matinee streamed on SECN+.
  • A special promotion for the EKU game includes a “Weekend Family 4-Pack Deal,” featuring four tickets & four $10 concession vouchers starting at $72 (plus tax/fees).

Looking Back At The Gonzaga Game

  • No. 23 Tennessee fell to Gonzaga on Monday in a 73-72 nail-biter that featured 15 lead changes and nine ties. 
  • With the loss, the Lady Vols took fourth place in the 2022 Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis.
  • Seniors Jordan Horston and Rickea Jackson were the top scorers for UT (2-4) with 19 and 16, respectively, while graduate Jasmine Franklin narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
  • Yvonne Ejim led the Zags (5-1) with 22 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Kaylynne Truong was also in double digits with 14 points, and McKayla Williams turned in 12.

All-Tourney Honors

  • Senior Rickea Jackson was named to the Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis All-Tournament Team.
  • The forward led UT in scoring with 56 points over three games to average 18.7 ppg. and 5.3 rpg. while in the Bahamas.

A Look At The Buffaloes

  • Colorado was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12’s preseason rankings by the coaches and media.
  • The Buffaloes went 22-9 overall and 9-7 in the Pac-12 a year ago, finishing fifth in the league and playing in the NCAA First Round before bowing out.
  • CU returned eight letterwinners and two starters, including Jaylyn Sherrod and Frida Formann, plus 2022 Pac-12 Sixth Player of the Year, Quay Miller.  
  • Sherrod was voted Preseason All-Pac-12, while Miller was voted preseason Pac-12 honorable mention along with Kindyll Wetta, and Miller was also added to the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List.
  • Colorado has made 14 all-time NCAA appearances after last year’s bid.
  • For the second game in a row, Kellie and Jon Harper will be facing another wife/husband coaching duo. Associate head coach Toriano Towns is married to head coach JR Payne.
  • Payne was born in Jackson, Tenn.

Colorado’s Last Game

  • Jaylyn Sherrod and Kindyll Wetta each scored 15 points to lead the Colorado Buffaloes to a hard-fought 71-63 win over Air Force in Boulder on Nov. 19.
  • In four previous visits to CU, Air Force left with on average nearly 31-point losses.  But that wasn’t the case this time, as the upstart Falcons were tough to handle from the get-go, forcing CU to rally from an early eight-point deficit, a margin the Buffs didn’t match until the final score.

UT/CU Notes

  • Tennessee is 3-1 vs. Colorado, winning the last three meetings.
  • The Lady Vols won the last battle between these schools on March 22, 1997, 75-67, with current head coach Kellie Harper starting at point guard under her maiden name of Kellie Jolly.
  • Jolly had nine points, four assists and three rebounds in 32 minutes while piloting her squad to victory in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Iowa City on March 22, 1997.
  • The Big Orange would take down UConn, 91-81, in the Elite Eight and go on to win the 1997 NCAA title in Cincinnati by beating Notre Dame (80-66) and Old Dominion (68-59).
  • That UT championship set the table for a 1997-98 squad that went 39-0 and completed a run of three-straight NCAA titles.
  • UT is 1-0 vs. CU in Knoxville, defeating the Buffaloes in a #1/1 UT vs. #7/7 Colorado clash, 86-82 in overtime, on Dec. 20, 1993.
  • CU outscored UT, 42-34 in the second half to force overtime, but the Lady Vols bested the visitors, 18-14, in extra time to claim the win.

-UT Athletics

Lady Vols / Credit: UT Athletics

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