Hoops Preview: Lady Vols at Texas A&M

Hoops Preview: Lady Vols at Texas A&M

NR/RV Tennessee (12-6, 4-0 SEC) and Texas A&M (5-9, 0-4 SEC) will meet in a late Thursday evening contest at Reed Arena in College Station, tipping off at 8:02 p.m. Central Time (9:02 p.m. Eastern).

The Lady Vols and the Aggies will meet for the 17th time in a series that dates back to 1997, with UT holding a 9-7 advantage after winning in Knoxville last season by a 73-45 count.

Through four games, UT remains tied atop the SEC standings along with South Carolina, LSU and Ole Miss, while A&M currently is slotted in 11th place along with three other teams. Kellie Harper‘s squad enters on a five-game winning streak and has been victorious in 10 of its past 12 contests, with its only two losses coming vs. (then) No. 9/9 Virginia Tech (59-56) on Dec. 4 and at No. 2/2 Stanford on Dec. 18 (77-70).

On Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee stayed unbeaten in league play by taking care of Vanderbilt (9-9, 0-4), 84-71, with Rickea Jackson firing in 23 points in 27 minutes of duty, while Jordan Horston chipped in 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Karoline Striplin contributed a career-best 13 points in the victory. With her eighth dime of the game, Horston became only the fourth Lady Vol to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists in a career.

Tennessee evened its record on the road at 2-2 this season, including 2-0 in league play, after dropping its first two away games of the year at top-three ranked teams Ohio State and Stanford. 

Following a 4-1 start this season, Texas A&M has dropped eight of its last nine contests as injuries have taken their toll on the roster. On Sunday in College Station, the Aggies suffered through a 1-for-13 day beyond the arc and turned the ball over 24 times en route to a 57-38 defeat at the hands of Ole Miss (15-2, 4-0) with only seven A&M players seeing action.

Broadcast Information

  • Thursday night’s game will be televised on SEC Network, with Courtney Lyle (PxP) and Carolyn Peck (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 stations and by audio stream, with Brian Rice on the call and Andy Brock serving as studio host.  
  • A link to the live audio stream can be found on the Hoops Central page or the 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 frequently on satellite radio via SiriusXM and the SXM App. but will not be available this game.

What’s Next?

  • After back-to-back games on the road, Tennessee returns to the friendly confines of Thompson-Boling Arena to host two contests where it is 9-2 this season.
  • Tennessee and Georgia will meet on Sunday and have been notified that their game will air on the SEC Network. Tip-off for that contest is slated for 1:02 p.m. ET.
  • That game will feature Kids’ Day Out with the Lady Vols presented by KOC. For more info., go to AllVols.com.
  • Florida comes to town for the annual “We Back Pat” game on Jan. 19. Tip-off is set for 6:32 p.m. ET.

Tennessee Putting The Ball In The Hole

  • Tennessee is averaging 79.5 points per game this season to rank No. 23 nationally and No. 3 in the SEC after putting up 70.1 a year ago (72nd/8th).
  • That average currently stands as the best at UT since the 2002-03 squad finished the year at 79.9 ppg.
  • The Lady Vols are producing 84.0 ppg. over the past nine contests.
  • In four SEC games, Tennessee is putting up a league-leading 82.5 points per contest. 
  • They have scored at least 80 points in their last three games.
  • Of note, Texas A&M allows only 58.4 ppg. and has not allowed any opponent to score more than 76 this season. South Carolina tallied 76 on Dec. 29.

High Scoring Tandem

  • The Lady Vols have two standouts scoring in double figures and seven other active players averaging at least 4.4 ppg. and double-digit minutes per contest.
  • In a role that she has embraced and in which she is excelling, Rickea Jackson is coming off the bench and leading Tennessee in scoring (17.8 ppg.) and standing second in rebounding (5.8 rpg.). 
  • Jackson is No. 4 in the SEC in scoring in all games (17.8) and No. 2 in league play (22.8).
  • She has recorded a team-leading six 20+ scoring efforts. She also has tallied double figures in points in 14 of her 16 games.
  • In a starting role, Jordan Horston is UT’s second-leading scorer (15.8) and leading rebounder (6.8).
  • Horston ranks seventh in scoring in the SEC for all games (15.8) and is 12th in league games only (16.0).
  • Horston has four games of 20+ points and four double-doubles, while firing in 10 or more points in 15 of 16 of the games she has completed this season.

UT Knocking Down Shots

  • UT is shooting 48.0 percent from the field in league games to rank first through four contests.
  • The Lady Vols are fourth in all games among SEC teams at 45.9 percent, a mark that ranks 30th nationally for field goal percentage.
  • Rickea Jackson (57.8) and Jordan Horston (47.4) are Tennessee’s top shooters in league play, with Jackson and Horston ranking fifth and 10th in the SEC.
  • In all games, Jackson (55.1) and Horston (46.2) are fourth and ninth among conference players.
  • Karoline Striplin (61.1) and Jasmine Franklin (60.0) shoot with high success rates but don’t have enough attempts to qualify for being ranked.
  • A 59.4 percent shooting effort vs. Wright State was Tennessee’s best since hitting at a 61.7 clip vs. Liberty on 3/16/18 in the NCAA First Round.
  • UT recorded a school-record 84.6 shooting percentage for a quarter in the third frame vs. Wright State.

Scoring Depth & Range

  • Tess Darby and Sara Puckett have upped their offense over the last nine games, averaging 8.7 ppg. and 7.3 ppg., respectively, to rank third and fourth for UT.
  • Darby has scored in double figures in three of her past five games and just missed against Vandy with nine.
  • That spurt has pushed Darby’s scoring average in SEC play to 10.8 ppg., ranking her third on the team.
  • Puckett (10-21, 47.6 pct.) and Tess Darby (21-46, 45.7 pct.) have been sharpshooters from beyond the three-point arc over the past nine contests.
  • Darby leads UT from beyond the arc at 43.0 percent (34-70) in all games and at 42.9 (12-28) in the SEC.

Cleaning The Glass

  • Through three contests in 2022-23, UT was barely out-rebounding opponents (39.3-38.0). They’ve now opened that margin up to +11.5 (43.7-32.2), out-boarding foes in 14 of 18 games, including 12 of the past 13.
  • Tennessee is averaging 45.1 rebounds per game over the past nine contests.
  • UT now ranks No. 17 nationally and No. 3 in the SEC in rebounds per game (43.7).
  • In rebound margin, UT is No. 7 nationally and No. 3 in the SEC at +11.5.
  • The Big Orange women are No. 20 in the NCAA and No. 4 in the SEC for offensive boards per game (15.6).
  • Tennessee has tallied 20 or more offensive rebounds in the past two games, tying a season high with 25 vs. Mississippi State and grabbing 20 more vs. Vandy for their first back-to back 20 o-board efforts of the year.
  • UT’s 50 rebounds vs. Mississippi State on Jan. 5 marked the fourth time it corralled 50+ this season.
  • Tennessee allowed only 15 rebounds to Wright State on Dec. 11, which is second in UT history only to the 13 grabbed by Puerto Rico-Mayaguez on 11/29/02 and tied with the 15 by Ole Miss on 2/24/11.

Looking Back At The Vandy Game  

  • Tennessee remained perfect in SEC play, defeating Vanderbilt in Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon, 84-71.
  • Three players were in double figures for the Lady Vols (12-6, 4-0 SEC). Senior small forward Rickea Jackson was the top scorer for UT with 23 points, while sophomore power forward Karoline Striplin posted a career-high 13 and senior guard Jordan Horston turned in 13 points to go along with eight assists and eight rebounds.
  • The Big Orange built its win streak to five games and claimed victory for the 10th time in the past 12 contests. Tennessee, which beat VU for the 15th time in the past 16 meetings in the series, remains tied atop the SEC standings along with South Carolina, LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss.
  • The Commodores (9-9, 0-4 SEC), who fell to their in-state rivals at Memorial Gymnasium for the eighth-straight occasion, were led by Ciaja Harbison who had a game-high 27 points. Marnelle Garraud and Sacha Washington were also in double figures with 19 and 13, respectively.

Elite Company For Horston

  • With eight assists against Vandy, Jordan Horston added her name to the short list of Lady Vols who have recorded at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 400 assists.
  • Horston is just the fourth player in program history to do so, joining Kara Lawson (1,950/621/456 from 1999-2003), Dena Head (1,483/640/439 from 1988-92) and Alexis Hornbuckle (1,333/503/740 from 2004-2008).
  • Horston’s dish to Rickea Jackson for a fastbreak bucket with 57 seconds remaining in the game was the 400th dime.  
  • She currently sits at 1,142 points, 585 rebounds and 400 assists through 96 career games.

UT/A&M Notes

  • UT is 4-2 in Knoxville, 1-4 in College Station and 4-1 at neutral sites vs. the Aggies.
  • The Big Orange women are 7-7 vs. A&M since the Aggies joined the SEC.
  • A&M is 2-0 in overtime games vs. UT, with both of those taking place in College Station.
  • In the initial meeting in Knoxville between these teams on Feb. 28, 2013, Tennessee defeated A&M, 82-72, on Senior Day to give UT an SEC regular-season championship on the Lady Vols’ home court.
  • UT’s first two contests vs. Texas A&M came in tournaments, including one regular-season event in 1997-98 and one postseason event during the 2007-08 campaign.
  • In the first meeting, the #1/1 Lady Vols rolled to a 105-81 victory over the Aggies at the Northern Lights Invitational in Alaska in game two of a three-game stay.
  • The famed “Three Meeks” dazzled #8/9 A&M on Dec. 19, 1997, as Chamique Holdsclaw tallied 29, Semeka Randall tossed in 23 and Tamika Catchings added a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds for #1/1 UT in the high-scoring affair.
  • Kellie (Jolly) Harper was UT’s point guard in that game, and she was the Lady Vols’ fourth player in double figures with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers.
  • In 2008, Candace Parker scored 26 points and Alexis Hornbuckle chipped in 14, as the Lady Vols defeated Texas A&M, 53-45, in the Oklahoma City Regional Final to advance to the Final Four in Tampa.
  • After both of those tourney wins over the Aggies, the Lady Vols would advance to, and win, the NCAA Final Four in 1998 and 2008. 

A Look At The Aggies

  • Joni Taylor is in her first season after leading the Georgia program the previous seven seasons. She replaced retired coaching legend Gary Blair.
  • Texas A&M has been plagued by injuries and played only seven Aggies in Sunday’s loss to Ole Miss.
  • Freshman and leading scorer Janiah Barker (12.1 ppg.) is sidelined by a fractured right wrist and hasn’t played since Nov. 30 vs. Kansas.
  • With only eight seeing action in SEC play, the Aggies are averaging only 38.5 points per game on offense and shooting 29.0 percent from the field, 15.2 percent on threes and 61.5 percent on free throws.
  • TAMU is getting out-rebounded, 45.0 to 31.0 (-14.0).

Texas A&M’s Last Game

  • Texas A&M dropped Sunday’s game against Ole Miss, 57-38, inside Reed Arena.
  • Playing with just seven players available for the fourth time this season, the Aggies once again got the job done on the defensive end but were unable to convert on offensive opportunities. 
  • The Maroon & White held Ole Miss 16 points below its season scoring average. For the 2022-23 campaign, Texas A&M has held every opponent under their average scoring output. The Aggies limited the Rebels to 35.1% (20-of-57) shooting from the field, their second-lowest percentage of the season.
  • Aaliyah Patty registered her second double-double of the season and the 13th of her career, pacing the Aggies with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jada Malone chipped in 10 points.

Last Meeting Between UT/TAMU

  • No. 7/8 Tennessee rolled to a decisive victory over No. 25/23 Texas A&M on Jan. 6, 2022, posting a 73-45 win in Thompson-Boling Arena.
  • The Lady Vols (14-1, 3-0 SEC) were led by junior Jordan Horston, who posted a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Junior Tamari Key narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and a career-high 11 blocked shots.
  • Destiny Pitts led the Aggies (10-4, 0-2 SEC) with 12 points, while Kayla Wells and Qadashah Hoppie were also in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively.

-UT Athletics

Lady Vols / Credit: UT Athletics


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