No. 5/4 Tennessee opens its 2022-23 campaign in Columbus versus No. 14/15 Ohio State in Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center at 8:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
The meeting will be the 12th in the all-time series, with the Big Orange owning a 10-1 advantage after an unranked squad from Rocky Top toppled No. 9/9 OSU, 78-62, on March 25, 2016, in Sioux Falls, S.D., in the NCAA Sweet 16. This will be Tennessee’s second trip to Columbus to face the Buckeyes, claiming a 72-56 triumph during its first visit on Jan. 31, 1980.
This clash will mark the first time the Lady Vols have opened a schedule vs. a ranked foe since a No. 8/9 UT squad took down No. 7/4 Baylor, 74-65, in Knoxville on Nov. 15, 2009. Remarkably for a program with an anytime, anywhere scheduling philosophy under the late, great Pat Summitt, Tennessee will begin a season with a true road game vs. a ranked team for the first time ever. The Lady Vols, however, have opened vs. ranked foes at neutral sites away from Knoxville on multiple occasions, last doing so on Nov. 20, 1994, when a No. 1/1-ranked squad defeated No. 3/2 Louisiana Tech, 69-62, in the State Farm Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at Oman Arena in the West Tennessee city of Jackson.
Tuesday night’s meeting vs. OSU will mark the first of three games for UT in seven days. The Big Orange will head back to Knoxville and play host to two more 2022 NCAA Tournament teams when UMass and No. 11/11 Indiana visit Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 10 (6:30 p.m.) and 14 (6:00 p.m.), respectively.
- Mike Hall (play-by-play) and Stephanie White (analyst) will have the call for the Big Ten Network.
- 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.
- The meeting between UT and OSU brings the career of Lady Vol senior guard Jordan Horston full circle, as she returns to her hometown of Columbus to play in front of family, friends and former teammates.
- Horston was the 2019 Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year and the nation’s No. 2-ranked recruit, earning MVP honors at the McDonald’s All-American Game.
- She starred at Africentric Early College, leading that prep program to state titles in 2016, 2018 and 2019, including a legendary 15-point, 10-rebound, six-assist effort in the state title game as a senior while recovering from the flu and a 102-degree fever.
- Horston mentioned Friday that she and Ohio State’s Madison Greene grew up playing basketball together and are friends, but when they step on the court it will be all business.
Powell Faces Former League Foe
- For Tennessee senior guard Jasmine Powell, a transfer from Minnesota, it will seem like old times facing the Buckeyes like she did while playing in the Big Ten for three seasons.
- While with the Gophers, she averaged 12.8 ppg., 4.4 apg. and 3.8 rpg. while starting 48 of 68 contests.
- Powell has averaged 11.8 ppg. and 3.0 apg. vs. the Buckeyes during five career contests.
- In her last meeting vs. OSU, Powell produced 17 points, nine assists, five rebounds, three steals and two turnovers in 36 minutes on Jan. 15, 2022.
- On Feb. 13, 2020, Powell scored 21 points and tallied career bests of 14 made free throws in 15 attempts.
Peep That Schedule
- Tennessee’s schedule features games vs. seven teams ranked in the preseason polls and potential match-ups in two more games at the Bad Boy Mowers Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis.
- The Big Orange women are set to face three teams from the 2022 NCAA Final Four (South Carolina, Stanford, UConn) and could face a fourth (Louisville) in the Atlantis tourney.
- The Lady Vols host No. 1/1 South Carolina, No. 6/6 UConn, No. 11/11 Indiana and No. 13/13 Virginia Tech.
- UT has road contests at No. 2/2 Stanford, No. 14/15 Ohio State and No. 16/14 LSU.
- Potential ranked Battle 4 Atlantis foes in two contests include No. 3/3 Texas, No. 7/5 Louisville and No. 23/24 South Dakota State.
Lady Vols In Openers
- The Lady Vols are 44-4 in season openers over the past 48 years, including 28-3 at home, 8-1 on the road and 8-0 at neutral sites.
- UT has won its last nine season openers and 21 of its last 22.
- Tennessee has a 45-3 all-time record in its first home contest of the year and a 40-7 mark in its first road game of the season.
- UT has won six straight while playing the team’s first road game of a season.
Kellie Harper In Openers
- Kellie Harper is 7-0 while coaching a Power 5 school (4-0 at NC State, 3-0 at Tennessee) in season openers.
- Her teams defeated East Tennessee State (away), Western Kentucky (home) and Southern Illinois (home) in her first three seasons at UT, respectively.
Last Year’s Lady Vol Opener
- In a defensive battle, No. 15/12 Tennessee took down Southern Illinois, 59-49, in last year’s season opener on Nov. 21, 2021, at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols rode a late run to victory, outscoring the Salukis 17-2 in the last five minutes of play.
- Tennessee overcame the absence of its top three returners, as Jordan Horston did not play due to injury. Rae Burrell went down with an injury in the second quarter and was unable to return. Tamari Key accumulated fouls early and was held out of significant action until the fourth quarter.
- Alexus Dye made her presence felt in her first game as a Lady Volunteer. The graduate transfer tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds for her 33rd career double-double. Graduate Jordan Walker led UT in scoring with 14 points, while Burrell tossed in 12 on 6-of-9 shooting before departing.
Looking Back At UT’s Exhibition Game
- The first look at the 2022-23 Tennessee Lady Volunteers offered plenty of excitement, as the loaded roster of veteran returners mixed with a strong signing class looked sharp on both ends of the floor in UT’s 108-63 exhibition win against Carson-Newman at Thompson-Boling Arena on Oct. 30.
- Offensively, the No. 5/4 Lady Vols fired on all cylinders. Four players finished with double-digit scoring. Tennessee scored at all three levels, winning the battle in the paint by outsourcing Carson-Newman 50-22 down low in addition to connecting on 12 3-pointers. Fourteen of the 15 Lady Vols who played scored in the contest with eight recording multiple buckets and with the bench accounting for 56 points.
- Senior Jordan Horston posted a game-high 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists and two steals in just 12 minutes of action. Coming off the bench, sophomore Sara Puckett had a strong outing with 15 points on 67-percent shooting (6-9) and three 3-pointers.
- Senior Rickea Jackson showed off her scoring ability, as she notched 14 points, three assists and two steals in the win. Redshirt sophomore Marta Suárez made her return to the hardwood after missing all of last season and did not disappoint. She added 14 points of 5-of-7 shooting, including scoring eight straight for UT to end the first quarter.
- Tennessee dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Eagles 48-29. The Lady Vols grabbed 20 offensive rebounds which led to 23 second-chance points. UT assisted on 25 of its 41 baskets, with six different players finishing with three assists.
- Defensively, the Big Orange forced 23 turnovers behind 10 steals and five blocks. The defense led to offense, as Tennessee scored 42 points off the turnovers.
- Other notable performances included senior Jasmine Powell and freshman Justine Pissott each scoring nine points in their Lady Vol debuts. Senior Tamari Key finished with eight points, three boards and two blocks. Graduate Jordan Walker grabbed six rebounds to go along with four points and three assists, while graduate Jasmine Franklin finished with a game-high 10 boards and scored four points.
Big Things Are Brewing On Rocky Top
- Tennessee returns 10 players, including four full-time starters, from a squad that began last year 18-1 and finished 25-9 overall and 11-5 in the SEC (third).
- The Lady Vols did so while advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 despite season-ending injuries to three key contributors (starters Keyen Green, Jordan Horston and Marta Suárez).
- UT also brings aboard six newcomers, including three heralded senior transfers, a sophomore transfer who was a five-star prep recruit, a five-star freshman signee and a walk-on who turned down scholarships to be in Knoxville.
Six Returnees With Starting Experience
- The Lady Vols feature four full-time starters returning from 2021-22, a fifth with two games in the jump circle as a freshman a year ago and a sixth who was in the first five 14 times as a rookie in 2020-21.
- Leading the returning starters are 6-foot-2 senior All-SEC/All-America Honorable Mention combo guard Jordan Horston (16.2 ppg., 9.4 rpg., 4.0 apg., 23 starts before injury) and 6-6 senior All-SEC/All-Defensive Team center Tamari Key (10.5 ppg., 8.1 rpg., 3.5 bpg., 34 starts, school blocks single-season and career record holder).
- Additional starters back include 5-8 graduate point guard Jordan Walker (7.6 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 3.5 apg., 34 starts) and 6-1 junior guard/forward Tess Darby (5.3 ppg., 2.4 rpg., 49 3FGs, 30 starts).
- Other returning contributors with starting experience include 6-2 sophomore guard/forward Sara Puckett (6.4 ppg., 3.5 rpg., two starts, 2022 SEC All-Freshman) and 6-3 redshirt sophomore guard/forward Marta Suárez (4.1 ppg., 3.6 rpg., 14 starts, 2021 SEC All-Freshman, missed 2021-22 due to injury).
Experience Off The Bench
- UT also welcomes back a trio of sophomores with 88 combined games of experience and a senior who has seen the court in 65 career contests.
- Rising sophomores who logged substantial playing time a year ago include 5-4 point guard Brooklynn Miles (2.5 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 33 games), 6-0 guard Kaiya Wynn (2.3 ppg., 2.0 rpg., 30 games) and 6-3 forward Karoline Striplin (2.6 ppg., 2.1 rpg., 25 games).
- Miles built a reputation as a defensive menace, Wynn overcame an injury to flash her potential on both ends and Striplin had one of her finest efforts of the year vs. Louisville in the NCAA Sweet 16, carding seven points, six boards and a block in 13 minutes.
- Jessie Rennie (0.6 ppg., 0.5 apg., 0.4 rpg., 21 games) is the aforementioned senior, but the three-point specialist will be sidelined for an extended period of time following surgery in June to repair an offseason knee injury.
Newcomers Add To Decorated Roster
- The Lady Vols welcome three all-conference transfer additions, giving Tennessee a roster flush with eight players earning league recognition at the college level, including six all-conference performers.
- That trio of newcomers includes starters and all-league performers Rickea Jackson, a 6-2 forward from Mississippi State (20.3 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 2021 All-SEC, two-time WBCA All-America H.M., Cheryl Miller Award Finalist), Jasmine Franklin, a 6-1 graduate power forward from Missouri State who played for Jon and Kellie Harper there as a freshman (14.9 ppg., 12.1 rpg., 2.4 bpg., two-time All-MVC, 2022 MVC Def. Player of the Year), and Jasmine Powell, a 5-6 senior point guard from Minnesota (12.4 ppg., 5.7 apg., 4.4 rpg., 2021 All-Big Ten, 2020 All-Big 10 Honorable Mention and Big Ten All-Freshman).
- They join returning All-SEC performers Jordan Horston (first team) and Tamari Key (second team), 2020 All-Mid-American Conference performer Jordan Walker, as well as 2022 SEC All-Freshman honoree Sara Puckett and 2021 SEC All-Freshman Team member Marta Suárez.
Wait…There Is More!
- In addition to Franklin, Jackson and Powell, Kellie Harper welcomes another player with college experience in Jillian Hollingshead, a mobile 6-5 sophomore forward transferring from Georgia (5.1 ppg., 2.5 rpg., two-time 2021-22 SEC Freshman of the Week).
- Hollingshead was a 2021 McDonald’s H.S. All-American whose time on the court was limited a year ago with an illness and nagging injury. She appears back to full strength and has unlimited potential.
- UT also welcomes two high school signees, including McDonald’s and WBCA All-American Justine Pissott, a 6-foot-4 wing, and 5-7 lefty guard Edie Darby, the younger sister of Tess. Both newcomers bring long-range shooting prowess to the program.
- Pissott and Hollingshead join Jordan Horston and Rickea Jackson as McDonald’s A-A honorees on the UT roster after the Lady Vols had only one (Horston) last season.
Personnel Losses From A Year Ago
- Rae Burrell (12.3 ppg.) was the No. 9 pick in the WNBA Draft despite playing only 22 games and starting 13 after a game-one injury.
- UT also lost 34-game starter Alexus Dye (10.2 ppg., 7.7 rpg.) and reserve posts Keyen Green (7.0 ppg., 3.2 rpg.) and Emily Saunders (1.0 ppg.), all of whom graduated.
A Look At Ohio State
- The Buckeyes were selected second by the league’s coaches and third by the media in the preseason Big Ten polls.
- Senior guards Taylor Mikesell and Jacy Sheldon were selected to the preseason All-Big Ten teams by both the coaches and media. Mikesell was also named to the preseason watch list for the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award.
- Last season, Ohio State concluded the season with a 25-7 overall record and a 14-4 Big Ten record to capture the regular-season title.
- The Buckeyes advanced to the 2022 NCAA Sweet 16 as a six seed following wins against Missouri State and at third-seeded LSU.
- Redshirt junior guard Madison Greene is slated to make her regular-season debut against Tennessee after missing the 2021-22 due to a season-ending injury before the opener.
- As a sophomore in 2020-21, Greene averaged 13.4 ppg and led the team with 4.3 apg and .857 free-throw shooting. Greene was named All-Big Ten honorable mention following the season.
- Kevin McGuff is in his 10th season at Ohio State and his 21st year overall as a head coach, possessing records of 144-92 and 399-191, respectively.
- He also was head coach at Xavier and Washington.
- McGuff led the Buckeyes back to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2022 after winning a share of the regular season Big Ten Championship.
- He has made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances with Xavier and OSU and directed his teams to postseason play in 17 of his 20 seasons.
- According to the UT record book, this is the 12th meeting between these schools in women’s basketball.
- The Lady Vols have won the past five contests vs. Ohio State, with the last three of those coming during the NCAA Tournament.
- Tennessee is 3-0 at home, 1-0 on the road and 6-1 at neutral sites vs. the Buckeyes.
- The only Big Orange loss to Ohio State, 83-82 in overtime, came on Dec. 17, 1981, at Portland State’s Giusti Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon.
- This will mark Kellie Harper‘s first meeting as a head coach with Ohio State, and she is 1-1 vs. Big Ten teams as the skipper at her alma mater.
- Tennessee is 80-15 all-time vs. teams from the Big Ten Conference.
- The Big Orange did not face any Big Ten foes in 2021-22, but UT went 1-1 vs. the league in 2020-21, winning as an unranked team at No. 15/15 Indiana, 66-58, and seeing its season end at the hands of No. 16/14 Michigan in the NCAA Second Round, 70-55, at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
- UT is set to face Big Ten schools No. 14/15 Ohio State (away), No. 11/11 Indiana (home) and Rutgers (neutral) in 2022-23.
- Behind a career night from Mercedes Russell, Tennessee advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight after defeating Ohio State, 78-62, in the Sweet 16 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., on March 25, 2016, the last time these programs faced off.
- Russell’s dominance throughout the game led to her best performance donning the orange, scoring a career-high 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting. She also collected 15 rebounds, matching a career best.
- Te’a Cooper (16), Bashaara Graves (14) and Diamond DeShields (10) all scored in double figures for the Lady Vols, while Ameryst Alston led the Buckeyes in scoring with 21 points. Tennessee’s starting frontcourt of Graves and Russell combined for 39 points.
- Tennessee shot 50 percent from the field on 31-of-62 shooting and scored 50 paint points, while Ohio State finished 22-of-67 (37 percent).
- The Lady Vols dominated the majority of the game, holding the lead for over 38 minutes and stretching the margin by as much as 22.
The Buckeyes’ Last Game
- No. 15/14 Ohio State beat Notre Dame College by a 118-33 margin in an exhibition game on Oct. 31 at Value City Arena in the Schottenstein Center.
- OSU was impressive in all stages of the game with eight players scoring in double figures on 55.4 percent (46-of-83) shooting as a team. The Buckeyes had assists on 31 of those baskets and earned 14 steals and seven blocks.
- Emma Shumate (18), Jacy Sheldon (16), Rikki Harris (13), Madison Greene (12), Hevynne Bristow (12), Rebeka Mikulášiková (11), Taylor Mikesell (10) and Eboni Walker (10) hit double figures for the Buckeyes.
- All 10 Buckeyes who saw the court in the first half scored points.
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