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Lady Vols win season opener against Western Kentucky

Tennessee to host WKU Saturday at TBA
Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 4:47 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2020 at 8:41 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee hosted Western Kentucky on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena in the 2020-21 opener for both schools. The Lady Vols were set to open the season Friday against Florida A&M, but FAMU announced on Nov. 23 that it was opting out of the season due to concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health crisis.

UT beat WKU in a 87-47 game.

Tennessee is coming off a season in which it posted a 21-10 record and finished tied for third in the SEC with a 10-6 record during Kellie Harper’s first year as head coach. WKU, meanwhile was 22-7 a year ago, tying for second in Conference USA with a 14-4 mark under now third-year coach Greg Collins. The Hilltoppers had an impressive RPI of 31 at the end of last season.

LADY VOLS IN OPENERS

  • The Lady Vols are 42-4 in season openers over the past 46 years, including 8-1 on the road, 26-3 at home and 8-0 at neutral sites.
  • UT has won its last seven season openers and 19 of its last 20.
  • Tennessee has a 43-3 all-time record in its first home contest of the year and a 39-7 mark in its first road game of the season.
  • UT has won five straight while playing the team’s first road game of a season.
  • Kellie Harper is 5-0 while coaching a Power 5 school (4-0 at NC State, 1-0 at Tennessee) in season openers after defeating ETSU last season.

HOME SWEET HOME

  • This is the 34th season that the Tennessee women’s and men’s basketball teams have called Thompson-Boling Arena their home, and the Lady Vols own an incredible 465-48 mark (.906) in the venue.
  • The Lady Volunteers have built a combined 618-72 (.896) home record in contests played at Thompson-Boling Arena, Stokely Athletics Center and Alumni Gym.
  • Kellie Harper is 13-3 overall and 6-2 in SEC play in games played on The Summitt.

UT RETURNS MOST OF ITS FIREPOWER

  • Tennessee returns five of its top six scorers and rebounders from 2019-20, including the top four in each category.
  • Kellie Harper welcomes back 80.8 percent of her scoring, 76.4 percent of rebounds, 78.6 percent of blocks, 71.0 percent of steals and 64.8 percent of assists from a year ago.
  • The Big Orange women also return 80.6 percent of their field goals, including 73.3 percent of their three-pointers, and 84.8 percent of free throws from last season.

FOUR STARTERS ARE BACK

  • Tennessee returns four players who were in the starting lineup during the 2019-20 season. That group includes senior Rennia Davis, junior Rae Burrell and sophomore Tamari Key. Sophomore Jordan Horston earned 22 starts before giving way to Burrell in the final nine contests.
  • Davis is Tennessee’s top returnee. The 6-foot-2 guard/forward was a first-team All-SEC choice a year ago and an All-America honorable mention recipient from AP, the USBWA and WBCA. She averaged 18.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2019-20 while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 80.2 percent from the free throw line.
  • Burrell is a 6-1 guard/forward who averaged 10.5 ppg. and 5.5 rpg. while knocking down 21 three-pointers. The team’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, she was the top reserve for the first 22 games before starting the final nine contests of the season. She averaged 12.3 ppg. and 5.7 rpg. during that end-of-year stint in the first five.
  • Key is a 6-5 center who averaged 7.3 ppg., 4.7 rpg. and 2.8 bpg. while shooting 56 percent from the field. She finished No. 1 in the SEC in blocked shots (86) and blocks per game (2.8) and ranked 11th and 13th in the NCAA in those categories, respectively.
  • Horston, a 6-2 point guard, averaged 10.1 ppg., 5.5 rpg. and 4.6 apg. in 2019-20. She ranked first on the team in assists (143) and steals (39), second in blocks (25) and three-pointers made (27), and third in points scored (313) and rebounds (170) en route to SEC All-Freshman honors.
  • Her 143 assists and 4.6 assist average both ranked second all-time among freshmen at Tennessee, and she was fourth in the SEC for assist average.

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