KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- One month from Friday, the Tennessee women's basketball team will depart for its three-game European Tour, visiting the Netherlands, Belgium and France from Aug. 5-15.
The trip, coordinated by Basketball Travelers, will include a trio of games as well as visits to historic places and tourist destinations in all three countries. The Lady Vols, under the direction of first-year head coach Kellie Harper, depart Knoxville for Amsterdam on Aug. 5 and return to Knoxville from Paris on Aug. 15.
The Lady Vols will stay in Amsterdam from Aug. 6-9, playing a game vs. Den Helder on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. local time in the naval port of Den Helder. During their stay in Amsterdam, the UT contingent will also take a canal boat tour as well as visit the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the neighborhood and windmills of Zaanse Schans in the nearby town of Zaandam.
From Aug. 9-11, Tennessee will visit Belgium. In addition to staying and touring the beautiful, historic cities of Ghent and Bruges, the Big Orange squad will face off against Laarne at 8 p.m. local time on Aug. 10 in the city of Laarne.
The trip continues southward on Aug. 11, as Tennessee's bus makes its way to Deauville, France, for some touring of that city's beauty and culture. The next day, the group heads to the beaches of Normandy for more sightseeing and history lessons of the D-Day Invasion before traveling on to Paris.
Aug. 13 brings game three of the trip, with UT battling Parisian Select at 5 p.m. local time in Brétigny-sur-Orge. Among the excursions the Lady Vols will enjoy during their stay in Paris will be visits to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay as well as a Seine River cruise. The travel party will return to Knoxville on Aug. 15.
This will mark Tennessee's ninth international excursion, including 2013-14 and 2018-19 regular-season tournaments in the Bahamas (Junkanoo Jam) and a 2017-18 tourney in Mexico (Cancun Challenge). The Lady Vols had previous summer trips to Brazil in 1987, Belgium/France/Switzerland in 1999, Italy/Greece in 2003 and Italy in 2015. They also went to Great Britain in January of 1992.
UT is 21-7 all-time on foreign soil, including NCAA countable wins over SMU and Virginia at the 2013 Junkanoo Jam, Marquette, Oklahoma State and South Dakota at the 2017 Cancun Challenge and Clemson and UAB at the 2018 Junkanoo Jam.
The Lady Vols return six letterwinners, including two starters from last season's squad that finished 19-13 overall and made its 38th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Rennia Davis, a 6-foot-2 junior forward, averaged 14.9 ppg. and 7.7 rpg. en route to All-SEC Second Team and WBCA Honorable Mention All-America accolades, while 6-0 sophomore guard Zaay Green put up 9.4 ppg. and 4.0 rpg. on her way to SEC All-Freshman status.
Returning reserves include 6-4 junior center Kasiyahna Kushkituah (4.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg.), sophomore wing Rae Burrell (3.6 ppg., 2.8 rpg.), sophomore point guard Jazmine Massengill (3.4 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 1.3 apg.) and 6-3 senior forward Kamera Harris.
UT's No. 9-ranked freshman class is led by 6-2 guard Jordan Horston, ranked as the No. 2 player overall and No. 1 at her position in the nation. She was the MVP of the 2019 McDonald's All-America Game. Also included in that top-10 rookie group are 6-5 posts Tamari Key and Emily Saunders, ranked as a five-star by espnW HoopGurlz and a four-star by ProspectsNation.com, respectively.
UT also added 5-foot-6 three-point ace Jessie Rennie from Bendigo, Australia, and 6-3 forward Jaiden McCoy, a Knoxville native who played at Northwest Florida State College and earned All-Panhandle Conference honors last season.
Graduate transfer Lou Brown from Washington State also is back after suffering a knee injury during 2018-19 preseason practice and sitting out the entire year. She was ranked No. 2 by prospectsnation.com in its International Elite Top 25 for 2014. She averaged 6.4 ppg. and 6.0 rpg. in 2017-18 while hitting 29 threes in a return to action following an injury-shortened 2016-17 campaign in Pullman.
Former Lady Vol Kellie Harper takes the reins after leading Missouri State to a Sweet 16 appearance in last season's NCAA Tournament. She is joined by assistants Jon Harper, Lacey Goldwire and Jennifer Sullivan.
In 15 seasons as a head coach, Harper is 285-208 and is one of only 11 coaches to lead three different women's programs to NCAA Tournament appearances (Western Carolina/NC State/Missouri State). She has rebuilt and directed teams to 12 postseason appearances (5 NCAA/7 WNIT).
Harper was 118-79 at MSU in six seasons, earning 2019 Kay Yow Coach of the Year and 2019 MVC Coach of the Year accolades.
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