Lady Vols take down Mizzou during second round of SEC Tournament

Source: WVLT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT.) -- Tennessee (20-9, 10-6 SEC) opened play on Thursday in the second round of the 2020 SEC Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.

Lady Vols trailed Mizzou 34-26 at the half, but dominated the third quarter and came back to win 64-51.

The Lady Vols, who tied for third in the league standings, were assigned the No. 6 seed based on the SEC's tie-breaker policy. They met No. 11 seed Missouri (9-21, 5-11 SEC), which defeated Ole Miss (7-23, 0-16 SEC), 64-53, in a first-round contest on Wednesday afternoon.

Tennessee beat Mizzou 77-66, in Knoxville to open the SEC slate back on Jan. 2. The Lady Vols lead the all-time series vs. the Tigers, 10-3.

UT came into the tournament on a three-game winning streak, having defeated Vanderbilt and Ole Miss at home and Auburn on the road to secure the program's 43rd 20-victory season in the past 44 years. The 2018-19 squad finished 19-13 and came up a win short of keeping a lengthy streak intact.

The winner of Thursday night's contest advances to the third round to meet No. 3 seed Kentucky at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Friday.

TENNESSEE IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT

Tennessee enters Thursday night's game with a 79-23 (.775) all-time record in the 41st year of the SEC Tournament. The Lady Vols improved to 35-5 all-time in their opening game of the SEC Tournament and are 26-9 in their second contest of the tourney. UT was a No. 8 seed a year ago and is playing as a No. 6 seed for the first time. No. 6 is the Big Orange's highest seeding since entering as a No. 5 in 2017 at Greenville. Tennessee is seeking to capture its league-leading 18th SEC championship trophy. UT was victorious in 1980, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

SEC TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE

This marks the active SEC Tournament debut for six of 12 Lady Vols, including Lou Brown (injured last season), Jordan Horston, Tamari Key, Jaiden McCoy, Jessie Rennie and Emily Saunders. This also is the first SEC Tournament for Kellie Harper and her coaching staff while at Tennessee. Kellie Harper had an 11-1 record at the SEC Tournament during her time as a student-athlete at UT with postseason tournament titles in 1996, 1998 and 1999. The only loss was in the 1997 semifinals.

THE ROAD LEADING UP TO THIS

Tennessee has won its last three contests, defeating Vanderbilt (67-63) and Ole Miss (77-66) in back-to-back home games and closing out the regular season with a 56-55 squeaker at Auburn to improve to 20-9 overall and 10-6 in league play. Despite its substantial personnel losses from a year ago, UT has managed to improve upon its 19-13/7-9 outcome of 2018-19. The past three wins have been critical bounce-back contests after UT dropped five straight during a brutal stretch that included No. 1 South Carolina, No. 8 Mississippi State, LSU (receiving votes), No. 16 Texas A&M and No. 22 Arkansas in succession. UT had won six straight SEC contests and stood at 7-1 before dropping those five consecutive contests.

Tennessee's Rennia Davis is averaging 18.3 ppg. in all games and 19.9 ppg. in SEC play, shooting 49.6 percent (118-238) from the field and 82.8 (48-58) percent at the charity stripe vs. league foes. Sophomore Rae Burrell and freshman Jordan Horston join Davis as UT's next highest scorers in SEC play, contributing 10.5 and 9.9 per game. Burrell has started the past seven games after coming off the bench the previous 22 contests. She is averaging 13.0 ppg. and 6.3 rpg. over her last seven games. Horston has come off the bench and has produced 8.8 ppg., 4.6 apg. and 4.4 rpg. the past five games.



 
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