KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 2019-20 Tennessee women’s basketball non-conference schedule is set, and the Lady Vols, will face three opponents that finished among the top six nationally in the final 2018-19 AP Poll.
Head coach Kellie Harper‘s first year at the helm of the Big Orange women will be highlighted by road contests at No. 3 Notre Dame (Nov. 11), No. 6 Stanford (Dec. 18) and No. 2 UConn (Jan. 23) as well as a home contest vs. No. 22 Texas (Dec. 8). Tip times and television network assignments will be available at a later date when the information has been approved for release.
Stanford, UConn, Texas and Notre Dame are listed at No. 3, 7, 15 and 17 in Charlie Crème’s 2019-20 Way-To-Early Top 25, which was released on April 22. UT is ranked No. 24 on that list.
Tennessee begins the campaign on Oct. 29 with a home exhibition game vs. Carson-Newman before Harper makes her official Big Orange debut on the road vs. ETSU in Johnson City on Nov. 5. The Lady Vols will play their regular season home opener on Nov. 7, as Central Arkansas comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for the third time since 2015.
In the earliest match-up in the history of their 29-game series, the Lady Vols and Fighting Irish will convene in Notre Dame, Ind., on Nov. 11. It will mark their fifth meeting during that month, but their first non-January regular-season match-up since 2006.
Following the trip to the Joyce Center, the Lady Vols return to Knoxville for a six-game home stand. UT hosts Tennessee State on Nov. 14, Stetson on Nov. 19 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 26. December home tilts include Air Force on Dec. 1, Texas on Dec. 8 and Colorado State on Dec. 11. The meetings with UAPB, Air Force and CSU will be the first ever with those schools.
A West Coast trip comes next, with UT making stops at Maples Pavilion to meet Stanford on Dec. 18, followed by a trek to Portland, Oregon, to face Portland State for the initial time on Dec. 21. A home contest vs. another first-time opponent in Howard on Dec. 29 closes out the 2019 portion of the schedule.
Conference play will be underway already when Tennessee pays its first visit to Connecticut since Jan. 6, 2007. The Lady Vols and Huskies will do battle for the 23rd time, with UConn holding a 13-9 all-time advantage but UT riding a three-game series winning streak.
As part of the two-year agreement, UConn will host UT during the 2019-20 season (Jan. 23, 2020), with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In the 2020-21 season, the Lady Vols will host the Huskies in Knoxville (date to be determined), with a portion of the proceeds again benefitting the Pat Summitt Foundation and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Lady Vols return two starters and six letterwinners for 2019-20. Returning starters include 6-2 junior forward Rennia Davis (14.9 ppg., 7.7 rpg.) and 6-0 sophomore guard Zaay Green (9.6 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 2.3 apg.). Davis was an All-SEC Second Team honoree a year ago, while Green was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Also back are 6-3 redshirt senior forward Lou Brown (three-year letterwinner and graduate transfer from Washington State who sat out last season with a knee injury), 6-4 junior center Kasiyahna Kushkituah (4.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg.), 6-1 sophomore forward Rae Burrell (3.6 ppg., 2.8 rpg.), 6-0 sophomore guard Jazmine Massengill (3.4 ppg., 3.4 rpg.) and 6-3 senior center Kamera Harris (0.6 ppg., 1.0 rpg.). Kushkituah has 11 starts to her credit and likely would have had more if not for an early season injury that kept her out of several games and hampered her mobility.
Tennessee welcomes five new players to the program in 2019-20. Tennessee boasts the No. 9 recruiting class in the nation, featuring 6-2 guard Jordan Horston (No. 2 overall player/No. 1 guard by espnW HoopGurlz), 6-5 center Tamari Key (No. 45 overall player by Dan Olson College Girls Basketball Report) and 6-5 forward/center Emily Saunders (No. 88 overall player by ProspectsNation.com). UT also adds 5-6 three-point shooting ace Jessie Rennie from Australia as well as 6-3 Knoxville native and JUCO transfer forward/center Jaiden McCoy from Northwest Florida State College.
The Southeastern Conference portion of Tennessee’s schedule is expected to be released in late-August, but 2020 SEC foes should be shared in the near future.
Season tickets typically go on sale in early September, and single-game tickets are usually available in October.