HOOPS CENTRAL: #11/12 Lady Vols vs. USA Women’s National Team (Exhibition)

HOOPS CENTRAL: #11/12 Lady Vols vs. USA Women’s National Team (Exhibition)
HOOPS CENTRAL: #11/12 Lady Vols vs. USA Women’s National Team (Exhibition)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Well. 11/12 Tennessee plays its second exhibition game of the 2023-24 campaign on Sunday evening, welcoming the USA Women’s National Basketball Team to Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center for a 6 pm ET contest.

This will mark the fourth time the Lady Vols have welcomed the USA National Team to Rocky Top for an exhibition, holding a 1-2 all-time mark in those battles.

UT is coming off a 105-72 victory over Carson-Newman in the first exhibition tilt on Oct. 30, and this will mark the Big Orange’s final preseason tune-up.

USA also will face Duke in Durham, NC, on Nov. 12 at noon. The games vs. college teams are being contested as USA Basketball continues to evaluate the 2021-24 Women’s National Team player pool prior to naming a team for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Between the two exhibitions, USA Basketball will host a training camp for members of the national team player pool from Nov. 7-9 in Atlanta.


  • Roy Philpott (play-by-play) and Debbie Antonelli (analyst) will have the call for SEC Network.
  • All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
  • The contest also can be heard on Lady Vol Network stations and by audio stream, with Brian Rice providing play-by-play.
  • A link to the live audio stream can be found on the Hoops Central page or the 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 generally occurs 30 minutes prior to tip-off.


  • Lady Vol fans should be aware that the USA Women’s National Team contest is not part of the season ticket or parking package. Therefore, single-game tickets must be purchased for that match-up.
  • Free parking in all campus lots will be available for that game, as will free shuttle service from the Ag Campus.
  • Fans will be dropped off and picked up immediately adjacent to Food City Center. ADA shuttles and entry will operate the same as previous years.
  • Please purchase tickets at AllVols.com or by calling the Tennessee Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-332-VOLS or 865-656-1200.


  • Starting with the Lady Vols’ exhibition vs. Carson-Newman, fans coming to campus looking to purchase parking will do so on site with a credit card for all events, including men’s and women’s hoops.
  • The designated rideshare drop-off/pick-up area will be on Todd Helton Drive west of Food City Center.
  • Campus parking is limited for large Food City Center events, but there is a free shuttle service from the Ag Campus for all fans, dropping off and picking up immediately adjacent to Food City Center. ADA shuttles and entry will operate the same as previous years.
  • Due to ongoing construction and upgrades to Neyland Stadium, fans should be advised of changes coming to normal traffic patterns on Phillip Fulmer Way and Peyton Manning Pass during the 2023-24 basketball seasons. Please prepare in advance and stay tuned for more information.
  • Phillip Fulmer Way from G-10 garage to Neyland Stadium Gate 21 vicinity will be closed (tentatively set for Dec. 4, 2023).
  • Vehicular entry via the area northeast of the Food City Center will at times be inaccessible, and avoiding that vicinity is strongly recommended.
  • All tickets and Tennessee Fund parking passes remain digital.
  • Just like last season, fans will see walk-through metal detectors outside of all Food City Center entrances.


  • Tennessee is 52-4 all-time in preseason exhibition games, only falling to the Soviet National Team (1979), Athletes in Action (1992) and the USA National Team (1995, 2007).
  • In the post-Pat Summitt era, UT is 12-0 in preseason exhibition games, defeating Carson-Newman eight times (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022, 2023) and both Georgia College ( 2021) and Coker (2012) on one occasion each.
  • Kelly Harper is 4-0 in her time in Rocky Top, with wins in 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023. No exhibition contest was held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • As mentioned, this will mark the fourth time the Lady Vols have welcomed the USA Women’s National Team to Rocky Top for an exhibition, holding a 1-2 all-time mark against that globally-dominant squad.
  • On all three previous occasions, the UT squads made their way to the NCAA Final Fours at the end of those seasons, with two of them winning national championships (1996, 2008).
  • Meanwhile, the USA teams went on to win gold in the Olympic Games of 1996, 2000 and 2008.


  • During her playing days, Harper (known then as Kellie Jolly) was a freshman on the 1995-96 Big Orange squad that welcomed former Lady Vols Nikki McCray and Carla McGhee and friends back to Rocky Top on Nov. 22, 1995.
  • USA would win the affair, 82-58. The late McCray would sing the national anthem before the game and say ‘yes’ to Thomas Penson’s surprise marriage proposal on the court immediately following the contest.
  • That USA squad became the second to win gold on American soil, claiming victory at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
  • He Nov. 7, 1999, Tennessee pulled off an upset, knocking off USA, 65-64, in Knoxville. The national team returned on Nov. 4, 2007, and the Lady Vols kept the deficit close before falling, 83-72.


  • Because of her influence on the University of Tennessee and USA Basketball, the life of Nikki McCray-Penson will be honored during a timeout at Sunday’s game.
  • UT also plans to separately pay tribute to McCray-Penson when it faces South Carolina this season, and it will honor the life of LVFL Tasha Butts at its Play4Kay game vs. Arkansas.


  • Tennessee standouts Rickea Jackson and Jewel Spear represented the United States at the 2023 FIBA ​​Women’s AmeriCup in Leon, Mexico, from July 1-9.
  • Spear and Jackson were part of the youngest team in the AmeriCup tournament with an average age of 20, and they helped that squad capture a silver medal.
  • Jackson (14.6 ppg.) finished the competition averaging a team-leading 14.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
  • Her scoring average was fourth among the 109 players who saw action in the tournament, earning her a spot in the AmeriCup All-Star Five.
  • Jackson’s 102 points were the second most in USA AmeriCup history behind Lisa Leslie (129, 7 games, 1993).
  • Spear produced 5.6 ppg. and 1.4 apg. while leading the USA in three-pointers with 10 in just seven contests. She did so after signing with Tennessee on May 5.
  • The two were roommates at the USA Trials in Colorado Springs and at the AmeriCup in Mexico, helping them begin building a bond that will benefit the Lady Vols this season.


  • Tennessee has 14 players who were selected to represent USA Basketball and their country at the Olympic Games, with those players earning 20 different opportunities to compete.
  • The list includes Cindy Brogdon 1976 (Silver); Tamika Catchings 2004 (Gold), ’08 (Gold), ’12 (Gold), ’16 (Gold); Daedra Charles 1992 (Bronze); Bridgette Gordon 1988 (Gold); Lea Henry 1984 (Gold); Chamique Holdsclaw 2000 (Gold); Kara Lawson 2008 (Gold); Nikki McCray 1996 (Gold), 2000 (Gold); Carla McGhee 1996 (Gold); Cindy Noble 1980 (Boycott), ’84 (Gold); Candace Parker 2008 (Gold), ’12 (Gold); Jill Rankin 1980 (Boycott); Patricia Roberts 1976 (Silver); Holly Warlick 1980 (Boycott)
  • Late Lady Vol head coach Pat Summitt was part of three Olympic Teams. She earned a spot as a player in the first-ever women’s basketball competition in 1976, as the UT Martin alum earned a silver medal after she was already leading the Tennessee program.
  • Summitt was picked as an assistant for the 1980 Moscow Games, which the US boycotted, and she returned in 1984 to lead the USA to gold in Los Angeles as head coach.
  • Nancy Darsch, Summitt’s assistant at UT, was a US Olympic Team assistant in 1984 (and later an assistant in 1996 while head coach at Ohio State), and LVFL Kara Lawson was head coach of the USA 3×3 gold medal squad at the 2020 Tokyo Games .


  • Five-time Olympic champion Diana Taurasi headlines the group and is one of eight players who will appear in both exhibition games. Kahleah Copper, Allisha Gray, Brittney Griner, Rhyne Howard, Betnijah Laney, Sabrina Ionescu and Jackie Young will also be on both rosters.
  • In total, seven Olympians will participate between the two games and training camp including Ariel Atkins (2021), Gray (2021, 3×3), Griner (2021, 2016), Angel McCoughtry (2016, 2012), Kelsey Plum (2021, 3×3) , Taurasi (2021, 2016, 2012, 2008, 2004) and Young (2021, 3×3).
  • Additionally, Atkins, Copper, Ionescu, Laney and Plum were members of the 2022 USA Women’s World Cup Team that won the gold medal in Sydney last fall.
  • The list of participating athletes is rounded out by Aliyah Boston, Dearica Hamby and Arike Ogunbowale, all of whom have previous USA Basketball experience.


  • 2021-24 USA Women’s National Team Head Coach Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) will lead the staff and will be assisted by Curt Miller (Los Angeles Sparks) and Mike Thibault (Washington Mystics). Both Miller and Thibault assisted Reeve during the 2022 World Cup title run.
  • Tanisha Wright (Atlanta Dream), who led the Dream to their first playoff appearance in five years this season, and Stephanie White (Connecticut Sun), the 2023 WNBA Coach of the Year, will serve as court coaches.
  • Wright will coach in Knoxville, Tennessee, while White will be in Atlanta and Durham, North Carolina.
  • Although both are making their USAB coaching debuts, Wright was a member of the 2003 USA U21 Women’s Team that went 7-1 and won gold at the FIBA ​​U21 Women’s World Championship and White was a member of the 1995 Jones Cup Team that went 6- 1 and earned a silver medal, and also participated in a pair of Olympic Festivals.


  • The USA played in its first “college tour” in 1995 ahead of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, and has competed in countless college exhibitions, most recently in 2020. In 2020, the USA beat Connecticut 79-64 before topping Louisville 97- 54.
  • The USA women are 46-2 all-time versus college opponents.


  • The United States has medaled every Olympics in which it has participated, dating back to a silver medal in 1976. In total, the USA owns nine gold medals, one silver and one bronze. The US has won seven consecutive gold medals, the first of which came at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris.


  • Tennessee returns to Food City Center at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 7, as Florida A&M comes to Knoxville for the regular season opener.
  • The contest, which signifies the beginning of Kelly Harper‘s fifth season as head coach on Rocky Top, will be streamed on SECN+.
  • The Rattlers are led by first-year head coach and LVFL Bridgette Gordon, who starred at Tennessee from 1985-89, helping the Lady Vols claim their first two NCAA titles in 1987 and 1989.
  • Gordon also served a stint as an assistant coach here from 2017-19.
  • Gordon stands No. 2 all-time in career points (2,462) and No. 12 in rebounds (915) in UT history.
  • Her historic tenure at Tennessee is commemorated with her No. 30 jersey suspended from the rafters of Food City Center.
  • Please purchase tickets at AllVols.com or by calling the Tennessee Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-332-VOLS or 865-656-1200.

The article is in Czech

Tags: HOOPS CENTRAL Lady Vols USA Womens National Team Exhibition


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