SEC Reveals 2023-24 Women’s Basketball Home, Away Opponents

SEC Reveals 2023-24 Women’s Basketball Home, Away Opponents

All SEC Home/Away Opponents

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Tennessee’s 2023-24 women’s basketball home and away SEC opponents have been revealed, as the conference office announced Wednesday morning each school’s league foes for the upcoming campaign.  
As part of the 16-game SEC schedule, the Lady Vols feature home contests vs. Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

On the road, UT will play against Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
The schedule consists of a single round robin (10 games) of home and away with one permanent opponent (2 games) and two rotating opponents (4 games). In addition to its permanent home-and-home rival, Vanderbilt, Tennessee plays its rotating home-and-away contests against South Carolina and Texas A&M during the upcoming campaign. The rotating opponents change annually.

The upcoming conference season marks the 15th year of the 16‐game schedule for women’s basketball and the 12th with 14 teams. Times, dates and television information for the 2023-24 SEC schedule will be released at a later date, as will the complete Lady Vol non-conference slate.

Three of the league opponents UT will face are ranked among ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early Top 25,” including LSU at No. 1, South Carolina at No. 8 and Ole Miss at No. 11. Tennessee is ranked No. 12 in the May 2 edition of the ESPN poll, which was published before Jewel Spear signed with Tennessee and hasn’t been updated since then.

UT returns nine players, including six who started games a year ago, from a squad that finished 25-12 overall and 13-3 in the SEC (3rd) while defeating LSU and advancing to its first SEC Tournament title game since 2015 and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive season. It did so despite losing 6-foot-6 center Tamari Key for the year after nine games.

In terms of personnel, the Lady Vols return fifth-year forward Rickea Jackson, an All-America honorable mention selection and All-SEC First Team choice who led the team in scoring at 19.2 ppg. and pulled down 6.1 rpg., as well as a two-time SEC All-Defensive Team and 2022 Coaches All-SEC Second Team choice in redshirt senior Key (8.4 ppg., 4.2 rpg., 66.7 FG% during a 2022-23 year that ended early for medical reasons). Key is the school’s all-time record-holder for blocked shots in a season (119) and career (295) and is among its leaders in field goal percentage as well.
Other 2022-23 contributors with extensive experience include senior guard/forward Tess Darby (7.4 ppg., 2.9 rpg. 70 3FGs), junior forward Jillian Hollingshead (6.2 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 48.6% FG), fifth-year guard Jasmine Powell (4.7 ppg., 3.1 apg., 2.6 rpg., 19 3FGs), junior guard forward Sara Puckett (4.7 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 26 3FGs), junior forward Karoline Striplin (4.7 ppg., 3.7 rpg., 50% FG, 12 3FGs) and junior guard Kaiya Wynn (1.5 ppg., 1.0 rpg.).
Newcomers include senior guards Jewel Spear and Destinee Wells, and sophomore guard/forward Avery Strickland. Spear and Wells were ranked No. 7 and No. 19 by 247Sports among top transfers and along with Strickland helped Tennessee secure the No. 6-ranked transfer class nationally, according to 247Sports analyst Brandon Clay.
Spear, a two-time All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament Team honoree during her three seasons at Wake Forest, put up 16.5 ppg.. 3.7 rpg., 1.8 apg. and 93 three-pointers in 2022-23 while leading the Demon Deacons in scoring and ranking fifth in the ACC in points per game.
Wells was a three-time all-conference performer at Belmont who produced 19.5 ppg., 4.9 apg. and 65 treys in 2022-23, including 32.4 ppg. over the last five games during postseason tournament play. She shot career bests of 48.6 percent from the field and 45.5 percent on threes while draining 86.1 percent at the charity stripe a year ago.
Strickland appeared in 30 contests at Pitt last season, contributing 6.2 ppg., 1.7 rpg. and 39 threes. During the last six games of the 2022-23 campaign, she increased her production to 8.3 points and 2.5 rebounds, drained 11 three-pointers and shot 45 percent overall and 42.3 percent on treys.
Fans interested in being part of the highly-anticipated action at Thompson-Boling Arena are encouraged to click HERE for ticket information.

-UT Athletics

Smokey / Credit: UT Athletics

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