The Tennessee women’s basketball team looks to stay undefeated in the SEC as it returns home Thursday night to battle against No. 25 Texas A&M.
The Lady Vols are riding high on a four-game winning streak after picking up their eleventh come-from-behind win and their fifth after trailing in the fourth quarter versus Arkansas on Sunday.
Tennessee rode its defense and rebounding like it has all season in the 70-63 victory over the Razorbacks. The Lady Vols held Arkansas to 30.3% shooting from the floor and 20% from three.
The best rebounding team in the nation also dominated the glass versus the Razorbacks, winning the rebound battle 50-36.
The defense dominated and the offense came up clutch for the Lady Vols, but that wasn’t the best storyline for the team coming out of that game.
Projected top-10 prospect for this upcoming WNBA draft Rae Burrell made her return from a knee injury she suffered in the season opener against Southern Illinois on Nov. 10.
Burrell came off the bench, playing 12 minutes and scoring 2 points on 1-of-2 shooting from the floor.
Burrell’s return is a huge confidence boost for the Lady Vols with their all-conference forward back in the lineup, but don’t expect Burrell to lodge huge minutes for the foreseeable future. Coming back from injuries takes time, and coach Kellie Harper and company are taking this process as slow as possible.
“She and I wanted it to be situational, so we wanted to make sure we put Rae in a position to be successful when she steps out onto the court, because she’s not Rae Burrell from Nov. 1. Not right now,” Harper said. “We’re working towards that, but she needs game minutes, she needs live minutes. Live minutes can still come in practice, five on five. That’s what she needs more than anything.”
The Lady Vols bring the No. 1 nationally ranked defense in field goal percentage into the top-25 matchup. On the other side, the Aggies come to Thompson-Boling Arena ranked No. 1 nationally in three-point field goal percentage — 42.1% — having made 101 thus far this season compared to UT’s 57.
Texas A&M comes into the matchup after falling on the road to the LSU Tigers, 75-66, and having not seen the floor from Dec. 20 to Jan. 2 .
The Aggies have lost three of their last five games, but head coach Gary Blair looks to pick up his fourth straight win versus the Lady Vols.
Blair is in his 19th and final season at the helm of the Aggies, and Thursday could be his final time he makes a trip to Rocky Top in his illustrious career.
His team is led by a trio of dynamic guards in Kayla Wells, Jordan Nixon and Destiny Pitts. Wells averages 17.1 points per game, Nixon scores 13.9 a game and Pitts tallies 11.4.
Last season, A&M got the best of the Lady Vols 80-70 at Reed Arena in College Station.
Tennessee leads the series 8-7, but in her career, Harper has yet to defeat Texas A&M and coach Blair — 0-3 overall.
Harper looks to pick up her first win against the Aggies Thursday night in Thompson-Boling Arena at 6:30 p.m. EST.