Women's Basketball vs. Georgia State

Jordan Walker (No. 4) attacks the Georgia State defense at Thompson Boling Arena on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021.

The undefeated No. 7 Lady Vols are off to their best start of the Kellie Harper era, and now they’re about to face their biggest test of the season against No. 3 Stanford.

“This is such a great opportunity, an opportunity for our program,” Harper said. “It's an opportunity for a great game in Knoxville and for women's basketball. It's an opportunity for our fans to come out and get back to seeing top-10 match-ups.”

“That's how we're looking at it. We're just really excited. It should be a lot of fun. The atmosphere should be great, and that's what it's supposed to be here in Knoxville for the Lady Vols.”

Stanford (7-2) is coming off a week of blowout wins against Pacific and UC Davis. The Cardinal have impressive wins over No. 10 Indiana and No. 9 Maryland. Stanford’s two losses came against No. 11 Texas and No. 16 South Florida, two teams that Tennessee defeated in November.

"Well, Stanford, they present a lot of challenges,” Harper said. “I think you start looking at the personnel, they're going to be bigger than us. That doesn't happen a lot, but they will be bigger than us. They're very intelligent. They pass the ball extremely well, so if you goof on defense, they're going to make you pay.”

Tennessee (9-0) played its last game almost a week ago, when it defeated Georgia State 84-60 last Sunday. Tennessee has had a slow December, playing just three games in three weeks.

Last week’s matchup was an opportunity for a few players to get more minutes than normal. Freshman Brooklynn Miles took advantage of that, putting up 11 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors.

“I think Brooklynn has stepped on the court from day one with confidence,” Harper said. “I'm telling you, we got after her. We yelled at her a lot this summer. We challenged her a lot this summer, and she took it, she ran with it and she got better.”

Along with getting all of her players minutes in dominating wins, Harper has also had the opportunity to get her team experience against tough opponents in Texas and South Florida earlier this season.

Despite the team’s robust resume, Harper still believes her team has something to prove.

“Our team still is playing a little bit with a chip on their shoulder,” Harper said. “They want to go out and prove something. I think we're a little better when we're playing with a chip on our shoulder. Maybe that will be one of my motivational tactics.”

Perhaps Tennessee does still have something to prove. The Lady Vols sit at No. 7 in the AP Poll, behind four teams with at least one loss. Tennessee is also one of three undefeated teams in the top-10.

The Lady Vols aren’t focused on numbers, however. They are focused on winning games and playing to the best of their abilities every night.

“We haven't talked a lot about rankings,” graduate guard Jordan Walker said. “This team, we just love to compete, so we go out every night and put our best foot forward. With the rankings, we haven't talked about it, but it does hold a lot of weight, and I think it's just an opportunity for us to go out on Saturday night and win.”

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