With two starters gone but five new high-profile additions, four via the transfer portal, the Tennessee Lady Vols take the court for the first time surrounded by a ton of hype in the Kellie Harper era. They’ll give fans a teaser with an exhibition Sunday afternoon.
UT welcomes the Carson-Newman Eagles to Rocky Top nine days ahead of their official season-opener. Coming off their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2016, Harper’s team enters this season ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll.
Carson-Newman is the defending South Atlantic Conference Tournament Champion and reached the Division II NCAA Tournament Round of 32 last year. They return two All-Conference players from that team and one All-American. Here is all the information you need for the Tennessee Lady Vols’ matchup.
Carson Newman Eagles at Tennessee Lady Volunteers
Sunday, Oct. 30 | 2 p.m. ET | Thompson-Boling Arena | Knoxville, Tenn.
Led by Mike Mincey in his 13th season, Carson-Newman is rolling as a program. The year before last, they actually won the South Atlantic Regular Season Championship, making the NCAA Tournament that season too.
Taking that into account, they provide a solid test for Harper’s team to open the season. UT is 16-0 against Carson-Newman all time and 50-4 in exhibition games. Last year, they beat the Georgia College Bobcats 108-44.
Harper’s very first exhibition as head coach of Rocky Top was against Carson-Newman back in 2019, which her team won 70-44. Jordan Horston, Tamari Key and Jessie Rennie were all on that team and are still on this year’s team.
Horston emerged as a starter that year, and Key played a major role player, demonstrating how much experience they have in addition to all the new talent they have added. There’s a reason they are expected to contend for a national championship once again.
Up next after this game for the Tennessee Lady Vols will be their official season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the Ohio State Buckeyes. Carson-Newman, meanwhile, will have its season-opener Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Lander Bearcats.