Knoxville, TN — Only four women’s college basketball teams will be featured during the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon on Nov. 11th, and the network has revealed via its Men’s College Basketball Nation Blog that the University of Tennessee Lady Vols will be among them.
Holly Warlick’s second edition is set to face the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC in the second half of a women’s doubleheader during 24 consecutive hours of hoops on the ESPN family of networks. The Lady Vols are set to play the Tar Heels on ESPN2 following a 7:00p.m. match-up between Stanford and UConn.
The Lady Vols posted a 27-8 record, won the Southeastern Conference regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2012-13. They return three starters from that squad, including the Co-SEC Player of the Year in 5-foot-9 senior guard Meighan Simmons (16.8 ppg., 2.1 apg., 1.4 spg.).
The other returning starters are the SEC Freshman of the Year and 2013 USA U19 gold medalist, 6-2 sophomore forward/center Bashaara Graves (13.2 ppg., 8.0 rbg.), and 5-6 junior point guard Ariel Massengale (7.9 ppg., 4.5 apg.), who helped the USA win a gold medal at the World University Games this summer.
Also back are 6-3 junior center Isabelle Harrison (9.5 ppg., 7.5 rpg.) and 6-2 junior forward Cierra Burdick (8.4 ppg., 6.6 rpg.), who started 17 and 16 games, respectively, as sophomores.
The Tar Heels, meanwhile, were 29-7 a year ago, losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to the University of Delaware. Two starters are back for head coach Sylvia Hatchell, including 6-2 sophomore forward Xylina McDaniel (11.3 ppg., 7.1 rpg.) and 5-9 junior guard Brittany Rountree (7.2 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 1.6 apg., 1.8 spg.).
Tennessee owns a 15-3 all-time record vs. North Carolina, including 5-2 in Chapel Hill. Last season, the #16/14 Lady Vols defeated #22/RV UNC in Knoxville on Dec. 2nd, 102-57. In that game, Simmons scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Big Orange attack.
The entire Lady Vol basketball schedule will be released once the SEC approves the final league slate for 2013-14.