Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) The Southeastern Conference released the 2014-15 women's basketball league schedule Friday, and Tennessee's marquee home games include battles vs. No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 17 LSU.
The Lady Vols overcame deficits of 10 or more points to defeat all three of those teams en route to UT's 17th SEC Tournament Championship a year ago in Duluth, Ga. Tennessee, ranked No. 3 in Charlie Crème's espnW Pre-Preseason Poll, also will play road games against No. 2 South Carolina, the defending SEC regular season champion, No. 6 Kentucky and No. 23 Arkansas. The Big Orange will host and travel to Georgia and Vanderbilt, two teams who were in consideration for Crème's top 25.
"The SEC had eight teams in the NCAA Tournament last season, and four league teams are among the preseason top 10, so the level of play within our conference is going to be even better this season," third-year UT head coach Holly Warlick said.
"You combine that with eight non-conference opponents that had NCAA experience a year ago, including Final Four teams Stanford and Notre Dame, and we will face a schedule that should challenge us and make us better as the season goes on. We're hard at work right now and ready to get the year started."
Additionally, the conference revealed the SEC women's hoops television slate for the upcoming campaign. Warlick's squad will be featured in 15 out of 16 games, including nine contests on the brand-new SEC Network, two games on ESPN2, two on ESPNU and a pair on FOX Sports Net. Broadcast information about the game at Ole Miss (Feb. 12) and the non-conference slate will be released at a later date.
All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) and the SEC Network will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider. FOX Sports Net events will be available via these avenues outside the SEC Footprint only.
AT&T U-verse® TV, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast Xfinity TV, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, DISH, Google Fiber, LUS Fiber, PTC Communications, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, NCTC, NRTC, NTTC, Verizon FiOS and Wilkes Telephone will carry the SEC Network nationwide. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively as SEC Network+ events on WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com through AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Suddenlink, NCTC, NRTC, NTTC and Verizon FiOS authentication.
Season tickets go on sale to the public Sept. 9 and can be purchased at the UT Ticket Office, by visiting UTtix.com or by calling 1-800-332-8657. Single-game tickets and mini packs go on sale to #GBO Insider email subscribers Oct. 9, while sales to the public begin Oct. 14.
Tennessee will open the league itinerary on Jan. 2 with a late-night Friday home contest vs. Missouri. Tip is slated for 9 p.m. in the Lady Vols' first scheduled game on the SEC Network. Of course, UT's debut date on the brand-new mega-network could change, pending non-conference games being picked up for broadcast.
The other home SEC contests include No. 4 Texas A&M on Jan. 8 (7 p.m., SEC Network), No. 17 LSU on Jan. 22 (7 p.m., SEC Network), Georgia on Jan. 25 (2 p.m., SEC Network), Mississippi State on Feb. 1 (3 p.m., SEC Network), No. 6 Kentucky on Feb. 15 (3 p.m., ESPN2), Alabama on Feb. 19 (7 p.m., FOX Sports Net) and senior day vs. Vanderbilt on March 1 (5 p.m., SEC Network).
The SEC road slate begins in Nashville on Jan. 5, where Tennessee plays a 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT contest at Vanderbilt on the SEC Network. After hosting A&M, UT is back on the road for two games at No. 23 Arkansas on Jan. 11 (2 ET/1 CT, ESPNU) and at Auburn on Jan. 15 (8 ET/7 CT, FOX Sports Net).
Following a non-conference road tilt at Notre Dame and home SEC bouts vs. LSU and Georgia, the Lady Vols head up I-75 to Lexington to face No. 6 Kentucky on Jan. 29 (7 p.m., SEC Network). The rest of the away slate includes games at Florida on Feb. 8 (2 p.m., ESPNU), Ole Miss on Feb. 12 (TBA), No. 2 South Carolina on Feb. 23 (9 p.m., ESPN2) and Georgia on Feb. 26 (9 p.m., SEC Network).
The non-conference slate, which was released on July 31, includes defending NCAA Final Four teams No. 5 Notre Dame (Jan. 19) and No. 20 Stanford (Dec. 20), defending WNIT champion Rutgers (Dec. 14) and No. 9 Texas (Nov. 30), with all of those games on the road except for the one vs. the Cardinal.
Other non-league opponents with postseason action a year ago include NCAA teams Penn (Nov. 14), Winthrop (Nov. 21), and Wichita State (Dec. 16) and Oregon State (Dec. 28) at home and Chattanooga (Nov. 26) on the road.
All told, 22 of Tennessee's 29 regular season games will be against teams coming off postseason action a year ago (18 vs. NCAA tournament teams), including nine against preseason ranked squads. A total of 10 teams from last season's NCAA tourney will make their way to Knoxville during the upcoming campaign.
UT, which opens with a Nov. 9 exhibition game vs. Carson-Newman, returns four starters and eight of 10 letterwinners (minus the graduated Meighan Simmons and redshirting Mercedes Russell) from last season's 29-6 SEC Tournament Championship team. Warlick's most-experienced unit yet will be bolstered by the nation's No. 6 recruiting class.
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