KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee and Vanderbilt are scheduled to play a key Southeastern Conference women’s basketball game Sunday at 5 p.m. Eastern time at Thompson-Boling Arena. ESPN2 will televise the contest, and WatchESPN.com will provide online coverage.
While Sunday’s competition marks the 70th time these in-state rivals have met on the court, they won’t be donning the traditional orange and white or black and gold of their respective universities. Instead, UT and VU will be wearing lighter and darker shades of pink uniforms, respectively, to signify that both teams are united in the fight against breast cancer.
Sunday’s contest is the annual “Live Pink, Bleed Orange” game, held as part of the Play 4Kay women’s basketball initiative – in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund®, in partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and The V Foundation. ESPN will show 24 teams across ESPN2 and ESPNU on Feb. 17-18 as part of the event.
Fans of both teams are encouraged to wear pink, and 11,000 t-shirts will be given away at the game to help create an all-in atmosphere. Gates open at 4 p.m., but the UT ticket office will open at 2 p.m. to give fans an opportunity to arrive early on game day and purchase or pick up tickets. There is free parking on the UT Ag Campus and a free shuttle to the arena.
The Lady Vols and Knoxville Ice Bears hockey team have a joint promotion this weekend, as the Ice Bears host Pink in the Rink on Sat., Feb. 16. Fans going to that game will receive a $2 discount if they show a ticket stub or proof of purchase of Lady Vols tickets for the Vandy game on Feb. 17. Likewise, ticket holders for the Ice Bears game can show their stubs on Sunday to receive $3 off a general admission ticket to the UT-VU contest.
Three breast cancer survivors will be recognized at Sunday’s game. Donna Hardy, a retired Knox County Schools educator, graduate of UT and sister of former Vol track & field standout Audry Hardy, will present the game ball. Megan Schmidt and Rhonda Mullins, meanwhile, will serve as Lady Vol Guest Coaches for the game.
Two other activities already are in progress and are great ways for fans to be active in creating awareness and raising money for breast cancer research.
Through the Tennessee Volunteers Athletics Facebook page, until Saturday, fans can nominate a survivor or person currently battling breast cancer to win tickets for the Vanderbilt game. There is one winner daily, and that person will receive two tickets. Private message the survivor’s name, how long they’ve been fighting/surviving, and provide a short explanation as to why the nominee should be chosen.
There also is an online silent auction running until Mon., Feb. 18 at 9 p.m., at utsports.cstvauctions.com/gallery.cfm. Proceeds benefit Champions for a Cause, the organization created by UT Head Coach Holly Warlick and LSU Head Coach and former Lady Vol player and assistant Nikki Caldwell, as well as Susan G. Komen.
Items up for bid include two tickets for the NCAA First & Second Round games, an all-sports package featuring two tickets to a game at each UT sport, a VIP tour of Thompson-Boling Arena and Pratt Pavilion and one of Neyland Stadium. Others include autographed basketballs by Holly Warlick and Pat Summitt, 2013-14 Guest Coach spots, a pair of courtside seats for the Texas A&M game, a game worn jersey and shorts, pregame meal with the team prior to the Auburn game, four Vol Network suite tickets to the Texas A&M game, a spot at basketball camp, a chance to sit in a Lady Vol practice and some Pat Summitt-signed pieces.