Lady Vols set European tour

Orange & White Nation
Kellie Harper NCAA Missouri St Stanford Basketball_1554895386524

Missouri State head coach Kellie Harper smiles as he directs her team during the second half of a regional semifinal game against the Stanford in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team will play a three-game European Tour, visiting the Netherlands, Belgium and France in early August.

The trip Aug. 5-15 is being coordinated by Basketball Travelers and will include visits to historic places and tourist destinations in all three countries.

The Lady Vols will stay in Amsterdam from Aug. 6-9, playing a game against Den Helder on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. local time in the naval port of Den Helder. During their stay in Amsterdam, the Lady Vols will take a canal boat tour as well as visit the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the neighborhood and windmills of Zaanse Schans in the nearby town of Zaandam.

From Aug. 9-11, Tennessee will visit Belgium, where first year coach Kellie Harper’s team will face Laarne at 8 p.m. local time on Aug. 10 in the city of Laarne.

The trip continues southward on Aug. 11, as the Lady Vols’ bus makes its way to Deauville, France. The next day, the group heads to the beaches of Normandy for more sightseeing and history lessons of the D-Day Invasion before traveling on to Paris.

Aug. 13 brings game three of the trip, with the Lady Vols playing Parisian Select at 5 p.m. local time in Brétigny-sur-Orge.

The travel party returns to Knoxville on Aug. 15.

This will mark Tennessee’s ninth international excursion, including 2013-14 and 2018-19 regular-season tournaments in the Bahamas (Junkanoo Jam) and a 2017-18 tourney in Mexico (Cancun Challenge).

The Lady Vols had previous summer trips to Brazil in 1987, Belgium/France/Switzerland in 1999, Italy/Greece in 2003 and Italy in 2015. They also went to Great Britain in January of 1992.

UT is 21-7 all-time in foreign play, including NCAA countable wins over SMU and Virginia at the 2013 Junkanoo Jam, Marquette, Oklahoma State and South Dakota at the 2017 Cancun Challenge and Clemson and UAB at the 2018 Junkanoo Jam.

The Lady Vols return six letterwinners, including two starters from last season’s squad that finished 19-13 overall and made its 38th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Rennia Davis, a 6-foot-2 junior forward, averaged 14.9 ppg. and 7.7 rpg. en route to All-SEC Second Team and WBCA Honorable Mention All-America accolades, while 6-0 sophomore guard Zaay Green put up 9.4 ppg. and 4.0 rpg. on her way to SEC All-Freshman status.

Returning reserves include 6-4 junior center Kasiyahna Kushkituah (4.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg.), sophomore wing Rae Burrell (3.6 ppg., 2.8 rpg.), sophomore point guard Jazmine Massengill (3.4 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 1.3 apg.) and 6-3 senior forward Kamera Harris.

UT’s No. 9-ranked freshman class is led by 6-2 guard Jordan Horston, ranked as the No. 2 player overall and No. 1 at her position in the nation. She was the MVP of the 2019 McDonald’s All-America Game. Also included in that top-10 rookie group are 6-5 posts Tamari Key and Emily Saunders, ranked as a five-star by espnW HoopGurlz and a four-star by, respectively.

The Lady Vols also added 5-foot-6 three-point ace Jessie Rennie from Bendigo, Australia, and 6-3 forward Jaiden McCoy, a Knoxville native who played at Northwest Florida State College and earned All-Panhandle Conference honors last season.

Graduate transfer Lou Brown from Washington State also is back after suffering a knee injury during 2018-19 preseason practice and sitting out the entire year. She was ranked No. 2 by in its International Elite Top 25 for 2014. She averaged 6.4 ppg. and 6.0 rpg. in 2017-18 while hitting 29 threes in a return to action following an injury-shortened 2016-17 campaign in Pullman.

Harper, a former Lady Vol, is joined by assistants Jon Harper, Lacey Goldwire and Jennifer Sullivan.

In 15 seasons as a head coach, Harper is 285-208 and is one of only 11 coaches to lead three different women’s programs to NCAA Tournament appearances (Western Carolina/NC State/Missouri State). She has rebuilt and directed teams to 12 postseason appearances (5 NCAA/7 WNIT).

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