Tamari Key Hasn’t Practiced This Week, Questionable For Sunday Showdown At Georgia

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    Tennessee center Tamari Key is questionable for Sunday’s game at No. 13 Georgia, Lady Vols’ head coach Kellie Harper said Friday.

    “We will have to see how she goes,” Harper said. “We’re going to try and work her in some things today and see how things go for her. … We’re going to take it easy and try to see what we can get from her.”

    Key suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter of the Lady Vols’ blowout win over Kentucky Sunday. Tennessee’s bye date on Thursday came at the perfect time, but the center still hasn’t been able to hit the practice floor this week.

    “She has not stepped on the court with us this week,” Harper said.

    That paints a bleak picture for the star center’s ability to play in Athens. If the 6-foot-6 junior can’t go, it’ll add extra pressure to Tennessee’s strong defense.”

    “Obviously, Tamari does a good job of helping us when guards drive in the paint, but I think one of the biggest things we’d miss is her size on Jenna Staiti (15.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG),” Harper said. “That’s a post player that’s really good and can score. Just having Tamari’s length to contest on some of those shots would be very beneficial for us defensively.:

    The added pressure falls on the whole team but no one more than backup center Keyen Green. The 6-foot-1 center relies more on speed and craftiness than size and athleticism like Key, but the back up big man is more than capable.

    Green shined in Key’s absence against Kentucky, recording 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the blowout win.

    Tennessee is currently unbeaten in SEC play and is sitting atop the SEC standings heading into its biggest test of the month. The Lady Vols and Georgia tip-off at Stegman Coliseum at 2 p.m. ET Sunday. The SEC Network is broadcasting the game.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.