Thursday the No. 25 Tennessee women’s travels to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face LSU. This comes following the earlier game between these two teams in which the Lady Vols defeated the Tigers 63-58.
Here are some of the storylines to watch for.
Last time out
As mentioned above, Tennessee grabbed a close win the last time these two teams met. The game, which was “We Pack Pat” night, was highlighted by Rennia Davis’ 30 point performance. For LSU, fifth-year player Ayana Mitchell was the star for the Tigers, registering a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds. The Lady Vols lost the rebound battle, but they were able to force 17 turnovers in the win.
“(Davis) is definitely a great player.” Teammate Jazmine Massengill said after the first LSU game “She's so humble. She hit 30 points today and still remains humble. I love Re. The team loves Re. Honestly, we need every single player on this team, including Re. It's just nice to have a player that you can rely on.”
Turnovers have plagued Tennessee since the first game against the Tigers. In the three games since, the Lady Vols have given up 17, 21 and 23 turnovers. The giveaways were incredibly detrimental to Tennessee in their last game against Mississippi State. The Lady Vols seemed to be keeping pace with the Bulldogs, but the turnovers allowed Mississippi state to create distance between them and Tennessee.
“We are very unselfish and sometimes to a fault,” Lady Vols coach Kellie Harper said “and we have talked about that. I think those turnovers are decision-making turnovers. So, we have decision-making turnovers that we have an issue with, and we have execution turnovers where we aren't getting the ball where it's supposed to go when we do pass it. So, we have to clean up both areas, and we are trying to help them with both. We are trying to work on both in practice with making better passes and making better decisions.”
A much-needed break
Tennessee will be well-rested for this matchup after a week off. This game will be the Lady Vols’ first game since last Thursday, Feb. 6 against the Bulldogs. The break comes after a tough stretch against quality competition, where Tennessee played three games in eight days and will provide a chance for the Lady Vols to get in some crucial practice time that will benefit them down the stretch.
“I think this is a really important week for us” Lou Brown said “We just really need to tighten up on a few things, and we're a bit tired. But this is good for practices where we need to lock in and get better and work on the attention to detail type of things, because that's where it's been hurting us these last couple games with turnovers and things like that.”
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The game will be available on the SEC Network or the Lady Vol Network.