There is plenty at stake for the Lady Vols on Thursday as they begin the SEC Tournament with a second round matchup against LSU at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Tennessee, who is on the bubble of making the NCAA Tournament, will likely need at least a win over the Tigers to keep its hopes alive. Entering Thursday, the Lady Vols are projected by multiple analysts to be the last team in the field.
After losing three games in a row to Texas A&M, South Carolina and Vanderbilt, Tennessee ended the regular season with an 81-56 blowout win at Ole Miss on March 3. Now, the Lady Vols are out to prove that they belong in the postseason.
“We gotta earn it,” head coach Holly Warlick said. “There’s not gonna be any favors or anything. We’ve got to play hard. If our Ole Miss game was any indication and we come out and play like that against LSU, I think we have a legitimate case but we’ve got to show that we deserve to be there.”
The Lady Vols took care of LSU on Jan. 27, topping the Tigers 74-65 at home in a game where Rennia Davis scored 24 points.
This time around, it’s win or go home for Tennessee and a program that remains the only one in Women’s College Basketball that has reached the NCAA Tournament every year since it began in 1982.
“We’re not looking too far ahead,” senior Meme Jackson said. “We’re just looking at the next game, and that’s LSU. So that’s what we’re focusing on.