Breaking down Lady Vols’ path to Tampa

On Monday night, the Lady Vols learned the path they must take to get back to the final four.

When it comes to getting to Tampa, the Lady Vols got about as good of a path as they could have asked for.  They dodged Notre Dame who they had been projected to face since losing in the SEC championship game last week. Tennessee will be in the Spokane, Washington region as the No. 2 seed.

Tennessee will be in the No. 4 overall seed in Maryland’s region. This side of the bracket features several big names but might be the easiest road to the Final Four of any region. Let’s break down the top half of the bracket first.

In College Park, the Maryland section features the No. 1 seed Maryland vs. No. 16 New Mexico St. and No. 8 Princeton – the only undefeated team in women’s basketball – vs. No. 9 Green Bay in the first round match ups. In the Durham, North Carolina section the SEC should be able to make its presence felt as No.5 Mississippi State will face No. 12 Tulane in the first round, while No. 4 Duke will play No. 13 Albany.

Moving to the bottom of the bracket, No. 6 George Washington will face No. 11 Gonzaga in the Corvallis, Oregon, region. George Washington should be a fun and interesting team to watch as most people had them rated higher than a six seed, and they could be playing with a chip on their shoulder. No. 3 Oregon State will take on No. 14 South Dakota State. If Tennessee can make it out of the Knoxville region, they will face the winner of the Corvallis region in the Sweet 16. 

Now let’s break down the Knoxville region for the Lady Vols. The first game features No. 7 Chattanooga taking on No. 10 Pittsburgh, and  the No. 2 Lady Vols will take on No. 15 Boise State.  The first round for the Knoxville region will be on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena and will feature the first ever meeting between Tennessee and Boise State in basketball.

Tennessee stands a good chance of playing the No. 7 seed Chattanooga in the second round in a rematch of their earlier meeting when  the Mocs beat the Lady Vols 67-63. A rematch now would be a favorable match up for Tennessee, but as recent years have shown, the Mocs give the Lady Vols a hard time. It will be a close game and a good game if this is indeed the second round match up.

If Tennessee can make it out of Knoxville, they could meet No. 3 Oregon State in the Sweet 16 on March 28. There is no guarantee this will happen as Oregon State will have George Washington to deal with.

The Lady Vols could meet the No. 1 seeded Maryland Terrapins if they make it through the Sweet 16. However, there is no guarantee Maryland makes it that far. They have to deal with the undefeated Princeton Tigers in the second round more than likely. As well as potential opponents, No.5 Mississippi State and No. 4 Duke assuming there are no first round upsets.

Overall, the Lady Vols got about as good of a seeding and bracket as they could have. This could be the year that Tennessee makes a return to the Final Four, but only time will tell if this team has enough left in the tank for a deep run. The first round of the Knoxville regional starts Saturday when No.7 Chattanooga and No. 10 Pittsburgh face off at 11:05 a.m. followed by No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Boise State at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be on ESPN2, and the Tennessee game can be heard on the Lady Vol Network.

Edited by Cody McClure

What to watch for in Tennessee athletics March 16-22

It may be Spring Break for Tennessee students, but Tennessee athletics still has a busy week. So here is a sport by sport guide to keep up with the Vols and Lady Vols over the break.

Baseball:

The Vols Baseball team took game one of their series last weekend with Florida before losing the last two games.  They will host their second SEC series of the year when they host the Georgia Bulldogs Friday-Sunday.

Softball:

Just like the Vols Baseball team, the Lady Vols also lost their opening SEC series last weekend going 1-2 at South Carolina. They will host SEC opponent Missouri for a weekend series from Friday-Sunday.

Track and Field:

The Track and Field team will be taking part in the Alabama Relays Thursday-Saturday.

Men’s Tennis:

The Vols will be on the road taking on Vanderbilt on Thursday in SEC play.

Women’s Tennis:

The Lady Vols will host Georgia on Saturday in Knoxville in SEC play.

Rowing:

The Lady Vols Rowing team will be hosting Minnesota on Saturday.

Lady Vols Basketball:

March Madness is finally here, and the Lady Vols are taking part in the NCAA Women’s Tournament for the 34th year in a row. The Lady Vols are the No.2 seed in the Spokane region. They will be hosting the first and second round this weekend at Thompson Boling Arena. No.7 Chattanooga vs. No.10 Pittsburgh will be on Saturday at 11:05 a.m. followed by No.2 Tennessee vs. No.15 Boise State at 1:30 p.m. The winners will square off on Monday. The time is TBA. 

Edited by Maggie Jones

What to watch this weekend in Tennessee athletics

It has already been an interesting week for Tennessee athletics with the weather causing UT’s baseball and softball teams to cancel games, and the Lady Vols 20-game SEC win streak being snapped by South Carolina. With that said, there is still plenty of Volunteer action to get you through the weekend. Here is a sport-by-sport breakdown for Thursday and on through the weekend. 

Baseball

The Diamond Vols have seen one game cancelled due to the snow, but they will head west to California to take on UC Irvine. The Vols will play Friday at 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Men’s Basketball

It will be a big week on the court for the Vols as they try to keep their hopes of being in the top half of the bracket for the SEC tournament alive. Tennessee will take on in-state rival Vanderbilt in a rematch from the 76-73 overtime thriller on Feb. 11. The Vols will look for the regular season sweep of Vanderbilt on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee then hits the road to take on Florida in Gainesville on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

Cross Country/Track and Field

On Friday and Saturday, both the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams will be at the SEC Indoor Championships, which are taking place in Lexington, Kentucky.

Golf

The men’s golf team will be at the John Hayt Invitational in Ponte Vedra, Florida starting Friday and ending on Sunday. The Lady Vols Golf team will have the weekend off before heading to Hilton Head, South Carolina to play in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Tournament next week.

Swimming and Diving

Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be participating in the Last Chance Meet in Athens, Georgia. They will hit the pool in what will be an all day event on both Saturday and Sunday.

Women’s Basketball

It was a bad Monday for Tennessee as their 20-game SEC win streak came to an end at the hands of South Carolina, but there is no time to dwell on the loss as the Lady Vols have two games remaining in the regular season. Tennessee will travel to Georgia on Thursday to take on the Bulldogs at 9 p.m. Then, on senior night, they will take on Vanderbilt Sunday at 5 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Rowing

The Lady Vols will host North Carolina on Saturday, and the time is still to be determined.

Softball

The Vols’ softball team saw their game on Tuesday against Georgia Tech get cancelled due to the snow in Knoxville, and it has also caused this weekend’s Tennessee Classic to be cancelled as well. 

Tennis

The men’s tennis team will be in action on Friday at LSU at 6 p.m. and then at Texas A&M on Sunday at 2 p.m. While the men are on the road, the women’s tennis team will be at home, taking on Texas A&M on Friday at 4 p.m. and LSU on Sunday at noon.

Edited by Cody McClure

Harrison leads Lady Vols’ win against LSU 75-58

Number five Lady Vols (16-3,6-0 SEC) beat LSU (10-9, 4-3 SEC) 75-58 on Thursday night at Thompson Boling Arena led by senior Isabelle Harrison’s season high of 25 points.

The Lady Vols came in to the SEC matchup with the Lady Tigers looking to rebound from a loss Monday night to Notre Dame in South Bend. It was a big night as former Lady Vol player and assistant coach Nikki Caldwell, now the head coach at LSU, returned to Rocky Top for the We Back Pat game with Tennessee Head Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt in attendance.

Tennessee came in with fourteen straight wins at home and winners of their first five SEC games. The fifth ranked Lady Vols and Lady Tigers got out to about the same start. It was 6-6 when to first timeout came at the 15:54 mark. From there, Tennessee would start to pull away from LSU.

The Lady Vols have seen many different leading scorers throughout the season, but when Isabelle Harrison got off to a good start, the rest of the Tennessee offense followed. Harrison would score a season high 25 points going 9-11 from the floor,  7-7 from the line and brought in eight rebounds. Harrison showed why she was named to the Wooden Award mid-season top twenty list earlier in the week.

Cierra Burdick led the team with six assists. Ariel Massengale and Alexa Middleton led the Lady Vols bench in minutes, as well as in points with 7 each.

The Lady Vols shot 55.6 percent from the floor and 54.5 percent from deep. They did not get many chances early at the line but shot 90.5 percent from the line.

The Lady Vols will take on the Georgia Lady Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Sunday at Thompson Boling Arena. They will be going for their 16th straight win at home and to remain perfect in SEC play.

Edited by Maggie Jones

Grind for 9: Lady Vols 2014-15 season preview

The Lady Vols will open up the 2014-15 season as the nation’s No. 4 team.

The road will not be an easy one, but Lady Vols should deliver big things this year. They will play their lone exhibition game on Sunday Nov. 9 vs. Carson-Newman and will tip off the regular season on Nov. 11 vs. Penn.

The Lady Vols will start the season with Ariel Massengale and Andraya Carter serving one game suspensions, and Cierra Burdick and Jannah Tucker serving two game suspensions. All four are being suspended by third year Head Coach Holly Warlick for academic violations.

It is normal to see the Lady Vols open as a top four team, but being a top four team and still not the highest ranked SEC team is new to the program.

That honor goes to the South Carolina Gamecocks, who will open up as the number two team in the country this season. Tennessee also sits behind No.1 UConn and No. 3 Notre Dame with Texas A&M rounding out the top five. The SEC having three top five teams is not that uncommon but shows it will be no easy task this year for the Lady Vols.

Tennessee is projected to finish second in SEC play to South Carolina with A&M picked to finish third. There is no question that the SEC has improved and will be much harder to win this year especially when Kentucky (No.10) and LSU (No.24) are thrown into the equation.

However this year’s team is more complete in ways and will be led by a lot of upperclassmen. So while it won’t be a walk in the park for the Lady Vols, they will be contenders this year and stand a good chance in the SEC.

The Lady Vols will be returning three starters from last year as well as three key players from last year’s bench. Ariel Massengale, who missed much of the end of last season with an injury, will return along with her replacement Andraya Carter, who got a lot of valuable playing time last year in Massengale’s absence.

The Lady Vols will rely heavily on senior Isabelle Harrison and junior Bashaara Graves, and there may be an increased presence from senior Cierra Burdick, junior Jasmine Jones and junior Nia Moore.  Tennessee should also be one of the best rebounding teams once again.

Two areas of improvement the team will need to zone in on is three point shooting and consistent scoring. The additions of Kortney Dunbar and Alexa Middleton should help make the Lady Vols improve in three point shots and help to replace Meighan Simmons. The freshmen tandem will look to add a spark to the Lady Vols offense that was absent at times last year.

Edited by Maggie Jones