Fresh off the stinging loss at Kentucky, the Lady Vols look to return to the win column against their most familiar foe. As the only team guaranteed two games a year against the Lady Vols, Vanderbilt always has a special interest in winning and should be expected to bring their best game this afternoon.
This year, the Lady Vols have set a pattern of allowing a team's showcase player to, well, showcase. If that holds true, then the Vanderbilt player to watch is Christina Foggie, a sophomore shooting guard who is the favorite target of Jasmine Lister's assists. On the year, she is at 49.7% from the field and 51.1% from three - a three-point accuracy that will likely demand a man or man-switch defense for much of the game in order to keep a defender up close. Jasmine Lister is no slouch beyond the arc either, at 43.6%.
In the interior, Vanderbilt leans on Stephanie Holzer, who was considered the highest-rated recruit in Vanderbilt's history and has really started to feel comfortable on the court this year. She only averages about 20 minutes a game is spelled by Tiffany Clarke, but those 20 minutes are productive enough that she'd probably average a double-double if she played 30 minutes a game. (She averages 3 fouls/game and has fouled out once, so it's not that easy to just extend minutes.)
It may be a bit early for this Vanderbilt team. They're very young, with only one senior and three juniors accounting for 30% of the playing minutes of the roster. They will likely be a much better team next year and the year after that, but still have a lot of talent and are capable of a surprisingly good game, buoyed by the stellar three-point shooting of Foggie and the solid interior play of Stephanie Holzer. But their schedule is only 142nd and the only notable win was against an Oklahoma team that is likewise not at their usual level.
There is one oddity with Vanderbilt: this will be their third road game of the year, and the previous two have been losses. They lost at NC State 66-59, then a conference lost to South Carolina 65-55. It's hard to pick up a trend of two games, but for a team that averages 78 points per game, two road games under 60 points is a bit telling, and the crowd may very well play a factor today. Perhaps the wackiness of Memorial Gym has played against Vanderbilt, who is not used to playing under normal basketball conditions. In any case, Tennessee is enjoying their huge home court advantage while playing a team that has underwhelmed on the road and coming off a stinging loss. That can't be a good combination for Vanderbilt.
Prediction: 82 - 63 Tennessee
BassWatch™: 3 minutes of the first half.