Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
The Lady Vols being a three-game home stand as Alcorn State comes to Knoxville.
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It's been a week since Tennessee won convincingly over Miami on the road. After a timely break to rest, see family, enjoy too much food, and get some extra practice in, the Lady Vols return to the court for the start of a three-game home set. Today, the Alcorn State Lady Braves come to Knoxville.
Let's be honest with each other: this game should not be close. Alcorn State is winless in three games (SMU, Northwestern State, and Central Arkansas) and has averaged only 45 points of offense so far. I can't give you statistics on their players because, other than the roster, they have yet to update since the end of last season. (For the same reason, I don't know who their likely starters are, so I won't even try.) These are the signs of a program that is not exactly supported well by its own university, and they'll probably be looking forward to a trip to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame while they're here. So instead of looking at this from a win/loss prospective, we're going to be looking for improvement from the previous games, with the caveat that even an 80-point win would be asterisked by "it was Alcorn State".
As far as Tennessee: we will probably see Andraya Carter, Meighan Simmons, Cierra Burdick, Bashaara Graves, and Isabelle Harrison at the 1 through 5, respectively. This has been the starting lineup all season, which is excellent news as they seem to play well together. Freshmen Carter and Graves have been spectacular in their opening weeks of college competitions, and as Ariel Massengale gets physically back to full speed, we'll have a terrific 1-2 combination at point guard. Isabelle Harrison has really stepped up at center from last year. She's not the terror that Tennessee has had in the pain in previous years, but she has been effective to date, except for foul trouble against Georgia Tech.
In this game, watch for team play. How well do they pass the ball around? How active are they when they aren't holding the ball (on either end of the court)? How does the man defense look? Are they taking smart shots or are they getting cocky? That's about all we'll be able to take away today. So relax, enjoy the last day of Thanksgiving weekend, and watch the Lady Vols take another win.
Prediction: Tennessee 103, Alcorn State 42.