#12 (USA Today)
#4 (USA Today)
The Paradise Jam comes to an end tonight with the Lady Vols' third game in three days. This has been a great test of the Ladies' depth so far - and they've passed with flying colors, holding consecutive opponents below 45 points. Georgetown is the best team the Ladies have faced all year by the rankings, but they opened the season at #9 before slipping a few spots and dropping yesterday's game to Missouri, 54-45. That, er, bodes well.
Expected starters are below:
Georgetown plays a tough defensive game, but unlike the Lady Vols, they try and slow the game down, limiting possessions. Aside from their romp against Augusta State, nobody in any of their five games has topped 70 points. (For comparison's sake, the Ladies have scored less than 65 once.) While Syndey Wilson will get the start, Georgetown prefers to play a much smaller lineup, going with a 4 guard or 2 forward lineup most of the time. Generally, they shoot better than most of the opponents the Lady Vols have faced so far - although not as well as Virginia. Still, they do the little things right - protect the rock, rebound in numbers, be dangerous enough from beyond the arc. They're good.
As you'd expect from teams in the top 25, both have plenty of depth, so that won't be as much of an issue. However, only one Vol (Angie Bjorklund) has seen over 30 minutes in a game so far this tournament, while Wright and McNutt are over 30 minutes in both games. At this level, little things like that matter. One of the weird tests of depth over the tournament has been the usage of Kelley Cain. She's been saved for this game; Georgetown rolls a ton of players on the interior, and Cain's better than any of them. It's a drinking game at this point whenever I say inside-outside game, but it applies here. So too does tempo, which means Simmons - who also hasn't been used much this tournament - gets a free chance to shine. Simmons has seen 49 total minutes and Cain has seen 27 minutes. Yeah, that's a big deal.
Even with that, the story of the tournament has been the emergence of Glory Johnson, who's reinvented herself as a rebounding machine on the interior to great effect. She may yet become a complete player, and she should play plenty again tonight.