It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Tennessee Lady Vols in the NCAA Tournament opener, but they eventually figured it out. Coming back from a five point deficit, the Lady Vols stormed back to take care of 13th-seeded Buffalo in round one, 80-67.
Alexus Dye and Tamari Key both registered double-doubles, while Rae Burrell poured in 19 points. Tennessee was able to extend a six point lead entering the fourth quarter to put away the Bulls.
Their reward is a date with in-state Belmont, which beat 5th-seeded Oregon in double overtime. The winner of this one secures a spot in the Sweet 16 in Wichita.
Tennessee hasn’t been to a Sweet 16 since 2016, while Belmont has never made an appearance in the round. The Lady Vols have never lost an NCAA Tournament game inside of Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Lady Vols are 10 point favorites tonight against the Bruins.
Belmont has won 13 straight games, winning the Ohio Valley Conference in the process. The Bruins are 23-7 on the year, fresh off of their second consecutive 12-5 upset. Earlier in the year, Belmont gave competitive games to power-five opponents Auburn, Georgia Tech and Louisville, ultimately dropping each of those contests.
“I’m excited to play Tennessee at Tennessee,” Belmont head coach Bart Brooks said. “I hope this place is packed.”
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET in Knoxville. ESPN will carry the game, with Eric Frede and Tamika Catchings on the call.