THE STAGE IS SET: No. 1 LSU vs. TENN

LSU's top-ranked Lady Tigers basketball team plays host to No. 5 Tennessee on Thursday at 6 p.m. CST in the Maravich Center in a battle of the Southeastern Conference two first-place teams.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 as part of the network's "Rivalry Week."

LSU (21-1, 8-0 SEC) remained perfect in the league with road wins last week at Ole Miss and Mississippi State, while Tennessee (18-3, 8-0 SEC) defeated Florida and Ole Miss to remain in a first-place tie atop the league standings.

Each team enters the game riding a win streak. The Lady Vols have won 10 in a row since falling at Rutgers on Dec. 29. The Lady Tigers have won eight straight since losing to Rutgers on Jan. 5.

"It is a huge game. Anytime you are having the success that both programs are having it becomes a big game," LSU head coach Pokey Chatman said. "Add on to that it is Tennessee. There is always going to be a certain buzz about it for the fans and the community."

Returning Kodak All-Americans Seimone Augustus and Shyra Ely lead their respective teams into the game. Augustus, a junior guard for the Lady Tigers, is the second leading scorer in the SEC with 20.2 points per game, while Ely, a senior forward for Tennessee, is posting 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per outing.

LSU's supporting cast includes freshman Sylvia Fowles with 12.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, while Temeka Johnson is scoring 9.7 points and averaging 7.0 assists per contest.

Tennessee's Shanna Zolman, a junior guard, is averaging 11.3 points per contest to compliment Ely.

"The players involved are treating it like it is the next game and so are both coaching staffs," Chatman added. "It is going to boil down to execution for 40 minutes. The players are well prepared and which ever team comes out and executes to the best of their ability will be successful."

This will be the 40th meeting between the two conference rivals and a rematch of the 2004 NCAA National Semifinal game in New Orleans. Tennessee won that game, 52-50, in dramatic fashion. The Lady Vols lead the series 32-7 and also lead 10-4 in games played in Baton Rouge.

Following the game, LSU will hit the road and visit South Carolina in Columbia on Sunday at 1 p.m. CST.

PROBABLE STARTERS

lsu (21-1, 8-0 SEC)
POS. NO. name ht. year ppg rpg
G 2 Temeka Johnson 5-3 Sr. 9.7 7.0*
G 32 Scholanda Hoston 5-10 Jr. 9.0 2.6
F 33 Seimone Augustus 6-1 Jr. 20.2 4.5
F 34 Wendlyn Jones 6-1 Jr. 5.6 5.6
C 52 Tillie Willis 6-3 Sr. 3.0 4.0
?
TENNESSEE (18-3, 8-0 SEC)
POS. NO. name ht. year ppg rpg
G 21 Loree Moore 5-9 Sr. 4.4 4.3
G 25 Brittany Jackson 6-0 Sr. 9.9 2.1
F 1 Sidney Spencer 6-3 So. 5.2 4.0
F 43 Shyra Ely 6-2 Sr. 13.3 6.6
C 55 Nicky Anosike 6-4 Fr. 5.0 5.3
*- assists per game

Tiger Blitz Top Stories