Tye'sha Fluker expected to play against LSU

Lady Vol center Tye'sha Fluker is expected to play against LSU and will take a red-eye flight to Baton Rouge, La., after her grandmother's funeral in Pasadena, Calif. <p> Coach Pat Summitt said Wednesday morning during her media teleconference that Fluker told her she is scheduled to arrive in Baton Rouge early Thursday morning.

Tye'sha Fluker has missed the last two games after going home last week to see her gravely ill maternal grandmother, Charlotte Creamer. Creamer, 62, died Feb. 2, the day after Fluker arrived home in Pasadena. Creamer will be buried today.

Pat Summitt said she would talk to Fluker at Thursday's shoot-around to gauge how she is doing emotionally. As far as starting Fluker against LSU, Summitt said she'll "make that decision at that point in time" based on how Fluker is feeling and if she is ready to start.

Fluker's presence inside gives Tennessee a proven scorer and a rebounder to counter the frontline of LSU, particularly the play of freshman Sylvia Fowles. The center from Miami, Fla., hasn't started a game this season for the Lady Tigers but has played in all 22 contests and averages 12.5 points and nine rebounds.

In SEC games this season Fluker is averaging 13 points and 7.8 rebounds.

Another key player, Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, is expected to be available Thursday. She has been held out of the last two practices and Sunday's game because of recurring pain in her knees. The freshman point guard was able to practice this afternoon before the team left for Louisiana. Tennessee only practiced an hour Wednesday and devoted the time to game preparation against No. 1-ranked LSU.

"I am hopeful, and I expect to have her," Summitt said Wednesday. "How much, I do not know, but given the amount of rest time she has had, I expect her to be ready to go."

The matchup of top teams - UT is No. 5 in the country - is part of "Rivalry Week" and will be televised at 7 p.m. EST Thursday on espn2 from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. More than 11,000 tickets have been sold, not counting the student allotment. The center holds 14,164.

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