VU women host Lady Vols tonight

The No. 22 Vanderbilt women will host No. 5 Tennessee tonight in a an important SEC women's basketball match up. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. CT and has been designated a "white out" game as Vanderbilt officials are encouraging fans to wear white. The Commodores pulled off a rare win over the Lady Vols in 2009; can they do it again?

Vanderbilt trails the all-time series with the Lady Vols, 54-7. In Nashville the Lady Vols lead by a 21-5 clip, however, Vanderbilt won last year in Music City, 74-58, to pick up Melanie Balcomb's first win over Tennessee as Vanderbilt head coach. Balcomb had previously beaten the Lady Vols in the NCAA as head coach at Xavier.

Guard Angie Borkland is the Vols top scoring threat. She hits almost 50 percent from 3-point range averaging over 14 points a game. The Vols are huge, with five players on the team over 6-foot-3. Glory Johnson, who averages 12 points and eight rebounds for the Vols, did not start in UT's recent win over Arkansas. She scored 17 points and had 8 rebounds in the Vol's over Vandy in Knoxville earlier this season. Shekinna Stricklen is another player that Vanderbilt will have their hands full with. The 6-2 player plays both guard and forward averaging 12.7 points a game.

Vanderbilt almost pulled off a stunner in Knoxville on January 17th, falling behind big early before rallying only to lose, 64-57. In that game Vanderbilt made 10-of-19 three-point attempts with senior guard Meredith Marsh leading the way with 6-of-13 three-pointers made. Freshman Elan Brown also had a big night, making 4-of-9 treys. Tennessee head coach Pat Summit knows that containing Vanderbilt's threes will be a key to the game, "Any time you play Vandy, you better be able to guard the three-ball," Summitt said. "And when we don't guard it, we get beat."

While shooting will be important for the Commodore women, Vandy will need to better establish the inside game this time around. Forwards Hannah Tuomi and Tiffany Clark combined for only seven points in the earlier game in Knoxville. Tuomi actually played sparingly, seeing just 10 minutes of floor time as Balcomb chose to go with quicker players as that game progressed.

Tennessee has a storied program with multiple national titles. However, Vanderbilt, despite losing several key players to injury early in the season, can take a big step towards continuing their streak of 10 straight NCAA appearances with a win over the Lady Vols. While they could still make it to the big dance without a win, they would be virtually assured a bid with a win over their rivals.

Tickets to the game are still available by calling 322-GOLD. In addition to the planned "White Out" the Vanderbilt Bookstore will be giving away face tattoos at the game. The game will also feature the Red Panda halftime act, acclaimed to be the "world's best acrobat & juggling performance." Tuesday night's Vanderbilt-Tennessee men's game has also been designated a white out game.

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