Both teams started the season right, the Lady Vols coasted to a 29-point win against FAMU and Florida State beat Charleston Southern 99-63. Now they’ll both put themselves to the test on Thursday and see how good they really are when facing top 25 talent (6 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
For Tennessee, it was all about the guard play of Jewel Spear in the opener. The Wake Forest transfer was spectacular, scoring 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Forward Karoline Striplin matched that point total, but did so coming off the bench. She also grabbed seven boards during her 19 minutes of play. The Lady Vols will need to utilize both players, as well as their bench depth, if they want to pull out the victory on the road against the Seminoles .
It was smooth sailing for Florida State in game one, but they’ll have their first true test against Tennessee. They seem prepared for it, especially if they get back Ta’Niya Latson, who missed the matchup against Charleston Southern due to a hamstring injury. Even if Latson is out, the Seminoles will lean on their strength—3-point shooting and guard play—to carry them to victory. Carla Viegas provided a spark for Florida State by leading the bench with nine points on 3-for-9 shooting, with every attempt and make being a 3-pointer. They’ll need her gusto and range, especially if Latson cannot play.
No. 11 Tennessee Lady Vols (1-0) vs. No. 18 Florida State Seminoles (1-0)
When: Thursday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, FL
How to watch: ESPN2
Key to the matchup: Contrasting styles. Tennessee is the bigger team with a more balanced attack; they’ll be looking to dominate the boards and score inside. Florida State will aim to shoot from the outside, showcasing their guards and attempting to run the Lady Vols out of the gym. Whichever team forces the other to adapt to their style of play will likely come out the victor.