Lady Vols
Belmont's Madison Bartley (3) battles for the ball with Tennessee's Rae Burrell (12) and Jordan Walker, right, in the second half of a women's college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament Monday, March 21, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Tennessee advances to Sweet 16

No. 12 seed Belmont came back from a 14 point, third-quarter deficit and held a two-point lead with less than a minute to play. However, with 20 seconds left in the game Monday night, freshman guard Sara Puckett came through for the No. 4 seed Tennessee. She nailed a three-pointer that gave the Lady Vols a lead over Belmont. The Lady Vols held onto this lead until the clock ran down and advanced to their first Sweet 16 since 2016.

Tennessee will face No.1 seed Louisville Saturday, March 26 at 4 p.m.

Tennessee to focus on defense

In order to keep advancing, Tennessee must focus on playing its best defense. When Tennessee holds teams to 70 points or fewer it is 24-2. It is 1-6 when it allows teams to score over 70 points. This season, Louisville has averaged 72.4 points per game.

The Lady Vols have also created 13.4 takeaways per game this season and Louisville is 14-3 this season when committing more than 13 turnovers.

Tamari Key is a key element in the team’s defense as she averages 3.5 blocks per game. She came into Monday’s game with 115 blocks on the season, 273 in her career. She beat Candace Parker’s career record of 275 blocks Monday night when she made her third block of the game in the fourth quarter. She now holds the record with 276 blocks.

Louisville continues their roll

Hailey Van Lith is a player to watch as she led Louisville to a 68-59 victory against No. 5 seed Gonzaga in the round of 32, scoring 21 points in the game. Van Lith leads Louisville in scoring putting up 14 points per game. Other players to look out for are Kianna Smith who averages 2.9 assists and 11.9 points per game and Emily Engstler who averages 9.1 rebounds and 11.7 points per game.

The Lady Vols score 70.2 points per game, however, Louisville’s defense is also strong allowing an average of just 55 points per game. The Cardinals had an average margin of victory of 17.6 points in the regular season. But, when Tennessee gets to the 55-point mark, they are 21-3 on the season.

The Cardinals are 24-1 when they score over 61 points. The Cardinals are a solid offensive rebounding team this season, averaging 13.1 per game

About Kate Caranante

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