- Feb 22, 2016
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Knoxville News Sentinel
Lady Vols basketball is back on the road after two wins at home.
Tennessee (15-6, 7-0 SEC) faces Missouri (14-5, 3-3) on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, SEC Network+) at Mizzou Arena. The Lady Vols are coming off a 74-56 win against Florida, and the Tigers were off Thursday after losing 81-50 at South Carolina on Sunday.
Here's what you need to know about the matchup in Columbia, Missouri:
STEPPING UP ON DEFENSE:How Lady Vols basketball made stark defensive turnaround and began shutting down SEC foes
BACK ON THE BALLOT:How Lady Vols writer Cora Hall voted in the AP Top 25: Why I'm voting for Tennessee again
LADY VOLS TRENDING UP:Three reasons for Lady Vols basketball's positive trajectory and 6-0 start to SEC play
Missouri on a downward spiral
The Tigers started off SEC play 3-0. Then they lost the next three games by more than 20 points to Arkansas, LSU and South Carolina.
In each loss, Missouri scored fewer than 60 points. The Lady Vols have hit their stride on defense and held their last three opponents to an average of 53.7 points.
But the Tigers have had all week to prepare at home for the matchup, and they're starving for a win. Missouri can be a trap game, especially at its own arena, and Tennessee will need to be sharp Sunday.
Missouri's Lauren Hansen (1) heads to the basket as LSU's Alexis Morris defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Tennessee can pick its poison against Tigers defense
Missouri has gotten beat in different ways the last three games.
Arkansas crushed the Tigers with 40 points in the paint. LSU hit 10 of 15 attempts from behind the arc. South Carolina outrebounded Missouri 52-22 and scored 29 second-chance points.
Tennessee has won games with each of those methods in SEC play. The Lady Vols prefer to dominate in the paint like they did with 44 points against Florida. But when Georgia kept them from getting to the rim, they hit eight 3-pointers.
Limiting turnovers and being disciplined on the boards will be key for Tennessee. Missouri was able to force LSU into 19 turnovers, which it scored 24 points off of.
Tennessee guard/forward Tess Darby (21) shoots the ball as Florida guard Leilani Correa (23) defends during a game at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.
A chance for Tennessee defense to keep building
Missouri's biggest threats offensively are its guards and Hayley Frank, a 6-foot-1 forward.
With Tennessee's size and athleticism, it should keep the Tigers out of the paint. But Missouri can shoot from deep, and it'll test the Lady Vols' guards on the perimeter. Lauren Hansen has made 44 3-pointers on 34.9% shooting and Frank is right behind her with 42 made 3-pointers on 39.3% shooting.
Part of the Lady Vols' defensive turnaround is their perimeter defense. SEC opponents made an average of 6.4 3-pointers against Tennessee the first five games. But the Lady Vols held Georgia to 0-for-14 from deep and Florida went 3-for-13 on Thursday – continuing to build on that is key.
Tennessee guard Jasmine Powell (15) defends against Florida guard Alberte Rimdal (5) during a game at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.
Lady Vols basketball vs. Missouri: Our score prediction
Tennessee 71, Missouri 53: It's hard to dig yourself out of a three-game losing streak against an undefeated team in conference play. With the momentum Tennessee has built, I believe it'll continue to build on its performances on both ends of the court. As long as the Lady Vols stay disciplined and execute the game plan, they'll bring home a win from Columbia.
Coach Jumper's prediction: 84-70
@LV renaissance 65-59
@Orange Maniac 68-54