No. 24/RV Tennessee (24-11), the No. 4 seed in the Seattle 3 Region, continues its 41st-straight NCAA Tournament journey, playing host to No. 12 seed Toledo (29-4) on Monday in the second round at 6:06 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The winner of that game will advance to the Seattle 3 Regional Sweet 16 at Climate Pledge Arena, where it will meet the victor of Sunday’s contest between No. 1 seed Virginia Tech (28-4) and No. 9 seed South Dakota State (29-5) on Saturday, March 25.
The Lady Vols are serving as a host for the NCAA First and Second Rounds for the second year in a row, and this marks the 19th occasion UT has welcomed the NCAA First and Second Rounds to Rocky Top since that format was instituted in 1994.
The Big Orange women have won 20 of their past 26 games in 2022-23, with the only losses during that span coming at No. 3 Stanford (77-70), vs. No. 4 UConn (84-67), at No. 5 LSU (76-68), at Mississippi State (91-90 2OT), vs. No. 1/1 South Carolina (73-60) at home and vs. No. 1/1 South Carolina in the SEC Tournament championship game (74-58). Head coach Kellie Harper led her squad threw a gauntlet of a schedule. She patiently put the pieces of the 2022-23 Lady Vol puzzle together, helping talented returnees and newcomers find their roles for this team and guiding them through absences of key players (Horston, Jackson, Hollingshead, Franklin) and the loss of two more (Key, Suárez) for the season.
Tennessee placed third in the SEC for the fourth-straight season, finished 13-3 for its highest league victory total since 2014-15 and advanced to its first SEC Tournament title game since 2015, with a 69-67 triumph over No. 4/3 LSU serving as a signature win.
The Lady Vols advanced to the NCAA Second Round by rolling past the Saint Louis Billikens, 95-50, on Saturday afternoon, putting four players in double figures and getting points from all 13 players who saw action.
Toledo, the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament champion, advanced and won its 17th straight game by pulling off the second NCAA #12/5 upset in the first round in as many seasons on The Summitt, taking down No. 5 seed Iowa State, 80-73, on Saturday. In 2022, it was Belmont shocking Oregon.
Tennessee and Toledo meet for the second time ever, but the first occasion during NCAA play, with the Lady Vols defeating the Rockets, 81-63, on Dec. 18, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii, during their initial matchup.
- Monday’s game…
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