Ordinarily, Wes Moore likes it when his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team gets a chance to play the big sisters up in Knoxville.
This season -- with the Lady Mocs so young and inexperienced and the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols loaded up for a title run -- it doesn't seem like a great idea.
"Like I tell people, playing Tennessee's a great idea 364 days a year. It's that other day that sometimes isn't a whole lot of fun," said Moore, whose Lady Mocs (0-1) will face UT (1-0) at Thompson-Boling Arena tonight.
UTC lost its season opener last Friday, 77-60, at home to East Tennessee State. In a game of runs, the Lady Mocs led 52-50 with 9:41 remaining after a 10-2 spurt. But ETSU then buried UTC with a 24-4 run as the Lady Mocs faded down the stretch.
The Lady Mocs know they face a tall order tonight against the Lady Vols, who return everyone from last season, feature five starters 6-foot or taller and have a standout freshman in guard Meighan Simmons.
In her first game, Simmons had 22 points and eight rebounds off the bench in UT's 63-50 win at Louisville on Friday.
"You just have to do the details and work the hardest," junior Bailey Dewart said, and sophomore Kayla Christopher said UTC has to "make the most of it."
Moore said the group of players playing this schedule isn't necessarily the squad he had in mind when he lined up the games, including a visit to No. 19 Georgia on Friday. Forwards Michelle Davis and Erin Helton, who left the team last spring, were still Lady Mocs when he put it together.
"Obviously we made this schedule thinking we were going to have a little bit different personnel, a little bit more size, a little more experience, but it's still a great game for us, I feel like, from a fan standpoint," he said. "Also, we've got a lot of players from Tennessee or from the surrounding area and I think they grow up following Tennessee basketball, so I think it's a big thing for them, as well."
UTC and the Lady Vols had played six seasons in a row before taking last season off. In 2008, the Lady Mocs were in position to pull off an upset at McKenzie Arena before falling 66-63.