KNOXVILLE — After a week off, the 25th-ranked Tennessee women get back in action Thursday with a game at LSU at 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Volunteers (17-6, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) lost 72-55 at home to eighth-ranked Mississippi State last Thursday, their fifth loss this season against a top-15 ranked team.
LSU's Tigers (17-5, 7-3) recently lost leading scorer Ayana Mitchell, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds in the first meeting — a 63-58 win in Knoxville on Jan. 26 — to a knee injury.
LSU has a RPI of 24, 24 spots ahead of Tennessee.
Here are three keys for the Lady Vols to get a big road win:
1. Win the battle, win the war: This game is fully expected to be a battle in the interior, which means that players such as Jaiden McCoy and Kasiyahna Kushkituah will be needed to play minutes inside against the Tigers. Without Mitchell, the Lady Vols will have the advantage on the inside, one they need to take advantage of. Unfortunately this season, they've been really good at rebounding but not finishing inside.
2. Less Davis, but Davis needed: The Lady Vols were able to replace some of junior Rennia Davis's production last week, as the 6-foot-2 forward missed the Mississippi State game due to the flu. That production from others must remain — particularly from sophomore Rae Burrell, who scored 20 in that game — but they can't lose what Davis does. She's the team's primary option, but the Lady Vols need other options offensively to be effective.
3. Take care of the ball: This feels like a repetitive statement to make, but LSU makes nearly nine steals per game while Tennessee is one of the most turnover-prone teams in the SEC. Turning the ball over at home is bad enough, but doing so on the road — where the momentum swing can be a killer — is exponentially worse.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.