Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MARCH MADNESS: Tennessee teams stacked with talent

This is the year of Tennessee women's college basketball! I can feel it.

The UT Lady Vols defeated Kentucky 70-62 Sunday, March 7 in the SEC Championship game, bringing the team's total SEC titles to 14. The team will now compete in the first round of the NCAA tournament on March 20.

Pat Summitt currently has eight NCAA Championships and earned her last two titles in 2007 and 2008. She's coached several players that have went on to star in the WNBA such as Candace Parker, Kara Lawson and Tamika Catchings.

But unfortunately, Summitt has a young and inexperienced team this year. The team has won its last 14 games, but can it maintain that consistency in the tournament?

Another Tennessee team to watch in the NCAA tournament is the MTSU Lady Raiders. The team extended its 15-game winning streak to 16 Tuesday, March 9 by defeating UALR for the Sun Belt Championship.

The team is notorious for 3-pointers and the home of the NCAA's leading scorer for the past two consecutive seasons: Amber Holt in 2008 and Alysha Clark in 2009.

As a senior this year, Clark is putting up big numbers and grabbing excessive rebounds. She broke a SBC record on Sunday, March 7 against North Texas when she scored a game-high 40 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

UALR's Chasity Reed retaliated by scoring 41 points against New Orleans Monday, March 8, but Clark set a new record Monday against Western Kentucky Monday with 44 points. She also broke her own record and added 48 points to the Lady Raiders' win over UALR Tuesday, earning another SBC title for MTSU.

Now the Lady Raiders have their sights on an NCAA title, but will they be able to make it past the first round? Tune in March 20-23 for the first and second rounds to find out.

It's obvious that both teams have the skills necessary to play in the NCAA tournament. But only time will tell if the players will be able to endure the stress and perform at a championship level. In the meantime, I'm rooting for both! GO TENNESSEE!