LSU women's basketball vs. Tennessee: Score prediction, scouting report
Now, the real challenge begins.
LSU women's basketball welcomes Tennessee (16-7, 8-0), one of the three teams undefeated in Southeastern Conference play at the halfway point, to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for a big-time matchup Monday (6 p.m., ESPN2).
Despite the Lady Vols coming in fresh off a 84-67 home loss to No. 5 UConn, they're no question to toughest opponent No. 3 LSU (20-0, 8-0) has seen through 20 games this season, and it's not particularly close.
The last game for the Tigers at Alabama was supposedly the toughest game to date as it pertains to the NET rankings as the Crimson Tide were low 20s. Kim Mulkey's team handled the Tide on the road easily, 89-51, to extend the program's longest winning streak and best start to 20-0.
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Truth be told, LSU was an absolute matchup problem for Alabama, which doesn't have a true big like LSU has in Angel Reese and LaDazhia Williams.
And that's what Tennessee is to the Tigers, a matchup problem, Mulkey said this week.
LSU women's basketball must contain Lady Vols' Jordan Horston
Senior forward Rickea Jackson has been a force for Tennessee since SEC play started and is the team's leading scorer at 17.8 points per game.
But for LSU, the defensive focal point will need to be on senior big guard Jordan Horston, who is the Lady Vols' second-leading scorer at 15.7 points. Horston, who is 6-foot-2, presents a nightmare of matchup for Mulkey's smaller guards on the perimeter. Against UConn Thursday, Horston posted 27 points in the loss.
Freshman Flau'jae Johnson is LSU's tallest wing player at 5-11, and has plenty of strength with her frame but it likely won't be on her to guard Horston. Mulkey will likely elect for more experience and seniors Alexis Morris and Jasmine Carson will both be tasked with trying to slow down Horston, who has the capability to take over a game with her combination of size and skill.
Angel Reese needs big performance for National Player of the Year conversation
Reese ranks fifth in women's college basketball in scoring (23.7) and second in rebounding (15.5), but those around the top player award believe she's done so against subpar competition.
Tennessee offers LSU's star sophomore forward an opportunity to quiet some doubters about her belonging in the debate.
Where Reese excels best in offensive rebounding, and the Lady Vols rebound well as a team, led by Horston and Jackson, and they get on the offensive glass at a high clip.
LSU 61, Tennessee 57: Reese cements her credentials for National Player of the Year with a massive performance to lead LSU over the Lady Vols.
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: LSU women's basketball vs. Lady Vols: Score prediction, scouring report