February 26, 2004

Lady Vols visit Lady Razorbacks, look to stay unbeaten in SEC play

(2) Tennessee (23-2) vs. Arkansas (16-9)
Game Info: 8:00 pm EST Thu Feb 26, 2004

Tennessee's unbeaten Southeastern Conference record appears to be safe -- at least for now.

Looking to inch closer to their second straight undefeated season in conference play, the second-ranked Lady Vols (23-2, 12-0) visit Arkansas (16-9, 5-7) at the Bud Walton Arena on Thursday.

Tennessee, which hosts No. 15 LSU next to wrap up its regular season, has won eight straight over Arkansas and leads the all-time series 13-1. That lone defeat came in a 77-75 road loss on Dec. 29, 1996.

The Lady Vols have outscored the Lady Razorbacks by an average of 23 points in the series, including an 83-44 home win on Jan. 8. Tennessee held the Lady Razorbacks to 25 percent shooting in that game.

The Lady Vols need just two more wins to go undefeated in the SEC for the second consecutive season and 12th time overall.

Tennessee clinched its 13th regular-season SEC title, including seventh straight, with Sunday's 85-69 win at Mississippi.

The Lady Vols have won 32 consecutive regular-season conference games, dating to a loss at Vanderbilt on Feb. 2, 2002.

``It's been a priority to go in and compete at the top of this league,'' Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. ``Our players take a lot of pride about how they compete within our conference.''

Shyra Ely has been one of those players, leading the Lady Vols in scoring (14.4) and rebounding (8.2). She recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday. The junior averaged 9.8 points last season.

``She's obviously stepped up big for us in a lot of games and been one of our most consistent players,'' Summitt said. ``When she doesn't play well, I'll tell you we're not as good a basketball team.''

Ely has shot 59 percent while averaging 13 points in three career games against Arkansas.

No comments: