Updated Dec 6, 2003 19:20:33
Louisiana Tech-Tennessee: Chapter 36 Set for Sunday
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Louisiana Tech head coach Kurt Budke just wants to forget about it. Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt said it doesn't really count.
However, it will be in the back of the minds of the seven returning Lady Techster players when No. 10 ranked Tech (3-0) faces No. 3 ranked Tennessee (2-0) at Thompson-Boling Arena Sunday at 2 p.m. CST.
It is last year's 60-35 win by the Lady Vols over Tech in Ruston; a game in which the Lady Techsters set records for futility in fewest points in a game, fewest points in a half (14), fewest field goals made (14) and lowest field goal percentage for a game (20).
It is not easily forgotten by the Lady Techsters.
"We haven't forgotten about (last year)," said Tech senior forward Trina Frierson. "We know Tennessee is always a great team, and we know in order to beat them we have to play a great game. We are looking forward to proving that last year was not indicative of this series."
Frierson is the lone member of the Tech squad that has tasted victory against the Lady Vols as Tech defeated Tennessee 69-64 on Knoxville during her true freshman year in 1999-2000. That was the last Tech victory in the series that started in 1978.
"I really don't think (getting our kids to believe they can win) is a problem," Budke said. "We have an experienced team that has played in big games and have played in big games on the road, and they totally believe we can win. I don't think lack of confidence will be a factor at all."
Even Summitt, whose teams are 18-17 all-time against Tech, hasn't totally forgotten about last year's game.
"I am anxious to see how our team will match up against Louisiana Tech," Summitt said Thursday in her weekly teleconference. "Last year can be thrown away. They were not shooting well and we were. That is not the team I've seen so far this year. I just know we had better show up and compete hard. Both teams have great capabilities of opening a game up."
One of the biggest keys in this year's game will be on the interior where Tennessee has a sizeable advantage physically on the Lady Techsters. Eight of the Lady Vols 11 players measure 6-foot or taller, including Shyra Ely (6-2), Tye'sha Fluker (6-5), Ashley Robinson (6-5) and Sidney Spencer (6-3).
"With (Trina) Frierson back, their inside game is solid," Summitt said. "The one match-up I think is key is in the paint. I see a very aggressive and physical team in them right now in the post."
Summitt said she has been impressed with the film she has watched on Tech senior forward Amisha Carter, who is averaging 16.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.
"She stepped in and has been a go-to player," Summitt said. "Her numbers are tremendous. She is putting up a lot of shots a game. She is very aggressive and shows a lot of composure inside. You always want that. I think the thing that has impressed me is her play on the boards. Her board work is indicative of what she brings to their team on a consistent basis."
Budke agreed that the Lady Techsters must find a way to compete against the much bigger Lady Vols inside. Ely leads Tennessee in scoring this season, averaging 20.0 points per game in the Lady Vols wins over Notre Dame and Tennessee-Chattanooga.
"They are real long, real big and real deep inside," Budke said. "They can go to their bench deeper than we can as far as size. We have to stay out of foul trouble. If our main inside people can play 30 minutes and stay out of foul trouble that will help countering their size."
Tech has posted a 65-34 mark all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference.
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. with the pregame show starting at 1:30 p.m. on KXKZ-FM 107.5 and via the Internet at www.z1075fm.com.
Probable Starting Lineups
No. 10 Louisiana Tech (3-0)
G #10 Tasha Crain, 5-7, So. 3.3 ppg, 3.7 apg
G #34 Amber Obaze, 5-9, Sr. 11.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg
G #4 Erica Smith-Taylor 5-10, Jr. 11.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
F #25 Amisha Carter, 6-1, Sr. 16.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg
F #50 Trina Frierson, 6-2, Sr. 15.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
No. 3 Tennessee (2-0)
G #21 Loree Moore, 5-9, Jr. 9.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
G #5 Shanna Zolman, 5-10, So. 13.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
F #3 Tasha Butts, 5-11, Sr. 7.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg
F #43 Shyra Ely, 6-2, Jr. 20.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg
C #33 Ashley Robinson, 6-5, Sr. 8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg