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Lady Vols open NCAA Tournament play against Saint Louis

Fourth-seeded Tennessee will be on home court for its opening-round contest against Saint Louis on Saturday.
Credit: AP
Tennessee players celebrate after upsetting LSU 69-67 to advance to the championship game in the second half of an NCAA college basketball during the Southeastern Conference women's tournament in Greenville, S.C., Saturday, March 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee women's basketball will begin NCAA Tournament play in front of its home crowd on Saturday when the Lady Vols host Saint Louis at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Lady Vols earned home court when they landed the No. 4 seed, while Saint Louis enters the tournament as a No. 13 seed and the Atlantic 10 tournament champion.

Tennessee women's hoops continues its unique distinction as the only program in college women's basketball to appear in every NCAA tournament since the NCAA began sanctioning women's sports in the 1981-82 season. The Lady Vols have advanced past the opening round in all but two seasons, having lost their first-round contests in 2009 and 2019.

Saint Louis is making its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in program history. The Billikens went 17-17 this season and won their conference tournament as a three-seed and upset top-seeded UMass, who the Lady Vols defeated to earn their first win of the season. Tennessee and Saint Louis have only met once in the teams' history. The Lady Vols defeated the Billikens 75-40 in a neutral-site matchup in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 1, 2002.

The Lady Vols enter the 2023 NCAA tournament led by star duo and First-Team All-SEC selections Rickea Jackson and Jordan Horston. Jackson, a Mississippi State transfer, is playing in her first NCAA tournament and leads Tennessee in scoring in her first year on Rocky Top with 19.6 points per game along with 6.2 rebounds. Horston has posted 15.5 points per game and a team-best 7.1 rebounds on average.

Tennessee made it to the NCAA Sweet 16 last season for the first time since 2016, which was the last time the Lady Vols appeared in the Elite Eight.

UT will tip-off against Saint Louis on Saturday, March 18 at 1 p.m. Fifth-seeded Iowa State will play the 12-seed Toledo in Knoxville at 3:30 p.m. and the winners of each game will meet in a second-round matchup at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, March 20.

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