Tennessee is the No. 1 seed in the Louisville Regional.
The Lady Vols, who are the only team to have played in every NCAA tournament, will open up by hosting Northwestern State (21-12) on Saturday. Tennessee (27-5) is trying to end a five-year drought of not making it to the Final Four — the longest such streak in school history.
“It’s an indication of how we finished our season and how hard we played,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “I hope it’s about respect for this team.”
If Tennessee beats Northwestern State, No. 8 seed St. John’s (22-10) or No. 9 seed Southern California (22-12) would await the Lady Vols in the second round.
The Lady Vols, who won the SEC tournament and have 13 victories in their last 14 games, won’t have an easy path to the Final Four. West Virginia is the second seed. Host Louisville is the three seed and Maryland is the four.
The Cardinals knocked off top-seed Baylor in the regional semifinals last season before beating Tennessee to earn a trip to the Final Four. Now they could get a similar opportunity against the Lady Vols on their home floor.
Warlick said Monday that she doesn’t anticipate point guard Ariel Massengale to be available for the first two rounds. Massengale hasn’t played since getting hit in the face in an 89-69 victory over Florida on Jan. 23.comments powered by Disqus