Lady Vols get set for program’s 36th Sweet Sixteen

Lady Vols and Virginia Tech are set to meet inside Climate Pledge Arena.
Lady Vols take Climate Pledge Arena for Sweet Sixteen
Lady Vols take Climate Pledge Arena for Sweet Sixteen(wvlt)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:16 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Lady Vols said it’s felt like an eternity since they played Virginia Tech in December. With their level of play in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, you’d have to agree.

While Tamari Key won’t be in this rematch, she’s still very much playing an active role in getting these Lady Vols ready.

“We’re really good in the post and I think just being able to remind them that and to keep their confidence of knowing that they can score,” said Key. “Remind them that they can defend, all these things that they’ve worked so hard on since the summertime. Just to go out there and show the world like we are a Tennessee basketball.”

Key was sidelined for most of the season, due to blood clots in her lungs. However, that hasn’t slowed her down from being this team’s biggest cheerleader.

Key added, “Especially when we play in tournament time. We don’t always have all of our fans at every single game. I mean, we’re across the country now. We will still have orange out there, trust. But it’s not gonna be like a home game. So just being able to pour into them and get them fired up and going. It gets me fired up and going and just I get overly excited and then there’s just so much fun.”

Saturday will mark the Lady Vols’ 36th Sweet Sixteen appearance, but for Jasmine Powell this will be her first.

“It’s special to be able to we’re in just being so humble and grateful to do here. With these beautiful girls who could ask for anything better than to get this far with them,” said Powell.

In the second round against Toledo, Sara Puckett was lights out. The confidence she rediscovered there - is something she needs to carry into Saturday.

“I am really excited,” said Puckett. “I just feel I am confident as you said, I’m just gonna do whatever the team needs me to do and you know, continue on from my last game. And I know that’s gonna give the team some energy that we need.”

The Lady Vols are chomping at the bit, as they said, to get back on the court to take on Virginia Tech. Tipoff is slated for 6:30p.m. on ESPN2.