The SEC's No. 1 scoring offense will go up against the conference's third-best scoring defense when the No. 10 Lady Vols take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at home tonight.
Tennessee (16-4, 5-2 SEC) will be looking to avenge its home lost last season to the Razorbacks, who won 72-71 in an overtime thriller that brought UT's 18-game win streak to a close.
After winning its first 13 games of the season, Arkansas has gone 2-5 in SEC play and the squad finds itself nestled in at ninth in the conference standings.
Despite the team's recent struggles, Arkansas head coach Tom Collen's team still ranks as the nation's No. 2 scoring defense, allowing a meager 50.4 points per game.
"They (Arkansas) are playing well this season," Lady Vols second-year head coach Holly Warlick said. "They went in to Kentucky and gave them a good game.
"Just like any game, this is a big one for us."
In the team's matchup last season in Fayetteville, Ark., senior guard Meighan Simmons led the Lady Vols to a hard-fought 60-54 victory with 18 points of her own.
"It seemed like we had to pull out all cylinders to win at Arkansas last year," Warlick said. "It's a big game for us to see if we can contain what we started and built on."
The lone UT senior on this year's squad has averaged 23.3 points per game in her last three contests and scored 26 points in the Lady Vols' 76-55 victory over No. 17 Texas A&M on Sunday.
The Aggies entered the game undefeated in conference play.
"I think it shot our confidence up," Simmons said. "We knew it was one of those games where we had to come out and make a statement. We knew where we wanted to be toward the end of the season, so it was just a matter of going out there and playing hard.
The Cibolo, Texas native is shooting a career-high 43.7 percent this season and leads the team in 3-pointers made (39) and points per game (14.8).
Simmons and her teammates will look to bring the Lady Vols, currently tied for third in the conference, their sixth win out of the past eight games when they take on the Razorbacks.
"It's mental, and it's physical," Simmons said. "Everything has to be in one, and then your body will follow after. I think it's just a matter of getting out there and running. You need to be a mental and a physical player going into the SEC and preparing for the NCAA."
While UT has had solid contributions from its two freshmen — Mercedes Russell and Jordan Reynolds — this season, Arkansas boasts the conference's top-scoring freshman in Jessica Jackson.
Jackson leads Arkansas in scoring (16.7 points per game) 3-point field goal percentage (.439), rebounds (6.0) and blocks (1.4).
The Lady Vols' defense will need to key in on the freshman phenom forward who has scored 26 points per game in her last three contests and scored a career-high 31 in Arkansas' 68-65 win against Ole Miss on Jan. 19.
"I think that we have really emphasized for them to communicate with each other on defense and it's been big for them," Warlick said. "After these last two games, we are building a good solid base and a good trust with each other on the floor.
"I see it getting better each game."