Kentucky Showdown Could Set the Tone for the Post-Season - at the "Pink Out" Game.

Hannah Tuomi: Despite her name, somehow not born in Scandinavia. Yet Jeffery Taylor was. Interesting.

It’s been a typical up and down season for the women’s basketball team. In their most recent game they led #5 Tennessee by seven points with under seven minutes to play, but were outplayed from that point on in a 69-60 loss. The loss dropped the team to 17-7 and possibly out of the Coaches Rankings next week. They currently hold a tenuous grip on the #22 spot after dropping out of the AP list following a second defeat to MississippiState

While things look grim for the Commodores, all is not lost. They host a 16th ranked – but beatable – Kentucky squad before taking on four unranked opponents to clear the SEC schedule. Though the Southeastern Conference offers no pushovers in women's league play, this lineup looks like the perfect catalyst to a momentum building run to the conference tournament. 

There lies the importance of Saturday’s game vs. UK. Kentucky was unranked when they toppled the ‘Dores for the first time in 11 years last month. Vandy blew a 10 point lead in the second half in a game that catapulted the Wildcats into the rankings. A win this weekend would not only be sweet revenge, but would solidify Vanderbilt’s status as a top tier SEC program. 

The women’s basketball team has struggled in big games this year due to a lack of star power. This team is deep and balanced, but has no crunch time scorer who can put games away. This is evident in their losses. They have failed to protect second half leads in four of their losses, and a common theme in their other defeats has been to keep the game close until the eight minute mark then allow opponents to pull away. While these ‘Dores have a lot of talent, they lack a player who can take over a game offensively or defensively in the final five minutes.

A win on Valentine’s Day would be a stark notice that this team can pull out tough games in the last five minutes. Additionally, it’s the "Pink Out" game, which means that the ‘Dores will be wearing their sweet pink jerseys and most of the crowd will join them in color. It’s a solid tradition that does a great job of raising awareness for breast cancer. Hopefully, Memorial will see a little more action than during the Vols game, where empty benches could be seen throughout the student section.

The table is set for the women’s basketball team to build some momentum. They don’t have a cupcake schedule, but they’ll be facing solid teams that they can beat – and wins here will look great on a NCAA Tournament selection resume. A big win Saturday could be the spark that ignites this team to another SEC Tournament championship. Memorial Gym needs more banners - and this would be a great year to raise several.

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