KNOXVILLE -- This might be the longest week of the season for the Lady Vol basketball team.
Just two more games before the big one.
Top-ranked Tennessee (10-0) gets a visit from Old Dominion tonight at 6. The Lady Monarchs (2-6) are an old rival, facing UT every season since 1976.
However, even the continuance of that tradition and the ever-important opening of Southeastern Conference play Wednesday at South Carolina pale in comparison to what lies ahead for Pat Summitt's team.
The Lady Vols have to focus for two whole games before No. 8 UConn comes to town. The Huskies have been the contemporary rival this past decade and should be an unwelcomed distraction in preparing for Old Dominion.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma will even be in Knoxville for a book signing at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Friday. Hubbub aside, the Lady Vols would be wise not to take the Lady Monarchs lightly.
Old Dominion does enter tonight's contest with a losing record, but five of the team's six losses have come against ranked opponents. The Lady Monarchs took No. 5 North Carolina to overtime in their last outing, falling 88-80. Junior forward Tish Lyons tied a career-high with 20 points, while third-year star Shantel Wilson recorded a double-double.
The pair, combined with forward Sherida Triggs, give Old Dominion most of its scoring from the front court. Sophomore guard T.J. Jordan -- a threat from beyond the arc -- is the team's leading scorer with 14 points a game.
The Lady Vols are still adjusting to life after Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, the sophomore point guard who decided to transfer midseason. Tennessee rolled over No. 12 Notre Dame, 62-51, on Dec. 30.
The signs of new player rotations seemed apparent against the Fighting Irish. Tennessee only shot 33 percent from the field and leading scorers Shanna Zoleman (16 points per game) and Candace Parker (15) were held to just 13 points combined on the night.
Alexis Hornbuckle -- 10.2 points per contest -- rose to the occasion in the game to lead the Lady Vols with 15.
Tonight's game is the 38th meeting between the two schools. Old Dominion hasn't won in Knoxville since 1982.