ETSU hosts Lady Vols for first time in 35 years

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Excitement is building as we inch closer to tip-off between the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers and Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

“The baseball team’s coming, all the sports teams are coming, a lot of students are coming to watch the game,” said ETSU Sophomore, Nick Sainato.

ETSU’s Athletic Director, Dr. Richard Sander, says the women’s basketball team is hosting No. 13 ranked Lady Vols for the first time in 35 years.

“Really have to give a lot of credit to Coach Ezell for going out and scheduling the University of Tennessee and the University of Tennessee folks for coming up here,” Dr. Sander said.

The Bucs are looking to break its all-time attendance record, previously set in 2012, when ETSU hosted the LSU Tigers. There were 4,092 in attendance that night.

Because of that, the team will play inside the ETSU/Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center instead of Brooks Gym.

“Women’s sports has grown so dramatically over the last 20 years and I think to see this kind of crowd that we’re going to have in this building kind of really illustrates that fact,” Dr. Sander continued.

Not only is the program looking to break records, it’s hoping to share an important message to young girls in our region.

“It’s an opportunity for a lot of girls and young women to have an opportunity to see high quality female athletes competing with a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” he said.

There will even be a special ceremony in honor of the late Pat Summitt. ETSU Coach Brittney Ezell is going to present UT Coach Holly Warlick an ETSU jersey with Pat Summitt’s name on it.

“Coach Summitt has been so incredible in the growth of women’s sports and throughout the whole state of Tennessee and also nationally,” Dr. Sander said.

Students say they are ready to see the historic event.

“Our girls are very talented so I think we’ll have a good fighting chance,” Sainato said.

“I think it’s going to be good for the region, I think it’s exciting for ETSU, I think it’s exciting for the University of Tennessee and hopefully we can do this in the future,” said Dr. Sander.

Tipoff is Tuesday, November 15 at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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