The Tennessee Lady Vols have shown expectations of their demise in the post-Pat Summitt era were unfounded.

They've overcome pessimistic preseason projections, the transition to new coach Holly Warlick and a season-opening loss to Chattanooga that dropped them to No. 24 in the Top 25 — their lowest ranking since 1985.

The Lady Vols (16-3) have climbed to ninth, are riding a nine-game winning streak and sit alone atop the Southeastern Conference standings.

What Tennessee hasn't been able to do is beat an elite team, losing to Baylor and Stanford this season. They get another shot Monday against No. 2 Notre Dame.

The fast start has shown that the Lady Vols won't struggle without Summitt, who stepped down last April after winning eight national titles in 38 seasons.