BATON ROUGE -- LSU All-America candidate LaSondra Barrett recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Lady Tigers claimed their fifth consecutive victory in defeating Auburn, 57-41, in the Pink Game recognizing breast cancer awareness on Sunday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
A season-high paid crowd of 6,763 watched LSU continue its ascend up the Southeastern Conference standings. The Lady Tigers (19-8, 9-5 SEC) moved into a tie for third-place with Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt with two games remaining. The 6,763 in attendance was the largest crowd to watch a Lady Tiger game in the PMAC since Feb. 1, 2009, when 6,887 watched LSU face Auburn.
"On the defensive end, we are doing a good job of holding our opponents in the high 40s to low 50s scoring," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "Offensively we are not capitalizing and executing on the other end because of our lack of taking care of the basketball. The thing I have harped on this group about is that we are going to win with our defense and our rebounding. The game may be ugly, but as long as you are collecting those wins at this time of the season, it's good to focus on that.
Auburn dropped its fifth straight game and fell to 11-16 overall and 3-11 in the league standings.
Barrett, who moved into eighth place with Sylvia Fowles in career starts with 107, was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line and added three steals. Jeanne Kenney put in 11 points and nailed a perfect 3-of-3 from three-point range - all in the first half. Both Courtney Jones and Adrienne Webb contributed seven points apiece.
For the fourth consecutive game, LSU held an opponent under 50 points as Auburn became the latest victim, shooting only 30.9 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent in the second half. Despite committing 24 turnovers, Auburn converted those into only nine points.
LSU rode a 9-0 first-half run and 63.2 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes to claim a 33-26 lead into the locker room. The Lady Tigers nailed threes on three straight possessions - two from Kenney and one from Webb - while Bianca Lutley found Jones on a beautiful alley-oop layup.
Auburn hung around early in the second half with both teams going cold from the floor. Auburn managed the only field goal of the first six minutes of the stanza until Lutley's layup at the 13:43 mark. A jumper by Barrett ignited another 9-0 run that left LSU with a 46-31 lead with 6:21 remaining in the contest.
Sheila Boykin came off the bench to give the Lady Tigers their largest lead, 53-35.
LSU dominated the boards, out-rebounding Auburn, 35-23, and improving to 16-4 when out-rebounding opponents on the season. LSU has out-rebounded 10 of its 14 SEC opponents.
The Lady Tigers senior class of Barrett, Jones, Taylor Turnbow, Swayze Black and Destini Hughes will be honored prior to their final regular season home game when LSU hosts Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. CT Thursday in the Maravich Center. The contest will be televised by Fox Sports Net. Tickets are on sale at www.LSUtix.net.
NOTES: LSU recognized breast cancer survivors at halftime with a special tribute and parade with Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden on hand ... A handful of Lady Tiger alumni were also on hand and recognized at halftime, including Latear Eason, Cornelia Gayden and Latasha Dorsey ... LSU remained undefeated in Pink Games, improving to 5-0 ... The Lady Tigers wore special Nike pink uniforms and shoes.
LSU Head Coach Nikki Caldwell
On the win ...
"This part of the season, you definitely want to be playing some good basketball. On the defensive end we are doing a good job of holding our opponents in the high 40s to low 50s scoring. Offensively we are not capitalizing and executing on the other end because of our lack of taking care of the basketball. The thing I have harped on this group about is that we are going to win with our defense and our rebounding. The game may be ugly, but as long as you are collecting those wins at this time of the season it's good to focus on that.
On the team's offensive play ...
"I am very pleased when we work our offense and we make the extra pass and we look for our isolation because we are executing at a very high percentage. It's just those turnovers make the game a little choppy for us. I truly believe this team understands where we are at, and what we have to do. When we have to make a run, you can tell in segments we may have only one turnover, and we are probably very efficient in our half-court offense. That's how we get our runs."
Sr. F LaSondra Barrett
On being efficient ...
"During the period where we were losing I was over thinking the game a little too much and trying to do too much. Now that I have had a couple games at point guard under my belt I'm getting adjusted to the position, and I'm learning how to be everywhere and not really trying to force too much. I'm letting the game come to me. With this being my last couple games down the stretch, I want to play hard for my team and do whatever my team needs. Coach always says that how this team goes determines how I go, so I just try to step my game up and hopefully my team will do the same."
On being in a good position for NCAA tournament ...
"We talked about this the other day. We wanted to be playing our best basketball toward the end of the season. We wanted to come together and have fun, and you see that out there with us. We have learned lessons throughout the entire season which I think has made us a stronger team so we know how to battle. We know how to come back, we know how to do all of those things. Right now we are in control and we have the momentum. We are just riding this wave from here on out."
Jr. G Adrienne Webb
On what they did to overcome any challenges ...
"They were scrappy and they were getting in to all of guards and forcing us to turn the ball over, but towards the middle of the game we started taking care of the ball, sharing it, making the extra pass and that converted into our offense and kept us from getting all of those turnovers."
Auburn Head Coach Nell Fortner
"It was a bad day for us. It was a good day for LSU. They shot the ball well and we couldn't find any baskets. We did not play that well but I credit LSU's defense. That is a big zone to have to try to get inside of. On top of that, they shot the ball so well. It was a long day for us."
On shooting 30% in the game...
"I think the defense had everything to do with it. I thought we had some looks in the first half. We are a team that is struggling right now, so we need to knock some shots down early to get some confidence. I thought we missed some great opportunities to help ourselves in the first half. Shots just weren't dropping. That burden got heavier when you are not winning. It got heavier as the game went. LSU was shooting the ball well; they were 5-7 from the three in the first half. That is pretty nice. We went a long time without scoring in the second half, which is pretty tough. I thought we were doing some good things defensively but we couldn't score the ball today. It was a tough day for us."
On LaSondra Barrett...
"I have been watching her since she was in high school. We recruited her and she was such a good player then. She is a quiet kind of player, in the sense that she doesn't do flashy things. She is a solid player. Now she is out there playing the three, handling the ball and helping LSU getting very big. They can get so big on you on the floor."