BATON ROUGE -- After posting a 9-4 record in non-conference play, the LSU women's basketball team opens its Southeastern Conference season at home against the Ole Miss Rebels at 7 p.m. CT Thursday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The first 500 fans in attendance on Thursday will receive a free 2013 LSU Lady Tiger calendar. Doors to the arena open at 6 p.m. General admission tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for youth, ages 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the Maravich Center box office on gameday.
The game will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and to members of the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. Live streaming HD video is also available to Geaux Zone members. In-game updates are available at www.Twitter.com/LSUwbkb.
The Lady Tigers will only host three SEC home games during the month of January beginning with Ole Miss, who has dropped three straight to LSU the previous two seasons. The Rebels (7-6) have lost four of their last five games, including an 80-75 setback to McNeese State on Dec. 29 at the Tulane Classic in New Orleans.
LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell says the stakes become much higher as conference play begins.
"The level of competition intensifies," said Caldwell. "Every year, I go into the season with the attitude that it is anybody's championship to win. I like the parity in our conference. It's very competitive from top to bottom."
LSU has skyrocketed up to fifth in the SEC in scoring offense with 74.8 points per game. The Lady Tigers have produced six consecutive games of 70 points or better, including their second highest output of the season in an 87-61 win over New Orleans on Dec. 31.
"I never go into game feeling as though we can't score the basketball," said Caldwell. "We have a variety of players who are skilled on the offensive end. We have established a good rhythm."
LSU out-scored the Privateers 87-61 in the second half as Theresa Plaisance and Danielle Ballard combined for 45 points. Plaisance, who has scored in double-figures in 12 consecutive games, is now up to a league-best 18.6 points per game for the season. Ballard continues to lead all SEC freshmen in scoring and is seventh overall with 14.7 points per contest.
Valencia McFarland leads Ole Miss in scoring with 11.4 points per game followed by Diara Moore, who is averaging 11.1 points per game.
"I expect them (Ole Miss) to come in here and have a passion to run the basketball," said Caldwell. "They are equally as potent on the boards. They will mix it up defensively as well. They will come in here focused."
LSU has won nine of its last 10 SEC openers and the Lady Tigers are 20-10 all-time in SEC openers. Last season, the Lady Tigers cruised to a dominating 83-44 win at Ole Miss to open SEC play on New Year's Day.
Following the Ole Miss game, LSU will play its next two league contests on the road beginning at Florida on Sunday. Tipoff will be at 1 p.m. CT and the game will be televised by the SEC Network.