Women's Basketball Puts Home Streak on the Line
BATON ROUGE - Riding a seven-game home winning streak, the LSU women's basketball team returns home to the Maravich Center to face one of the Southeastern Conference's most efficient offensive teams in the Vanderbilt Commodores at 2 p.m. CT Sunday.
Sunday's contest will be the final chance to see the Lady Tigers at home this month. Doors to the arena open at 1 p.m. General admission tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for youth, ages 12 and under.
The game will not be televised but can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Geaux Zone members on www.LSUsports.net can watch live streaming HD video of the game. In-game updates are available at www.Twitter.com/LSUwbkb.
Despite losing to No. 18 South Carolina by a score of 66-59 on Thursday, LSU rallied from deficits of 10 and eight points to nearly upset the Gamecocks. The Lady Tigers played with toughness, hustle and fought through adversity. Head coach Nikki Caldwell said she liked the intangibles she saw that can carry over to Sunday's game and beyond.
"Obviously, you never won't to lose, but there was a certain way that we played that we haven't played all year," said Caldwell. "There was a different intensity to defend the basketball. We fought to the very end. I saw a fight in this team that I have not seen in a long time. I saw a team tighter in their huddles. I saw a team high-fiving each other more. I saw a more enthused bench. Nothing but good things can come from that type of game for us in the long run. "
LSU (11-7, 2-3) is tied for eighth place in the SEC standings through five league games. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, is 13-4 on the year with a 3-1 mark in conference play. The Commodores have won 10 of their last 11 games with their only setback coming at South Carolina by a score of 64-48 on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Vanderbilt did not play a mid-week contest. They blew out Arkansas, 78-58, last Sunday and continue to be one of the nation's most efficient offensive teams. The Commodores, who are receiving votes in both polls this week, are in the top 20 nationally in field percentage at 44.8 percent.
They feature three of the SEC's best players in senior forward Tiffany Clarke, junior guard Christina Foggie and junior guard Jasmine Listen. Clarke is averaging a team-high 15.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. She ranks 12th nationally in field goal percentage (57.3).
"Clarke, Lister and Foggie - they go as the three of them go," said Caldwell. "You have a great supporting cast. They are very good in their offensive scheme. They do a good job of finding their go-to players and setting screens. We cannot afford to miss defensive assignments."
LSU will counter with a lineup that includes the SEC's second-leading scorer in Theresa Plaisance (17.8 ppg) and Adrienne Webb, Jeanne Kenney, Bianca Lutley and Danielle Ballard. Plaisance has scored in double-figures in every game since the second game of the season, representing the longest streak by a Lady Tiger since Sylvia Fowles.
Kenney did not start at South Carolina after coming off a shoulder injury the week before. The Baton Rouge native has been outstanding in distributing the basketball. Through five SEC games, Kenney is second in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.5) with 21 assists and only six turnovers. She is just three assists shy of 200 for her career.
The home team has won the last eight regular season meetings between the two teams. Vanderbilt leads the all-time series, 23-17, but LSU has claimed the last four meetings in the PMAC. The Commodores' last win in Baton Rouge was on Feb. 19, 2004.
LSU has protected its home court well this season, posting a 9-1 record and seven straight wins. The Lady Tigers own a +15.3 scoring margin in the Maravich Center this season.