Lady Tigers Take Momentum to Starkville
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Riding the momentum of its signature victory of the season last weekend against No. 9 Georgia, the LSU women's basketball team seeks back-to-back Southeastern Conference wins for the first time this season at Mississippi State at 12:30 p.m. CT Sunday in Humphrey Coliseum.
The contest will be televised on Fox Sports Net Southwest, SportSouth, and it can be viewed on ESPN3.com or via the Watch ESPN App on tablets. Dave Baker and Daymeon Fishback will handle the call. Patrick Wright calls the action on the LSU Sports Radio Network on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Geaux Zone members can listen at www.LSUsports.net/live. In-game updates are available via Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LSUwbkb.
LSU (14-10, 5-6 SEC) sits in sole possession of seventh place in the conference standings with five games remaining. The Lady Tigers are one game back of sixth-place Vanderbilt, who LSU beat in January. Mississippi State (11-13, 3-8) is tied for 12th place after falling at Ole Miss by a score of 65-51 on Thursday.
"We have been putting a lot of focus on our transition defense and taking care of the basketball this week in practice," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "It's also given us a chance to polish up on our offensive execution. We had an opportunity to rest our players and take a couple of days off this week because we were banged up."
Defensively, LSU continues to improve after holding Georgia to 30.1 percent shooting last Sunday in a 62-54 win. Meanwhile, junior forward Theresa Plaisance is putting up SEC Player of the Year-type numbers. She remains the league's leading scorer with 17.8 points per game, and she is the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 of all five of the following categories: scoring, rebounding, blocks, field goal percentage and free throw percentage.
Freshman Danielle Ballard is second among all SEC freshmen in scoring (12.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). Ballard leads the SEC in steals and is 24th nationally with 3.1 per game. The Memphis native is creeping closer to the LSU single-season record for steals by a freshman. She's 12 away from tying Joyce Walker's record of 86.
Adrienne Webb is ninth in the SEC in scoring with 13.8 points per game, while junior guard Jeanne Kenney is seventh in the league in assists with 4.5. Kenney has already racked up 104 assists on the season, which is the most by an LSU player in two seasons.
Despite losing to Ole Miss on Thursday, Mississippi State has played better of late and improved since LSU ran away with a 62-42 win over the Lady Bulldogs in Baton Rouge on Jan. 13. Webb poured in a career-high 28 points in the victory.
Mississippi State's Martha Alwal is one of the most dominant players in the league, averaging 12.5 points and a league-high 10.0 rebounds per game. She is the only player in the SEC to average a double-double. She's also second in blocked shots behind Plaisance with 2.4 per game.
"They have really committed to disrupting teams on the defensive end," said Caldwell. "Martha has taken over games, and she is a big presence in the paint as a shot blocker and scorer. They have played well as a team."
LSU has dominated the all-time series with Mississippi State, 44-6, and 17-5 in Starkville. The Lady Tigers have won the last seven meetings between the two.