KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 16 LSU women’s basketball team steps into SEC action and faces No. 5 Tennessee during the conference opener for both teams Thursday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Thursday’s tip time is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT and will be carried live by Cox Sports Television (CST) along with Charter Sports Southeast (CSS). The telecast also will be available on www.WatchESPN.com. The LSU Sports Radio will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in the Baton Rouge. Live audio also can be accessed by Geaux Zone subscribers at LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, will have the radio call.
“The thing about SEC play is that each team is familiar with each other,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “The intensity to go at each other is greater. Another thing about conference play is the number of great players you go up against. Tennessee has one of the best guards in the country in (Meighan) Simmons and one of the nation’s best rebounders in (Bashaara) Graves. The SEC season helps prepare you for what you will face in the NCAAs.”
LSU (10-2, 0-0 SEC) has won 10 of its last 11 and are 21-10 all-time in SEC openers. Last season, the Lady Tigers picked up an 84-79 victory over Ole Miss to begin SEC play. Danielle Ballard notched her first career double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
LSU is coming off a 72-45 victory over Jackson State on Monday. The Lady Tigers used a 17-6 run over the final six minutes of the first half and connected on their first seven field goals of the second half en route to 19 of the stanza’s opening 27 points to bust the contest open.
Jeanne Kenney rattled off 22 points to match a career-high sparked by a career-best six three-pointers during the Jackson State. Over her last two games, Kenney has provided 18.5 points per game and buried 10-of-14 from triple territory. She has tallied 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the season. Kenney’s 42.9 three-point percentage is fourth on the SEC leaderboard.
Raigyne Moncrief has turned in a team-leading 13.3 points per game which ranks second among SEC freshmen. She has reached double figures in nine of 12 games which includes a 13-point effort versus Jackson State. Moncrief also has secured 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game. The 2.4 steals per game are fifth in the SEC rankings and tied for fifth-most nationally among freshmen.
Theresa Plaisance returned to the starting lineup during the Jackson State game. The SEC’s reigning scoring champion has posted 12.8 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game. Plaisance enters the Tennessee game 74 points shy of 1,000 and 47 rebounds away from 500 for her career.
Five additional Lady Tigers have chipped in over 5.0 points per game. Over her last three appearances, Ballard has turned in a balanced 5.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. She returned to the starting lineup against Jackson State since starting LSU’s first three games of the season.
The Lady Vols (11-1, 0-0 SEC) have garnered 84.5 points per game, second-most in the SEC rankings. Tennessee also holds its opponents to a SEC-low 31.3 field goal percentage and has grabbed a SEC-leading 51.8 rebounds per game. Their lone setback came during a 76-70 decision at then No. 6 Stanford on Dec. 21.
Meighan Simmons, the SEC’s Preseason Player of the Year, has poured in 13.9 points and 2.5 assists per game. She also is on the Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy and John R. Wooden Award watch lists. Simmons is joined on the national lists by Bashaara Graves who has come away with 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The Lady Vols also have Isabelle Harrison (12.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG) and Ariel Massengale (12.3 PPG) averaging in double figures.
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuwbkb along with @lsuwbkb and @nikkicaldwell on Twitter.