BATON ROUGE – The LSU women’s basketball team concludes the home portion of its regular season schedule as No. 10 Tennessee visits the Maravich Center on Thursday.
Tip time is slated for 8 p.m., and the game will be carried by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS), Cox Sports Television (CST) and http://www.watchespn.com/. The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, will have the radio call.
As part of “Senior Night” festivities, LSU will honor Jeanne Kenney, Shanece McKinney and Theresa Plaisance along with its senior support staff members before the game. The “Senior Night” Ceremony will begin at 7:45 p.m.
The first 2,500 fans will receive a commemorative poster spotlighting the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Final Four Team. Tables will be set up to give away the commemorative posters at each of the three lower entrances as well as tables at each of the main concourse level entrances. Fans also will have the opportunity to take their picture with the 2004 Final Four trophy outside of portal F before the game.
Tickets for Thursday’s contest are on-sale at http://www.lsutix.net/ and can be purchased at the Maravich Center Box Office on gameday starting as low as $2.
LSU (18-9, 7-7 SEC) enters Thursday’s action and the final week of the regular season tied for fifth place with Florida and Vanderbilt in the SEC standings and will look to snap a four-game losing streak. The Lady Tigers dropped a pair of four-point decisions to Georgia and Arkansas last week.
“You go back to why you decided to come to LSU,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “You talk about the tradition here, the identity of this program and how hard it is to play in the PMAC. You go back to what made this program special, and this program was built on the sweat equity of those who defended and rebounded the basketball. Yes, it is Senior Night. We’re going to do our best to win this game on Thursday, but the only way they will be able to do it is together. All five people collectively at that moment on the court have got to be in sync with the game plan and execute it to the best of their ability. The next substitutions that are made will have to do the same thing. You talk about execution and being efficient.”
LSU is being led by Theresa Plaisance’s 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. The senior forward has upped her average to 21.5 points per game during last week’s action and ran off 17 consecutive games with 10-plus points. Plaisance heads into the Tennessee game ranked 22nd on LSU’s all-time scoring list.
Jeanne Kenney and Raigyne Moncrief have turned in 11.2 points per game apiece. Kenney is four assists away from compiling 100 assists in each of the last two seasons. She has buried 31 of her 50 field goals during SEC play from three-point territory. The 11.2 points per game for Moncrief, who missed the Arkansas game due to injury, is fourth among SEC freshmen.
Danielle Ballard has secured 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. She has racked up all three of her 20-plus point performances on the season versus ranked opponents. Ballard matched her career-high with 25 points with eight of her 11 field goals coming off layups during LSU’s 80-77 win over the Lady Vols earlier this season.
“Every year you have to look the cohesion of your team,” Caldwell said. “Every year your cohesion will be tested, and it will be tested when you have adversity. This group is a good group. They have the makeup, and they are very capable of turning this around. They don’t want to lose. I don’t think any player goes into a game with the intent of losing it. We’ve got to make sure that as a team we take ownership, and we make sure that everybody is doing their part to make this team successful. It’s by doing the little things. It’s by making those easy baskets, making free throws, defending the basket and rebounding the basketball. It’s the little things that make up a big win. Time is ticking, but we still have a lot of time together. They need to understand that we’re fine. This is not a situation where we need to feel as though the world is coming to an end.”
Since starting SEC action with a 2-2 mark, Tennessee (22-5, 11-3 SEC) has secured wins in nine of its last 10 SEC outings to move into a second place tied in the SEC standings. The Lady Vols are on the nation’s best on the glass averaging 46.0 rebounds per game and hold a plus 11.5 rebounding margin per game.
Tennessee is being led by Meighan Simmons’ 15.7 points per game followed by Isabelle Harrison’s 13.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Simmons has reached 20-plus points in four of her last five games and connected on 43.2 percent of her three-point field goals during SEC action. Ariel Massengale (12.5 PPG) and Bashaara Graves (10.1 PPG) also average in double figures for Tennessee. Massengale has missed the Lady Vols last eight games due to injury.
LSU ended a seven-game winning streak for Tennessee in the series with an 80-77 victory over the Lady Vols on Jan. 2 at Thompson-Boling Arena. Ballard amassed a career-high tying 25 points, while Harden chipped in all 17 of LSU’s points from the bench. Only one team in SEC history, Georgia during the 1984-85 season, has swept a season home-and-home series over the Lady Vols.
“I saw the bench come in and really try to hold it down when our starters were in foul trouble,” Caldwell said about the first meeting between the two teams. “I just saw a team that played hard. I saw a team that didn’t take any possessions off. Whatever combinations we had in there, they just made it work. Players made plays. We were able to hold off and come away with a win. We’ve also have seen where we can be better. We’ve got to bring another level of intensity especially when you’re playing a team like Tennessee who’s playing very good basketball right now.”
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.