Lady Tigers Survive Cold Spell, Tulane
NEW ORLEANS -- LSU sophomore forward LaSondra Barrett scored seven of her 22 points in overtime and the seventh-ranked Lady Tiger basketball team survived a late scare from the Tulane Green Wave, 73-65, on Wednesday night at Fogelman Arena.
LSU (5-0) won its eighth consecutive game against Tulane (2-2) and its 30th straight game against an in-state opponent despite being outshot from the floor, 43 percent to 34 percent. The Lady Tigers went the final 8:52 of regulation and the first two minutes of the overtime period without registering a field goal.
“Let’s give Tulane all of the credit,” LSU head coach Van Chancellor said. “Tulane fought tonight. They had a great gameplan. They shot the ball well, but also give the Lady Tigers credit for effort when it counted. (Allison) Hightower was out with cramps and Courtney Jones had an ankle (injury). We had two starters not playing, but we found a way to keep them from scoring at the end of regulation. We then found a way to take it over in overtime. (LaSondra) Barrett was outstanding tonight. This will be a good Thanksgiving now.”
LSU played the final 2:44 of regulation and the entire overtime period without its top scorer in preseason All-American Allison Hightower, but the inspired play of Barrett and the hard-fought effort of junior guard Katherine Graham to remain unbeaten. Hightower finished with 18 points but left due to leg cramps.
“We just could not score at one time when we lost Allison Hightower,” Chancellor said. “So much of what we run is off of her. We have to find a way to solve her problem.”
LSU got to the free throw line 40 times and made 31 of those shots. Tulane was 8-of-16 from the line. The Lady Tigers’ 40 free throws were the most attempted in a game since shooting 40 against Ole Miss on Feb. 26, 2004. Barrett finished 11-of-12 from the line with five of those coming in the final five minutes.
The Lady Tigers held a comfortable 54-41 lead with 15:36 to go in the second half following a Hightower layup off a steal from Latear Eason. Eason’s jumper at the 12:57 mark put LSU in front by 11 before Tulane made its move and sliced the deficit to under double digits.
Taylor Turnbow’s jumper at the 8:52 mark would be the final field goal for LSU in regulation. Tulane’s Brett Benzio sank a layup and Chassity Brown’s 3-pointer pulled the Wave within two at 58-56 with 6:30 to go.
Hightower hit the floor with cramps at the 2:44 mark with LSU clinging to a 58-57 lead. Graham’s made free throw with 1:13 left was the first point by the Lady Tigers in a span of seven-plus minutes.
Olivia Grayson countered with a pair of free throws to tie the game at 59-59 with 0:59 left and cap a 10-1 Tulane run. On the ensuing LSU possession, Turnbow turned the ball over giving the Green Wave a chance to take its first lead since holding a 36-34 advantage with 1:47 to go in the first half.
Turnbow, however, made up for her miscue when she stripped the ball from Grayson on a possible game-winning attempt through the lane with 0:06 on the clock. Eason grabbed the loose ball, drove the length of the floor and misfired on a jumper inside the 3-point lane as time expired.
LSU went to its first overtime game since Feb. 16, 2006 at Florida and the first in the Chancellor era. The Lady Tigers scored the first four points of the extra frame on free throws from Barrett and Graham. Graham then ended LSU’s dry spell from the floor when she converted a layup and a wide-open jumper on consecutive possessions that put the Lady Tigers up 69-63 with 0:45 to play.
Barrett and sophomore guard Destini Hughes iced the game from the free throw line with four free throws. Graham finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. She and Barrett combined for 12 of LSU’s 14 overtime points.
Tulane was led by Olivia Grayson, who finished with 16 points and five assists.
LSU plays its second straight road game when the Lady Tigers travel to face Louisiana Tech in Ruston on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CST.