Lady Tigers to Face Hartford in NCAA First Round

The Lady Tigers with some of their biggest supporters at Monday's selection show gathering.
The Lady Tigers with some of their biggest supporters at Monday's selection show gathering.
Chris Parent (@chrisparent)
Bill Martin (@LSUBillMartin)
Bill Martin (@LSUBillMartin)
Associate SID

BATON ROUGE -- For the 12th straight season, the LSU women's basketball team has punched its ticket into "March Madness" as the Lady Tigers received a No. 7 seed in the Memphis Regional and will travel to Durham, N.C., to face 10th-seeded Hartford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 11:06 a.m. CDT Saturday in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

LSU (20-9) and Hartford (27-4) tipoff the first game of the entire tournament. No. 2 seed and host Duke (27-5) takes on No. 15 seed Hampton (24-8) approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1.

Both games will be televised live on ESPN2 and on The LSU-Hartford contest will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network in the Baton Rouge area on 107.3 FM.

Monday's second round game will be played at 6 p.m. CDT/7 p.m. EDT also on ESPN2. The Memphis Regional features No. 1 seed Tennessee, who is hosting first and second round games at Thompson-Boling Arena.

LSU season ticket holders can purchase ticket books by noon on Tuesday. Tickets can be purchased at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office located on the first floor of the Athletic Administration Building. Tickets can also be purchased online at or by calling 1-800-960-TKTS or 225-578-2184.

LSU has reached at least the second round of the tournament 11 straight seasons. Five of them have ended at the Final Four. No school in America has reached more NCAA Division I Final Fours since 2004. 

Last season, LSU defeated Green Bay in the first round before losing to eventual national championship game participant Louisville in the second round at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Lady Tigers have played their last two first and second rounds in Baton Rouge, but this season LSU will be on the road for the first time since heading to Austin, Texas, in 2007.

LSU drew a seven seed for the first time in its NCAA Tournament history. The Lady Tigers were a six seed in 2009. LSU and Hartford are meeting for just the second time. The Lady Tigers defeated the Hawks, 59-57, in the Dial Classic in Tallahassee, Fla., on Dec. 4, 1993. It will also be the first time LSU has played a game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

LSU, ranked 22nd in the Associated Press Top 25, is making its 20th overall NCAA Tournament berth, and the Lady Tigers are 37-19 all-time in 19 previous appearances. The 12th straight trip is the third longest streak in the SEC.

The Lady Tigers are led by All-American candidate and All-SEC first-teamer Allison Hightower. Hightower has lived up to her preseason hype, leading LSU in points (18.5 ppg), minutes played (32.3 mpg), steals (2.1 spg) and 3-point field goal percentage (39.6). The senior ranks second in the SEC in scoring, fourth in 3-point field goal percentage and sixth in steals. Hightower is a candidate for the State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and John Wooden Award.

Sophomore forward LaSondra Barrett followed up her SEC Freshman of the Year season with second-team All-SEC honors. Barrett scores 12.6 points per contest and is tops on the team in rebounding with a 6.7 average.

Hall of Fame head coach Van Chancellor has guided LSU to the NCAA Tournament for now the third time, including a Final Four appearance in 2008. Chancellor, in his 22nd year overall, is making his 17th all-time tournament appearance. He led Ole Miss to 14 NCAA postseasons in 19 seasons with the Rebels.

Hartford, ranked 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and 25th in the Associated Press Top 25, claimed the America East regular season title with a perfect 16-0 record. They feature the America East Player of the Year Diana Delva, who averages 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

The Hawks had won 20 games in a row before losing to Vermont in the America East Conference championship game by a score of 55-50. Hartford held Vermont to 18 percent shooting in the second half of that contest, and despite the loss the Hawks earned an at-large seed for the first time in program history.

LSU, meanwhile, is making an appearance as an at-large seed for the 18th time in program history.

A complete transcript from Coach Chancellor and LSU players is below:

LSU Women's Basketball NCAA Selection Show
March 15, 2010

Head Coach Van Chancellor

Opening statement...
"As the bracket unfolded and I saw Georgia in the fifth slot, I knew we were going below fifth.  When I saw UCLA go to eighth, I thought we would go to sixth. I was really surprised that Georgia Tech went on the sixth row. Hartford is coached by one of my former WNBA players Jennifer Rizzotti. She played for me in the Olympics and in Houston when I was with the Comets. Hartford's going to be a very hard-nosed team. They're going to reflect Jennifer's personality. That will be a great challenge for us."

On being part of only first round top-25 matchup in the NCAA Tournament...
"It is a matchup between two top-25 teams, but that also means that LSU has an opportunity."

On potentially playing Duke in its own arena and the environment of that game...
"I've got too much trouble trying to beat Hartford right now. Duke is tough to beat in a neutral site much less at home. That's a tough place to play. I think it would be a great environment. They would have a sellout, and it would be a wonderful time."

On preparing his team for Hartford...
"We're going to tell our team that they better be ready to play because I know what they're like. I've seen them play before. They're hard-nosed and going to shoot the ball well.  They aren't going to turn over the ball much. They aren't going to make a lot of mistakes. They're going to play really smart."

On LSU's bracket...
"You have to like the bracket because there isn't anything you can do about it. I thought we were in that six/seven range. I also felt that in the six/seven range you couldn't play Xavier because you've played them before. That left you with Duke, Notre Dame, Florida State and Oklahoma. The odds of you going on the road and playing somebody at home are down to four out of seven."

On long break before Tournament begins...
"The break is good. I'm one of those guys that really likes it. It gives us longer to prepare, and it also gives us a mental break. It gives us an emotional break. We were off two days and had the best practice today than we've had in six weeks.

On disappointments this season...
"There were some disappointments this season, but there were also some highlights. We were hard-pressed to get in to this tournament at one point, but we then beat Auburn, Arkansas and Florida. Vanderbilt and Mississippi State came to town, and we jumped all over them."

On number of SEC teams competing in NCAA Tournament...
"There are six teams in the league. If Ole Miss wins one more game, there are seven. If I'm not mistaken, all six teams in the SEC were seeded on the sixth line or higher. These weren't six teams where three of them were down on the tenth row."

On improvements before NCAA Tournament...
"We need help in some areas besides scoring. We need to work on the ball. We need to defend."  

Guard Allison Hightower

On seeing their first-round matchup against Hartford revealed...
"I got nervous, just because it took us awhile to get our name called out. I'm just excited and I'm trying to get ready to play. They're a great team, and we're just going to have to come ready to play."

On what she knows about Hartford...
"I don't know much about them this year, but I know that in past years they've been a very, very good team - aggressive, always hustle, and always does the little things. They were a great shooting team last time I saw them."

On having six SEC teams make the NCAA Tournament...
"The SEC is full of competition. To play in the SEC is like a compliment. I think that the SEC just gets us prepared for stuff like this - the postseason and the NCAA Tournament."

On playing in Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium...
"I've never played there before. I know their gym is different, but I'm just excited and ready to play, as well as everybody else."

On whether this is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean...
"I think we can. It's just all about preparation. Coach said we had a great practice today and we've just got to continue to have it tomorrow and the rest of the week so we can prepare and compete at the highest level."

On using her tournament experience to help her teammates...
"We've had experience with playing last year as well. This time we'll be on the road, so you've got to show up every night ready to play. We've got to be focused and we've got to want it, and I think if we do that we'll be in great shape."

Forward LaSondra Barrett

On having to wait for their seeding to be announced...
"There was a little bit of nerves because we kept looking at each other thinking 'OK, here we go now,' and our name wouldn't be called. We knew we were coming up soon and just to see our name called was a big relief."

On being aware of LSU's past success in the tournament...
"When you see all these honors and accomplishments that other players have done, you want to continue to carry on their legacy. Just to see that we've made it again and continued the legacy, we're very proud of it."

Guard Katherine Graham

On if she's seen Hartford play yet...
"Not right now, but I'm sure tomorrow we'll get scouting reports and DVDs and just start breaking down film and taking it from there."

On what they'll tell the freshmen about playing in the NCAA Tournament...
"It's just another game. Go out there and play like we've been practicing the past couple days and past couple weeks and just continue to get better and take it one game at a time rather than looking ahead."

On a potential second round matchup against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium...
"It's exciting. I've never been there and never played there before. I'm definitely looking forward to going up there."

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Pairings 

Sacramento Region

Stanford, Calif. (Maples Pavilion)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(1) Stanford vs. (16) UC Riverwide, 9:30 p.m. ESPN2
(8) Iowa vs. (9) Rutgers, 7:16 p.m. ESPN2

Tempe, Ariz. (Wells Fargo Arena)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(5) Georgia vs. (12) Tulane, 9:30 p.m. ESPN2
(4) Oklahoma St. vs. (13) Chattanooga, 7:11 p.m. ESPN2

Cincinnati, Ohio (Cintas Center)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(6) Vanderbilt vs. (11) DePaul, 11:11 a.m. ESPN2
(3) Xavier vs. (14) East Tennessee St., 1:30 p.m. ESPN

Seattle, Wash. (Bank of America Arena)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(7) Gonzaga vs. (10) North Carolina, 9:30 p.m. ESPN2
(2) Texas A&M vs. (15) Portland St., 7:06 p.m. ESPN2

Kansas City Region

Minneapolis, Minn. (Williams Arena)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(1) Nebraska vs. (16) Northern Iowa, 6:06 p.m. ESPN2
(8) UCLA vs. (9) NC State, 8:30 p.m. ESPN2

Louisville, Ky. (Freedom Hall)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(5) Michigan St. vs. (12) Bowling Green, 11:11 a.m. ESPN2
(4) Kentucky vs. (13) Liberty, 1:30 p.m. ESPN2

Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(6) Georgia Tech vs. Arkansas-Little Rock, 6:16 p.m. ESPN2
(3) Oklahoma vs. (14) South Dakota St., 8:30 p.m. ESPN2

Notre Dame, Ind. (Joyce Center)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(7) Wisconsin vs. (10) Vermont, 11:21 a.m. ESPN2
(2) Notre Dame vs. (15) Cleveland St., 1:30 p.m. ESPN

Memphis Region

Knoxville, Tenn. (Thompson-Boling Arena)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(1) Tennessee vs. (16) Austin Peay, 11:16 a.m. ESPN2
(8) Dayton vs. (9) TCU, 1:30 p.m. ESPN2

Berkeley, Calif. (Haas Pavilion)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(5) Georgetown vs. Marist, 7:21 p.m. ESPN2
(4) Baylor vs. (13) Fresno St., 9:30 p.m. ESPN2

Austin, Texas (Frank Erwin Center)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(6) Texas vs. (11) San Diego St., 6:11 p.m. ESPN2
(3) West Virginia vs. (14) Lamar, 8:30 p.m. ESPN2

Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(7) LSU vs. (10) Hartford (27-4), 11:06 a.m. ESPN2
(2) Duke vs. (15) Hampton, 1:30 p.m. ESPN2

Dayton Region

Norfolk, Va. (Ted Constant Convocation Center)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(1) Connecticut vs. (16) Southern, 11:16 a.m. ESPN2
(8) Temple vs. (9) James Madison, 1:30 p.m. ESPN

Ames, Iowa (James H. Hilton Coliseum)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(5) Virginia vs. (12) Green Bay, 6:21 p.m. ESPN2
(4) Iowa St. vs. (13) Lehigh, 8:30 p.m. ESPN2

Tallahassee, Fla. (Donald L. Tucker Center)
March 20 and 22, 2010
(6) St. John's vs. (11) Princeton, 11:21 a.m. ESPN2
(3) Florida St. vs. (14) Louisiana Tech, 1:30 p.m. ESPN2

Pittsburgh, Pa. (Petersen Events Center)
March 21 and 23, 2010
(7) Mississippi St. vs. (10) Middle Tennessee, 1:30 p.m. ESPN
(2) Ohio St. vs. (15) St. Francis (PA), 11:06 a.m. ESPN2


March 27 and 29. 2010
Memphis Regional
Memphis, Tennessee

Sacramento Regional
ARCO Arena
Sacramento, California

March 28 and 30, 2010
Dayton Regional
University of Dayton Arena
Dayton, Ohio

Kansas City Regional
Sprint Center
Kansas City, Missouri

Women's Final Four
April 4 and 6, 2010
San Antonio, Texas




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