Lady Tigers Win Fourth-Straight at Pack the PMAC 15

LSU's Courtney Jones
LSU's Courtney Jones
Steve Franz
Bill Martin (@LSUBillMartin)
Bill Martin (@LSUBillMartin)
Associate SID

BATON ROUGE -- Courtney Jones erupted for 18 points and Katherine Graham had a double-double with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds as the LSU women's basketball team outmuscled Louisiana Tech with a 68-53 win in Pack the PMAC 15 on Sunday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Since sitting at the .500 mark following the loss to top-ranked Connecticut on Nov. 28, the Lady Tigers (8-4) won their fourth in a row by a double-digit margin. LSU once again did it on the defensive end, holding the Lady Techsters to a season-low 27.9 percent from the floor. Their previous season low was 31.8 percent at Missouri State.

"That is a big win for us," said LSU head coach Van Chancellor. "That is a win I've been searching for all year, a win that showed some toughness, a win that showed we can overcome a lot of things.

"It's one of the few times in my career where I left the court and went straight to the locker room. I usually go to the coaches' waiting room, but I went straight to the locker room to tell them how proud I was of them. We beat a good team tonight that had been playing well."

Louisiana Tech (6-4) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end. They also lost their sixth straight game to LSU. The Lady Techsters have not beaten their in-state rival since a 73-52 win in the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Chancellor improved to 17-1 all-time against Louisiana schools during his tenure at LSU.

Jones scored 11 of her season-high 17 points in a dominant and physical second half. She finished 7-of-8 from the floor and was a career-best 4-of-4 from three-point range.

Graham registered the fifth double-double of her career and first this season. LaSondra Barrett scored in double-figures for the sixth straight game with 11 points and eight boards. Latear Eason was efficient with four points, five assists and a game-high three steals.

"I thought Courtney Jones was outstanding tonight," Chancellor said. "I thought that Katherine Graham was outstanding. Both of them were the difference in our team."

The in-state rivalry turned out to be a very physical game. Four technical fouls were called and tempers flared when both Jones and Tech's Adrienne Johnson were involved in a skirmish with LSU leading 45-37 in the second half. Kiara Young pulled the Lady Techsters to within six on a layup, but Jones swished one of her four treys from the top of the key.

Young made two free throws to get it to six, but Eason drained a three of her own and Jones followed with another that lifted the lead back to double-digits, 54-43, with 5:02 left in the game. Graham, who was 7-of-10 from the free throw line, buried two free throws to culminate a quick 8-0 run that ultimately decided the game.

"That kind of ignited us," Chancellor said. "We played with emotion. We came down and scored. Courtney Jones makes a three. It was a great way to finish a game."

Jones fired in another three and Barrett and Graham added lay-ups to give the Lady Tigers their largest lead at 66-47 with 1:59 left in the game.

LSU out-rebounded Tech, 43-34, and they converted 13 second-chance points. LSU shot 44.2 percent for the game.

Johnson, who averaged over 20 points per contest, led Louisiana Tech with 17 points.

The Lady Tigers jumped out to a 35-22 lead at halftime. Graham had 13 points in the first stanza and she scored the final seven points of the half. She buried a jumper in the final seconds to give LSU its 13-point advantage.

The Lady Tigers close a stretch of four home games in eight days at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday when Prairie View visits the Maravich Center.LSU HEAD COACH VAN CHANCELLOR

Opening statement...
"That is a big win for us. That is a win I've been searching for all year, a win that showed some toughness, a win that showed we can overcome a lot of things. We reached a point where we couldn't score; we overcame that. We had two starters in foul trouble; we overcame that. They showed me some toughness. They cut the score down to five, and we did a good job of finding a way to win. I thought Courtney Jones was outstanding tonight. I thought that Katherine Graham was outstanding. I thought both of them were the difference in our team. It's a great win for us, one of the few times in my career where I left the court and went straight to the locker room. I usually go to the coaches' waiting room, but I went straight to the locker room to tell them how proud I was of them. We beat a good team tonight that had been playing well."

On if the on-court 'scrum' ignited the team...
"After that play happened, that's what I was excited about. We just ignited, we just played, we just began to play well and execute. That kind of ignited us. That kind of made us mad. We came down and scored. Courtney Jones came down and made a three. It was a great way to finish a game."

On shooting the ball well...
"When we shoot the ball well, we're going to have a nice team. Courtney comes in tonight and is 7-for-8, 4-for-4 (from three-point range) and has five rebounds. That's just the difference. In the first half, we struggled a little bit from the three-ball line. Then we begin to shoot it six out of 10, and then we shoot 44 percent in the second half. We have to shoot the ball because we are not a really big team, but this is a great sign that we kind of turned this thing around now. We are beginning to play some really good basketball. We were just dominant on the boards. I was a little disappointed that we fouled too much. The one thing that we have not done a very good job of this year is we went the first half defending without fouling, but then in the second half, we just couldn't stay away from it."

On if this was the most physical game this year...
"I don't think there is any doubt. That was the most physical game I've been in the past two years."


G Katherine Graham

On finishing the game strong ...
"That is one of the things we have been working on since the offseason is just finishing. I think by doing that and setting the tone in preseason and in practice, I think that is what helped carry over into the game and helped finish out the last seven minutes strong. I think that was a big part of why we finished well."

On Louisiana Tech cutting the lead to five late in the game ...
"Any good team is going to make runs and we understood that. (Louisiana) Tech is a great team that is capable of making big runs. What we wanted to do is just contain those runs, and when they made their run we had to refocus, come together and just play more together as a team instead of getting frustrated with different things that happen in the game."

On the intensity and physicality of the game ...
"I think both teams just came in very competitive and wanted to win. That's the physicality. Basketball isn't a soft sport. You have to be physical in some manner to play the sport. I think both teams wanted to win and compete and that is where the physicality came in. They have been playing really well the past few games and we understood they were coming in hot. They just won a game against Tulane, so we knew they would come in fired up because we felt like they could beat us. We just wanted to come in and establish our defensive principles and come in and show them that we are LSU."

F Courtney Jones

On LSU pulling away after Louisiana Tech cut the lead to five ...
"We just had to refocus and just stick together. That is what we always talk about is keeping each other up. Just don't get down if you are not making shots, if the refs are not calling the game fair, or if you are just not feeling it. We just had to get together and just win the game.

On the double technical scuffle in the second half ...
"I just want to apologize to everyone, the fans, my coaches and my teammates. That is so out of character for me. I was already kind of frustrated throughout the game and I just let the little altercation get to me. I really just want to apologize to Adrienne (Johnson) because we have been playing together for three years now and we should have a better relationship than that."

Louisiana Tech Head Coach Teresa Weatherspoon

Opening Statement ...
"It was a tough game. It was not pleasing to see, watch or be a part of. There were a lot of things that you wish could change."

On the skirmish being the turning point of the game ...
"It doesn't affect us. Referees have to do what they have to do and we just have to play the game. They are going to do what they have to do - stoppage of play, whatever it is. Those are things that can't affect you. Those are things that happen in games and you just have to play the game."

On LSU trying to take (Adrienne) Johnson out of the game ...
"It was what we did offensively. They didn't pressure us at all or take us out of anything that we wanted to do. We just didn't execute at all. We didn't do anything with a sense of urgency or show the tremendous hard work that we put in on a daily basis. It could be some things that you couldn't pinpoint. However, LSU played very well at home and they did a great job of continuing to play hard even when we got the momentum in each half. They stopped our momentum and got their own momentum."

On cutting the lead to five in the second half ...
"If you leave anybody open, they are going to knock it down. If we did switch, we didn't switch hard enough, we didn't switch at the top side or we didn't switch at all. When you leave shooters like they have open, they are going to knock shots down. That's what they did. They took advantage of our mistakes defensively."

On LSU's late run ...
"When you are down by 18 on the road and momentum is going their way and the crowd is in it and they are full of emotion, you have to settle in and try to get a run of your own started. We did a pretty decent job of getting runs started and gaining momentum and emotion and eventually got the lead down to five. But they withheld and got a run of their own going and took advantage of our defensive mistakes.

On the skirmish ...
"It was just athletes being athletes. That is the moment where it just gets hot and heavy. You want to win and you want to protect your teammates. Things like that happen. The important thing is what are you going to do after it happens. Obviously it looked like it kind of fueled their fire and fueled our fire and it was a good game at that time. After that, it went their way the majority of the time because they put forth an enormous amount of energy to get it done."




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