BATON ROUGE - Junior forward LaSondra Barrett scored all 20 of her points in the second half and added 10 rebounds for her ninth career double-double as the LSU women's basketball team smothered Alabama, 72-43, for their first Southeastern Conference victory on Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Tigers (11-6, 1-2) snapped an 0-2 start to SEC play with a convincing effort from the start, outscoring the Crimson Tide 8-0 in the first six minutes. LSU was coming off a tough loss at South Carolina, but the effects showed little on Sunday as the Lady Tigers improved to 54-5 under head coach Van Chancellor when holding a team under 50 points.
Alabama (11-5, 0-3) dropped its third consecutive game and its 12th straight to LSU. Eleven of the 12 games were of the double-digit margin and the Tide remained winless in Baton Rouge since 1998.
Alabama forward Tierney Jenkins, the national leader in double-doubles with 11, was held to only four points on 1-of-12 shooting. Jenkins came into the contest averaging an SEC-best 18.3 points per game. She had scored in double-figures in every game this season prior to Sunday's loss.
"If there was ever a team that needed a win, the Lady Tigers needed to win," said Chancellor. "I thought defensively, that's the best defense we've played all year against a team that is really difficult for us to defend. We did a nice job on (Tierney) Jenkins, the leading scorer in this league. I thought Taylor Turnbow was pretty good there. We rebounded the ball better today than we have all year. We were really dominant on the boards."
Barrett continued her recent scoring spree and it came after she shrugged off an 0-for-3 first half. She finished 7-of-15 from the floor and became the first Lady Tiger since Allison Hightower last season to register back-to-back 20-point games.
Alabama missed its first 11 shots and it helped Turnbow and Katherine Graham build an 8-0 lead for the Lady Tigers. Webb then scored eight straight points highlighted by a pair of threes to increase the advantage to 16-4. Kenney got in on the action with lay-up and a jumper that made it 20-4 with 8:17 left in the first half.
The Tide went the first 13 minutes with only two field goals by freshman Kaneisha Horn. They finally got back on the scoreboard when Ericka Russell nailed a trey from the top of the key with 6:30 left in the half. LSU led 25-13 at the break. It represented the second-fewest points by an opponent in the first half on the Lady Tigers this season.
LSU padded the lead with a 14-0 run in the first seven minutes of the second stanza. That's when Barrett came alive with seven points during the spurt. LSU outscored the Tide, 20-2, in the first 10 minutes that sealed the Lady Tigers' first SEC win of the season. Barrett and Webb put the finishing touches on with threes on consecutive possessions down the floor.
"We just became a smarter team," said Chancellor. "We have an All-SEC player (Barrett); we just got her the ball more. It's what we should have done in the first half. We didn't get her enough touches. We changed the offense a little bit."
LSU shot 51.6 percent in the second half and finished at 37.0 percent (10-of-27) for the game. The Tide struggled at 24.6 percent for the game, including a 16.7 percent effort in the first 20 minutes. Horn finished with a team-high 13 points.
LSU plays its next two SEC games on the road starting at 7 p.m. CT Thursday at Mississippi State. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net South/Southwest affiliates.
LSU HEAD COACH VAN CHANCELLOR
"If there was ever a team that needed a win, the Lady Tigers needed to win. I thought defensively, that's the best defense we've played all year against a team that is really difficult for us to defend. I thought we did a nice job on (Tierney) Jenkins, the leading scorer in this league. I thought Taylor Turnbow was pretty good there. We rebounded the ball better today than we have all year. We were really dominant on the boards. If there was anything I would have liked to have done fewer of was to turn the ball over. I thought we shot the ball pretty good. We executed really well. When you consider we turned the ball over 20 times, that would make our defense really outstanding."
On getting the ball more to LaSondra Barrett in the second half...
"We just became a smarter team. We have an All-SEC player; we just got her the ball more. It's what we should have done in the first half. We didn't get her enough touches. We changed the offense a little bit. We would run a play called 'Boston,' and we just switched sides with her and got her the ball more."
On guard Adrienne Webb...
"I thought Adrienne Webb's offense was outstanding, but I also thought her defense on Ericka Russell (was outstanding). Ericka Russell has been a thorn in our side for two years now, and I thought that Webb did a nice job on her."
On when Alabama made a run early in the second half...
"We talk all the time about the start of the second half. Alabama has good players. (Kaneisha) Horn is a really good player. She makes some really good plays. They cut it down to six, and before I could call a timeout, we scored if you want to know the truth. When we scored, I sat back down, and then, they turned it over, and we went back up 11. I came that close to calling a timeout, and it's not that I didn't want to take a timeout. I didn't want it to be cut to four because of the pressure, but we ran this play we talked about between 'Boogie' and (Katherine) Graham, and Graham drove baseline and made a shot to bring it (the lead) back to eight. Then, we got fouled and made a two-pointer to get it to 10, and I just let it ride. Then, our defense really tightened up."
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
On her eight points during the 13-0 run in the first half ...
"I was feeling good. I think that we were getting stops on the other end which converted to us getting baskets on our end. With the rebounds we were pushing the ball to get fast break points and if we didn't get those we would fall into our offense. It was on Taylor (Tunrbow), LaSondra (Barrett), Courtney (Jones) and anybody who was screening, and everybody was making cuts and they were finding the open person. At that time I just knocked down the open shot."
On the great defense in the first half ...
"We knew we had to come out and play and it started on the defensive end. That led to our offense. So by stopping their primary players and frustrating them it started our run into getting that lead."
On limiting Alabama's Tierney Jenkins offense ...
"She is a good player and she scores well, so coaches told us we have to guard her. That is what we did as a team. We had help from the weak side and we were boxing out, so we didn't pretty well with execution on defense."
On how important it was to get the SEC win at home ...
"We were focused on playing well today, especially because it is alumni weekend and we have a lot of former players here today watching us play. We wanted to put on a show for them as well as getting our first SEC win. We were really focused on playing hard and playing well for the people before us as well as our first win."
On what the difference was in the second half that led to her scoring ...
"I was just a little more aggressive. My teammates were looking for me a little more and I just finished."
On the big SEC win ...
"It was a really big win. We didn't want this loss at home and we wanted to get a win after going 0-2. Maybe this will light a fire under us and we can start a winning streak."