BATON ROUGE -- ESPN.com women's basketball bracketologist and writer Charlie Creme has released his early preseason rankings for the 2011-12 season and the LSU Lady Tigers are ranked 20th in his top 25 poll.
Creme said the following about the Lady Tigers:
"...new coach Nikki Caldwell will bring a new energy to a group of returnees that includes top scorers Adrienne Webb and LaSondra Barrett. Caldwell's UCLA teams always defended well and the Lady Tigers had no trouble stopping teams, making this a good match from that perspective."
LSU is the fourth-highest ranked SEC team in his poll. Tennessee (2), Georgia (13) and Kentucky (15) are all ranked in his poll.
Caldwell takes over an LSU team that finished 19-13 overall, 8-8 in Southeastern Conference play and just missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth. LSU led the SEC in scoring defense for the seventh straight season, allowing only 52.9 points per game.
Webb led the Lady Tigers with 12.8 points per contest and earned second-team All-SEC honors. Barrett has been LSU's leading rebounder in every season of her career. She posted 12.2 points and a team-best 6.3 boards per game while earning State Farm Coaches' Honorable Mention and first-team All-SEC honors as a junior.
Barrett has produced nine games of 20 or more points during her career to go along with 11 double-doubles. She heads into her senior season as the 23rd all-time leading scorer in LSU history with 1,118 points and the 16th all-time leading rebounder with 571 boards.
Caldwell will enter her first season at LSU after turning UCLA into a national contender in three seasons with a 72-26 record and a 40-14 mark in Pac-10 Conference play. The Bruins spent most of the 2010-11 season ranked in the top 10 and finished with a 28-5 record after an NCAA Tournament second round appearance.
In Caldwell's final season at UCLA, the Bruins set school records for regular season victories (26), Pac-10 wins (16), road victories (10) and scoring defense (55.3 ppg). Caldwell also served as an assistant coach at Tennessee for six years, which included national championships in 2007 and 2008.
Season tickets for the 2011-12 LSU women's basketball season are now on sale on www.LSUtix.net or by phone at (225) 578-2184. Season tickets start as low as $50.
Here is a look at Charlie Creme's very early 2011-12 ESPN.com preseason rankings:
3. Notre Dame
4. Texas A&M
10. Florida State
14. Penn State
18. North Carolina
22. Michigan State
24. Southern Cal
25. St. John's