BATON ROUGE – It’s been 16 days since the LSU women’s basketball team last took the floor in a game. The long, anticipated wait is now officially over as “March Madness” in the Maravich Center gets underway Sunday when the No. 6 seed Lady Tigers take on No. 11 seed Green Bay in the NCAA Tournament first round at approximately 6:30 p.m. CT.
No. 3 seed Penn State plays No. 14 seed Cal Poly in the first contest at 4:15 p.m. CT. Both games will be televised on ESPN2, ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN App on tablets. The two winners face off in the second round at 8:30 p.m. CT Tuesday for the right to go to the Sweet 16.
Fans can purchase tickets at www.LSUtix.net. On gameday, the Maravich Center box office on the upper ramp opens at 2:30 p.m. All-session ticket books for adults are $25 and $15 for youth. That price includes a ticket of admission to both first round contests and the second round game.
In addition, single-session tickets, allowing admission into either both first round games or the second round game only, are available. Single-session tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth.
All LSU students with a valid university ID are admitted free of charge and there will be free pizza for LSU students as well.
LSU (20-11) returns to the friendly confines of the Maravich Center where it is 13-3 this season and 14-3 all-time in NCAA contests. The Lady Tigers, making their 22nd all-time NCAA appearance, also own a 14-game first round winning streak that dates back to 1997.
Head coach Nikki Caldwell put the team through a 90-minute workout on Saturday, and she reflected on how the team has established its identity with wins in seven of its last eight games.
“There was a period during this season where we could have tanked,” she said. “They stayed the course. They matured. They grew together, and we're just grateful to be able to come out and practice today. I've been around for a while where you can't read too much into the bracket. You just need to read into your team. What is in our control is how hard we are going to come out and play tomorrow, what's going to be our attitude? Are we going to have the spirit of a warrior?”
To continue its first round success, LSU will have to do it against one of the nation’s hottest teams. Green Bay (29-2), ranked 20th in both the Associated Press and Coaches poll, has won 24 consecutive games and lost only four games in the past two seasons. All four of the Phoenix seniors have reached the NCAA Tournament in all four years of their careers.
“They're a well coached team,” said Caldwell. “You don't win consecutive games, 20 plus in a row and not be well coached and prepared. Two losses on the year, that's a pretty impressive record. They've got a team which we have seen similar style of play when we played Florida Gulf Coast and Missouri. They can shoot the three ball. We've got to be aware of that with the match up zone, we're going to have to extend our bigs.”
Sunday’s game features a contrasting matchup with LSU’s size against the outstanding guards and three-point shooting of Green Bay. The Phoenix is annually among the nation’s leaders in scoring defense. This season has been no different as they are allowing only 48.1 points per game. Only twice this season has an opponent scored over 60 points on them.
They are led by senior guard Adrian Ritchie who is putting up 14.2 points per contest and connected for 70 threes on the year.
LSU’s balanced attack is led by junior forward Theresa Plaisance. Plaisance, a first-team All-SEC recipient, takes a streak of 30 consecutive double-figure scoring games into Sunday and she is averaging a team-best 17.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Adrienne Webb begins the final March run of her career. Webb is seventh in the SEC in scoring with 14.1 points per game. Freshman guard Danielle Ballard is just one steal shy of becoming the LSU single-season steals king. She owns 93 on the year.
LSU is 2-0 all-time against Green Bay with both meetings having occurred in the NCAA Tournament. The two last met in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament as LSU won by a score of 69-59 in Baton Rouge.