RALEIGH, N.C. – The 12th-ranked LSU women’s basketball team faces one of its toughest tests of the non-conference season as the Lady Tigers take their seven-game winning streak to North Carolina State in a 6 p.m. CT Friday tipoff in Reynolds Coliseum.
LSU’s final game prior to the holiday break can be viewed on ESPN3.com. It can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. The team took a commercial flight to Raleigh on Thursday and practiced later that afternoon in Reynolds Coliseum.
LSU (9-1) extended its winning streak to seven games with a 69-49 victory over Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday night in the Maravich Center. The Lady Tigers have won in a variety of ways during the streak, but LSU’s depth continues to be on constant display. Caldwell can go 11 deep and not over-extend minutes, which has worn teams down. The loss at then-No. 4 Louisville on Nov. 14 remains LSU’s only setback of the season.
“We certainly want to head into the holidays on a positive note,” said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. “We are going to see a team that has great post players. They are quality ACC team that is off to a great start. Our goal is to not give up paint points. We have had different players keep stepping up at different times for us. We have had unbelievable effort from our bench. We can run different looks at our opponent and not miss a beat.”
North Carolina State (10-1) is off to its best start since the 1999-2000 season and is in the midst of a four-game winning streak that has included wins over UCLA and Northwestern. The Wolfpack’s only loss of the season was to Wright State on Nov. 29 in the Gulf Coast Showcase. While Friday will be the Lady Tigers’ third game in six days – two of which have come on the road – NC State will be playing for the first time since defeating Elon 91-51 on Dec. 8.
LSU has four players averaging 9.0 points or better led by freshman Raigyne Moncrief, who is putting up 13.8 points per game. Moncrief is also tops on the team in steals with 26. Senior forward Theresa Plaisance is scoring 12.5 points per contest with a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game. Senior center Shanece McKinney is up to 9.5 points per game with 14 blocks through 10 games.
Senior guard Jeanne Kenney has been outstanding on the defensive boards in the last three games. Kenney has combined for 24 rebounds in the last three games, including 10 in the win over the Eagles on Tuesday.
NC State is led by senior center Markeisha Gatling, who is averaging 14.1 points per game. Gatling also ranks third nationally in field goal percentage at a 70 percent clip.
Friday’s contest is just the second meeting between the two teams. Last season, LSU won in Baton Rouge by a score of 81-73. Plaisance had a career day, pouring in 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the floor. The preseason All-American had 21 points in the first half.