BATON ROUGE – The No. 12 LSU women’s basketball team returns to SEC action and opens the home portion of its conference schedule Thursday when Texas A&M visits the Maravich Center for the program’s annual “Gold Game.”
Thursday’s tip time is slated for 6 p.m. and will be carried by Cox Sports Television with Lyn Rollins and Victor Howell set to call the action. The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Live video and live audio also will be available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, along with Jeff Palermo will have the radio call.
Tickets are on-sale at http://www.lsutix.net/ starting as low as $2. Fans can purchase $2 tickets at the Maravich Center Box Office if they are wearing gold. The Texas A&M game is the second of a four-game $20 holiday package which also includes a 200-level reserved ticket to LSU’s next two home games versus Florida (Jan. 12) and Auburn (Jan. 23).
The first 1,500 fans to Thursday’s tilt will add a long-sleeved “Earn the Gold” t-shirt to its collection. There will be three pickup areas inside the arena for the t-shirts in the main concourse Fan Zone outside of Portal F and the Lower Southwest Tunnel in addition to the Legends Club for Lady Tiger Elite members.
Last time out, LSU (12-2, 1-0 SEC) led wire-to-wire during a dominating 63-35 victory over Tulane. It was the Lady Tigers third consecutive win, and the 35 points allowed were tied for the second-fewest in the Nikki Caldwell era. The 11 field goals made by the Green Wave also were tied for third-lowest total for an opponent under Caldwell.
“We talked about carrying that effort and focus we had in Knoxville (against Tennessee) into the Tulane game,” Caldwell said. “We don’t want to be that team that only wakes up for a team that has a number in front of their name. I think our team did a great job of really defensively taking the game plan and executing it.”
Theresa Plaisance has turned in team-highs with 13.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She registered 15 points and 14 rebounds at Tulane to claim her third double-double of the season. The New Orleans native has pieced together 10-plus points in four consecutive games and six of her last seven outings since the Indiana State game on Dec. 3.
Raigyne Moncrief has pumped in 11.9 points per game which ranks third among SEC freshmen. She also has garnered 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game. The 2.4 steals are fifth in the SEC. Moncrief has been limited to under 10 points in back-to-back outings for the first time this season.
Jeanne Kenney has picked up her scoring especially from a three-point territory. The senior guard is averaging 17.5 points and canned 16 triples over her last four games. She also has handed out 4.75 assists per game during that stretch and her five dimes at Tulane enabled Kenney to surpass 300 for her career.
Over her last two games, DaShawn Harden has notched 14.0 points per game to provide a spark off the bench. She has gone 9-for-17 from the field highlighted by seven triples. It marks the first time since the first two games of the season that Harden has scored in double figures in back-to-back games.
Danielle Ballard has come away with a balanced 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. She has started in all three games of LSU’s current winning streak and started SEC action with a 25-point performance to fuel the Lady Tigers 80-77 victory over then No. 5 Tennessee.
“I hope that they take everything that they’ve been working for in the offseason and really putting into play right now because this is when it counts,” Caldwell said. “We understand the road that is ahead of us and the competitive nature of playing in the SEC. On any given night, someone can beat or upset. We also understand what playing as a team is really about. It’s about playing unselfish and doing the little things that don’t show up in the box score.”
Texas A&M (11-4, 1-0 SEC) has connected four straight wins and secured a 73-58 victory over Alabama during its SEC opener on Sunday. The Aggies are being fueled by Courtney Williams’ 12.9 points and Courtney Walker’s 12.6 points per game. Karla Gilbert has chipped in 10.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, while Jordan Jones has compiled 5.7 points, 6.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
Williams poured in 23 points en route to her fourth consecutive 20-point outing whereas Achiri Ade tacked on 21 points on a spotless 8-for-8 from the floor and hauled in 12 rebounds against the Crimson Tide.
“They have different players that can score the basketball,” Caldwell said. “They’re very explosive in the open court so taking care of the basketball is going to be key. Defensively, they can really get after you and turn you over. They like to get in the passing lanes and things like that. We’ve got another tough opponent coming here on Thursday. It’s one game after another in the SEC, and we just have to take it one game at a time.”
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuwbkb along with @lsuwbkb and @nikkicaldwell on Twitter.