Lady Tigers Open SEC Road Swing at Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The No. 14 LSU women’s basketball team embarks on its only two-game SEC road weekend of the season and squares off with Missouri Thursday at Mizzou Arena.
Tip time is slated for 7 p.m., and there’s no television for the game. The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Live audio also will be available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, has the radio call.
LSU (13-3, 2-1 SEC) is coming off an 82-68 victory over Florida which snapped the Gators nine-game winning streak. The Lady Tigers buried 32 field goals and produced a 44 percent shooting ratio after being held to season-lows in both categories during the Texas A&M game on Jan. 9.
LSU has had 10 players provide points during seven of its 15 games. During the Florida game, the Lady Tigers led wire-to-wire and were up by as much as 19 points. LSU turned to its bench to regain the momentum when the Gators cut the advantage down to eight points midway through the second half. For the season, the Lady Tigers have eight players that average double digit minutes and four-plus points per game.
“Our bench is huge for us,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “We want to make sure we can tap into the depth that we have. It gives us a chance to know that even though we have a long season ahead of us, you can’t just key in on one player or one combination on our team. In different games, different players have stepped up coming off the bench. Anne Pedersen has done a really great job for us not only knocking down shots but being solid defensively. Jasmine Rhodes has done a lot of nice things. At the beginning of the year, Rina Hill was our starting point guard. Everybody contributes to our team. If we can keep that mentality to come in and spark our team, we’ll be fine.”
Theresa Plaisance has pumped in a team-leading 13.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. She has reeled off six consecutive 10-plus scoring efforts and equaled her season-high with 19 points against Florida. The New Orleans native heads into the Missouri game nine points away from becoming the 31st member of LSU’s 1,000 points club.
Raigyne Moncrief is the only player to start all 16 games for the Lady Tigers this season. She has tacked on 11.2 points per game but has been held out of double figures in LSU’s last four games. Moncrief has found other ways to contribute and matched a season-high with nine rebounds during the Florida win.
Jeanne Kenney has provided 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Her next three-pointer will be the 100th triple for her career. Last time out, Kenney handed out a career-best 10 assists against Florida. The last time a LSU player distributed 10 assists was Katherine Graham versus Ole Miss during the 2009-10 season.
Last time out, Danielle Ballard picked up her first career-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds against Florida. Her season averages are 9.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Ballard has ripped off four of her five 10-plus scoring performances over her eight starts this season.
“We’re seeing the complete package that Danielle can offer us,” Caldwell said. “Not only has she been in the gym, she’s been able to connect on that mid-range shot. She also knows how to get to the basket, but more importantly, she’s been able to become one of the best offensive rebounding guards in the country. When she goes (to crash the boards), she typically will come up with a little put back or something positive will come from that.”
Over LSU’s last four games, DaShawn Harden has secured 58.3 percent of the bench points for the Lady Tigers. She has put together 10.5 points per game with nine of her 14 baskets coming from three-point territory during that stretch.
Shanece McKinney has pieced together 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Her 10 points during the Florida game was her highest scoring output since the Indiana State contest on Dec. 3.
Prior to last season’s first meeting as SEC rivals, LSU and Missouri hadn’t met on the hardwood since the 1989-90 season. LSU has won three of the five all-time meetings and emerged with a 78-74 overtime victory last season. The Lady Tigers had four players notch double figures fueled by Plaisance’s 21 points. Adrienne Webb (18 points), Bianca Lutley (15 points) and McKinney (12 points) also secured 10-plus points for LSU.
Missouri (13-4, 2-2 SEC) has split its four SEC contests defeating Ole Miss and Georgia, while falling to Arkansas and Kentucky. The loss to the Razorbacks is Mizzou’s only home of the 2013-14 season. As a team, the Tigers have connected on a SEC-leading 10.1 three-pointers per game and posted a SEC-best 78.8 free throw percentage.
Bri Kulas leads the way with 18.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Her 18.7 points per contest are good enough for second place whereas Kulas’ 47.3 field goal percentage is fourth on the SEC lists. She has upped her mark to a SEC-leading 23.8 points per contest during league games. Mizzou also receives key contributions via Morgan Eye’s 11.9 points per game, Jordan Frericks’ 8.0 rebounds per game and Lianna Doty’s 5.6 assists per game.
“We’re going to stay true to our defensive scheme,” Caldwell said. “We know that Kulas and Eye do a nice job of stretching the defense. They’ve got shooters and players that can make three’s – they make about 10 a game. We have to have great awareness of where they are at all times on the floor.”
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.