BATON ROUGE - For the 22nd time in program history, the LSU women's basketball team has punched its ticket to "March Madness" as the Lady Tigers drew the sixth seed in the Spokane Region and will play host to No. 11 seed Green Bay (29-2) in the NCAA Tournament first round at approximately 6:30 p.m. CT Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
No. 3 seed Penn State (25-5) takes on No. 14 seed Cal Poly (21-10) in the first contest at 4:15 p.m. CT. The two winners will face off in the second round at 8:30 p.m. CT Tuesday. All three games of the Baton Rouge first and second rounds will be televised live by ESPN2, ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN App on tablets.
All-session ticket books, single-session tickets and group tickets are now on sale at www.LSUtix.net. Fans can also purchase tickets at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office on the first floor of the LSU Athletic Administration Building or by phone at (225) 578-2184.
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 now on sale. Single-session tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth. If your purchase 10 or more tickets, tickets are available for only $5 apiece.
LSU students are admitted free of charge to the games with a valid LSU ID.
In two seasons under head coach Nikki Caldwell, the Lady Tigers (20-11) have produced late-season surges to reach the NCAA Tournament and are playing their best basketball at the right time of the year. LSU heads into the tournament with wins in seven of its last eight games while solidifying its defense down the stretch.
"It is always refreshing to see your name called on selection Monday," said Caldwell. "I am extremely excited about this team and the body of work they have put together to put us in a position to continue to play. We are a team that has gone through a lot, but we are also a team that has rallied and been there for each other and we get to play some more basketball."
The Lady Tigers have one of the Southeastern Conference's most balanced offenses with four players producing double-figure scoring. First-team All-SEC junior forward Theresa Plaisance paces the team with 17.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Plaisance has scored in double-figures in 30 consecutive contests. Senior guard Adrienne Webb is seeking one final tournament run as she averaged 14.1 points per game.
"On the offensive side for us, we go as Theresa Plaisance goes," said Caldwell. "We know that she has got to have the touches and she has to have the looks. More importantly, everyone has to do their part. When we talk about our slogan, "eight is enough," we do feel that eight (players) are enough."
Green Bay and Penn State are familiar with postseason play in the Maravich Center. The Phoenix, champions of the Horizon League and owners of a 24-game winning streak, return to Baton Rouge for the first time since falling to LSU in the 2009 first round. Like that season, both teams are six and 11 seeds this tournament. Green Bay has not lost a game since at Central Michigan on Dec. 5 and they are giving up only 48.1 points per game.
Penn State, ranked eighth in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches poll, eliminated LSU from the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a 90-80 win in the second round in the Maravich Center. The Nittany Lions are led by junior guard Maggie Lucas, who is averaging 20.5 points per game and has made 96 threes on the year. Lucas scored 30 points in the win over LSU last season.
Cal Poly claimed the Big West Conference Tournament over the weekend. They feature Big West Conference Player of the Year Molly Schlemer, who is putting up 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.
The winner of the Baton Rouge site will advance to the regional semifinal in Spokane, Wash., and face the winner of the Lubbock, Texas, site. The 2013 Women's Final Four will be held in New Orleans on April 7 and 9.
NCAA Selection Monday
Head Coach Nikki Caldwell
"It is always refreshing to see your name called on selection Monday. I am extremely excited about this team and the body of work they have put together to put us in a position to continue to play. We are a team that has gone through a lot, but we are also a team that has rallied and been there for each other and we get to play some more basketball."
On tournament philosophy...
"It depends on how you look at streaks and what your philosophy versus NCAA play. There is only going to be one champion crowned. It is zero to zero when you start out with your record. It is six games and what you really look this time of year, it is about who is the tougher team. It is about the more focused team. It is about who gets the loose ball. It is about who can sit in their stance a little lower than they have been. It is about the team that cuts hard and makes the pass and is unselfish. It is about which team at time outs is jogging to the bench as opposed to walking. One thing about our team is we have what it takes and in the same breathe so does Green Bay. We had the opportunity to talk about how you can will your way through a tournament and you may not be the most talented or the biggest, but your heart needs to beat a little bit harder and faster than your opponent."
On the team heading into the tournament...
"On the offensive side for us, we go as Theresa Plaisance goes. We know that she has got to have the touches and she has to have the looks. More importantly, everyone has to do their part. Adrienne Webb and Anne Pedersen have to knock down wide-open shots. If Jeanne Kenney has the opportunity to make plays she needs to do so. Bianca Lutley needs to be ready to play off of the shots and Danielle Ballard really needs to be that player that can do a little bit of everything for us. I like the play of Shanece McKinney. She has been our defensive stopper on the low block and Derreyal Youngblood has come in and given us great minutes. So when we talk about our slogan, "Eight is enough" we do feel that eight is enough."
On Green Bay...
"When you look at Green Bay they are going to be a team that is skilled every year. They are well coached and will have the discipline to run their action. They are a very unselfish team when you look at their assist to turn over ratio. They shoot the three ball and they make a lot of them. We have been plagued in that area at times. We are at team that plays a match-up zone so we have to be conscious where they are."
On motivating the team to make the tournament...
"If we did not make the tournament they were going to work as custodians, water girls and run the shot clock and concession stand. I told them you are not at LSU just to play through a season. LSU is rich in tradition. What Sue Gunter and the coaches she was able to assemble have done and the players and the sweat equity that they have put into this program, it would be an insult for us not to be representing LSU on a national level. I also wanted to make sure they understood that if we are not playing, they do not want to be practicing with me, so they chose to play."
2013: 32nd Annual Division I Women's Basketball Championship
Stanford, California (Maples Pavilion) - Sunday
1 Stanford vs. 16 Tulsa, 4:20 p.m., ESPN2
8 Michigan vs. 9 Villanova, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Spokane, Washington (McCarthey Athletic Center) - Saturday
5 Iowa St. vs. 12 Gonzaga, 3:15 p.m., ESPN2
4 Georgia vs. 13 Montana, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2
Baton Rouge, La. (Maravich Center) - Sunday
3 Penn State (25-5) vs. 14 Cal Poly (21-10), 4:15 p.m., ESPN2
6 LSU (20-11) vs. Green Bay (29-2), 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Lubbock, Texas (United Spirit Arena) - Saturday
2 Cal vs. Fresno St., 3:20 p.m., ESPN2
7 Texas Tech vs. 10 USF, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2
Storrs, Connecticut (Harry A. Gampel Pavilion) - Saturday
8 Vanderbilt vs. 9 St. Joseph's, 10:05 a.m., ESPN2
1 Connecticut vs. 16 Idaho, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2
College Park, Maryland (Comcast Center) - Saturday
4 Maryland vs. 13 Quinnipiac, 10:15 a.m., ESPN2
5 Michigan St. vs. 12 Marist, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2
Newark, Delaware (Bob Carpenter Center) - Sunday
6 Delaware vs. 11 West Virginia, 11:15 a.m., ESPN2
3 North Carolina vs. 14 Albany, 1:30 p.m., ESPN2
Queens, New York (Carnesecca Arena) - Sunday
2 Kentucky vs. 15 Navy, 11:05 a.m., ESPNU
7 Dayton vs. 10 St. John's, 1:30 p.m., ESPN2
Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena) - Sunday
1 Notre Dame vs. 16 UT Martin, 4:05 p.m., ESPN2
8 Miami (Fla.) vs. 9 Iowa, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Boulder, Colorado (Coors Events Center) - Saturday
4 South Carolina vs. 13 South Dakota St., 3:10 p.m., ESPN2
5 Colorado vs. 12 Kansas, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2
College Station, Texas (Reed Arena) - Saturday
3 Texas A&M vs. 14 Wichita St., 3:05 p.m., ESPN2
6 Nebraska vs. 11 Chattanooga, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2
Durham, North Carolina (Cameron Indoor Stadium) - Sunday
2 Duke vs. 15 Hampton, 11:05 a.m., ESPN2
7 Oklahoma St. vs. 10 DePaul, 1:30 p.m., ESPN2
Oklahoma City Region
Waco, Texas (Ferrell Center) - Sunday
8 Florida St. vs. 9 Princeton, 4:10 p.m., ESPN2
1 Baylor vs. 16 Prairie View, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2
Louisville, Kentucky (KFC Yum! Center) - Sunday
4 Purdue vs. Liberty, 11:10 a.m., ESPN2
5 Louisville vs. 12 Middle Tennessee, 1:30 p.m. ESPN2
Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena) - Saturday
6 Oklahoma vs. Central Michigan, 10:10 a.m., ESPN2
3 UCLA vs. 14 Stetson, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2
Knoxville, Tennessee (Thompson Boling Arena) - Saturday
7 Syracuse vs. 10 Creighton, 10:20 a.m., ESPN2
2 Tennessee vs. 15 Oral Roberts, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2