BATON ROUGE - Five LSU players finished with double-figure scoring -- including the first career double-double for junior forward Shanece McKinney -- in a balanced attack as the Lady Tiger basketball team extended its winning streak over Louisiana Tech to eight straight with a 77-55 win on Sunday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Tigers (6-3) used a dominating post presence throughout the contest to outscore the Lady Techsters, 44-20, in the paint and out-rebound them by a margin of +17. Louisiana Tech (4-6) remained winless in the Maravich Center since Feb. 27, 1989.
McKinney, making her second straight start, scored 13 points and grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds. Freshman Derreyal Youngblood finished one board shy of a double-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Youngblood was part of an LSU bench that contributed 30 points.
"It was good to have everyone on the roster playing," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "I really felt as though the bench gave us the spark we needed in the first half to extend our lead. They did a great job of playing like a unit. They set the tempo defensively and really got after Louisiana Tech."
LSU blocked 11 shots for the game, including four more from Theresa Plaisance, who chipped in 12 points. Bianca Lutley led all LSU scorers with 14 points. Freshman Danielle Ballard collected four steals, while fellow freshman Kuaneshia "Coco" Baker finished with four points, two assists and three steals in her first career action.
The Lady Tigers took it right to Louisiana Tech, going up double-digits at the 13:05 mark on Baker's first career points, a lay-up that made it 13-2. The Lady Techsters managed only two field goals in the first 10 minutes and that gave LSU an opportunity to build an 11-0 run and take control of the game.
Lulu Perry, who finished with a game-high 18 points, kept Louisiana Tech within striking distance with eight points in a three-minute span late in the first half. Tech trailed 23-14 with 6:16 left in the first stanza following her jumper.
However, Plaisance muscled her way inside and got to the free throw line, draining a perfect 6-of-6 in the final five minutes of the half. LSU led 34-26 at the break.
Adrienne Webb was scoreless until she erupted for eight straight points early in the second half. Several of the buckets came off turnovers as Ballard disrupted Tech from getting the ball across half court. An ensuing Jeanne Kenney jumper from the top of the key gave the Lady Tigers a comfortable 44-28 advantage.
"We definitely challenged our starters coming out in the second half by telling them to look at this as a new game and that the score is 0-0," said Caldwell. "We wanted to make sure we set the tempo as the starting group and they did. It was led by Adrienne Webb's intensity. I felt like she really established us in the paint with her lay-ups and dribble drive."
LSU led by as many as 26 points with 3:13 remaining and the Lady Tigers never trailed throughout the contest. LSU shot 44.3 percent for the game and converted 23-of-36 free throw opportunities.
The Lady Tigers continue in-state competition at 7 p.m. Wednesday when Grambling comes to Baton Rouge.
HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL
"First, I want to just say I'm proud of these young ladies and the effort they've put out there on the floor. When you reflect back from where we started just two days ago, we're sitting here talking about playing hard and getting after people, and then something happens as dramatic and horrific with the families in Newton, Conn., you have a tendency to put things in perspective really quickly. I am a mom, and I feel like I've always been a mom to these young ladies, but your heart just hurts for those families. We love having the fans that come out and support us, but it's about family and this is our family. We're just grateful to be able to stand here to just talk to you guys and also to play this game because there are a lot of families out there that are hurting. With that being said, we do what we do as coaches to prepare our young ladies to come out and play against a great team like Louisiana Tech. I feel like they executed the game plan 100 percent."
On having the entire team playing in the game...
"It was good to have everyone on the roster playing. I really felt as though the bench gave us the spark we needed in the first half to extend our lead. They did a great job of playing like a unit. They set the tempo defensively, and really got after Louisiana Tech. We definitely challenged our starters coming out in the second half by telling them to look at this as a new game and that the score is 0-0. We wanted to make sure we set the tempo as the starting group, and they did. It was led by Adrienne Webb's intensity. I felt like she really established us in the paint with her lay-ups and dribble drive, and then defensively we did some good things too to start the second half."
FORWARD THERESA PLAISANCE
On what LSU did to counteract Louisiana Tech's plays throughout the game...
"Our guards are doing a really good job of getting the ball to the post. What Louisiana Tech was trying to do was double from the weak side, which ultimately left a high-low post game open so we were getting a lot of high-low looks, and it turned out for the best for us. Shanece (McKinney) and Derreyal (Youngblood) did a great job did a great job converting the high-lows, as well."
On rebounding ...
"All season long coach has been hounding us on getting on the boards and I think we finally made her happy today. We're going back in this gym this week and we're going to keep on working on our defense and getting better on our rebounding. We can't afford to take breaks right now because our upcoming schedule is going to be tough competition."
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Teresa Weatherspoon
"There's a lot of pride in this uniform that we wear in the Louisiana Tech University and we expect our kids to go out with that pride and sense of passion every game. It was not there and it was a very difficult game for even our fans to watch. There are some things we will have to go back to the drawing board and get ourselves for our conference. It's been a tremendously tough non-conference schedule for our kids and we feel as though we can definitely compete. We were totally out of synch and didn't attack their zone well. They did a great job of keeping wide and aggressive but we didn't attack very well at all. They dug us in a deep hole for the first half o the game. They played with a tremendous amount of energy that anyone would like to see. Our kids just didn't counter that especially being on their home floor. Major lessons are learned and it's important what you do with those lessons."
On not giving up...
"That's probably the most positive thing in the first half was the fight that they gave to get back into the game. These kids are not going to give up and they will try and fight their way back into the game. When you dig yourself in such a hole against such a good team like we did it's very difficult to try and fight back. There are no excuses; there are great deals of fundamentals that have to be used. There's a process in everything that you do and our kids were doing it to get themselves back into the game. That was a big positive going in the second half and we thought we could build on that momentum. The first five minutes of the second half are the most important minutes to dictate the game but unfortunately that's not what we did."
Closing Statement ...
"This is an opportunity for everyone on this team, our staff our players and Louisiana Tech University to say our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Newport, Conn., at this difficult time. That's really where prayers are needed and where it puts basketball into total perspective."