BATON ROUGE -- For the 11th straight season, the LSU women’s basketball team has punched its ticket into “March Madness” as the Lady Tigers received a No. 6 seed and will play host to 11th-seeded Green Bay in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 6 p.m. CDT Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
No. 3 seed Louisville (29-4) takes on No. 14 seed Liberty (24-8) approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1. Both games will be televised live on ESPN2. The LSU-Green Bay contest will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network in the Baton Rouge area on 107.3 FM.
Tuesday’s second round game will be played at 8:30 p.m. CDT also on ESPN2.
“It’s just unbelievable how far this team has come,” LSU head coach Van Chancellor said. “To be a six seed in any region at any time when I thought after the home Mississippi State game when we were 2-2 and 9-7 and then to climb into the tournament and to be seeded where we are is just truly a great accomplishment by this team.”
“LSU’s had Final Four teams. It’s done a lot of things, but I don’t know of any team at LSU has accomplished anymore than this young team has.”
Baton Rouge NCAA Tournament tickets can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net as well as in person at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office or by phone at 225-578-2184 or 800-960-TKTS. The ticket office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
LSU (18-10) received the No. 6 seed in the Raleigh Region that features top-seeded Maryland and No. 2 seed Baylor. The Lady Tigers will be facing Green Bay, the Horizon League champion, for the first time since the two teams met in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament in Eugene, Ore.
Then-No. 1 seed LSU defeated the then-eighth-seeded Phoenix, 80-69, en route to a regional final appearance. Green Bay will come to Baton Rouge on a 21-game winning streak that included an automatic bid with a 65-41 win over Milwaukee in the Horizon League Championship game.
“I had Green Bay on television when I was working with TV,” Chancellor said. “They’re well-disciplined. They play a certain way. They’re not going to beat themselves. They’re not going to turn the ball over. They’re going to shoot it. This is a real challenge in my mind.”
LSU will begin its quest for a sixth straight Final Four, something no team in Division I women’s basketball history has ever done. The Lady Tigers and Connecticut were the only two programs to ever advance to five straight Final Fours. LSU is making its 19th overall tournament appearance.
LSU is playing host to the NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds for the second straight season. The Lady Tigers are 12-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament play on their home floor with the only loss coming in 1987.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that playing at home helps,” Chancellor said. “The fans come in here. You sleep in your own bed. You play on your own courts. You practice on your own courts. I think that’s an advantage. It doesn’t win games. It just gives you a better shot at winning games.”
Louisville, an at-large selection, is making its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 13th overall. The Cardinals set a school record with 29 wins and finished second to top-ranked Connecticut in the Big East Conference regular season standings.
Liberty won the Big South Conference title, 51-50, over Gardner-Webb. The Flames are led by Big South Player of the Year and tournament MVP Megan Frazee.
LSU HEAD COACH VAN CHANCELLOR
“It’s just unbelievable how far this team has come. To be a sixth seed in any region at any time when I thought after the home Mississippi State game when we were 2-2 and 9-7 and then to climb into the tournament and to be seeded where we are is just truly a great accomplishment by this team. LSU’s had final four teams. It’s done a lot of things, but I don’t know of any team at LSU has accomplished anymore than this young team has.”
On playing against Green Bay...
“I had Green Bay on TV when I was working with TV. They’re well-disciplined. They play a certain way. They’re not going to beat themselves. They’re not going to turn the ball over. They’re going to shoot it. This is a real challenge in my mind.
On having home court advantage...
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that playing at home helps. The fans come in here. You sleep in your own bed. You play on your own courts. You practice on your own courts. I think that’s an advantage. It doesn’t win games. It just gives you a better shot at winning games.”
On being one of the youngest team’s in collegiate women’s basketball...
“Not only are we the youngest team, but the players that we have are mostly freshman and inexperienced. When I talk about experience, I don’t care what grade you’re in. If you were on the team last season and didn’t play in a meaningful game, you’re not a sophomore or a junior or senior. You have to play in a meaningful game for it to count because it’s the experience that matters.”
On being anxious about being in tournament...
“Last season I wasn’t as nervous. I was really laid back. This season I’m just tickled to be in the tournament.”
F LaSondra Barrett
On if the obstacles this team has faced this year will make the team stronger ...
“There were a lot of things that happened this year. When we lost to Mississippi State earlier this year, it was very difficult for us. Katherine Graham was also injured for part of the season and that took a toll on us. With us being such a young team, we needed everyone to be able to play. Katherine (Graham) was one of the leaders of our team and we hated to lose her for a couple of games. After that obstacle, everyone hit a wall and we were overwhelmed with many things. But I have always been told it is not how you start, it is about how you finish. With all of those obstacles we have faced throughout the season, we have learned from them and that will make us stronger.”
F Kristen Morris
On the importance of playing at home for the first couple of games ...
“The most important thing is that our fan base is going to be great. Our fans have carried us throughout most of SEC play and it is such a great feeling to know that we have them cheering us on for our first few games.”
On if her past experiences will help this team ...
“I think I will be able to help this team out a lot. The first thing I will do tomorrow is instill in their minds that we have a great opportunity. We have some great teams in our region, but nobody that is unbeatable.”
G Allison Hightower
On the advantages of playing here this weekend ...
“It is a great thing to have the tournament here. It allows our fans to be able to watch us. They always give us an energy boost and that is exactly why we love playing for them. We have great fans and they give us a lot of support.”
On if LSU’s young team will be able to keep up with the other teams in the tournament ...
“We will definitely be able to keep up. We have grown so much since the beginning of the season and we don’t plan to show any signs of immaturity. We want to keep growing as a team, stay focused and prepare to compete.”