Webb's Game Winner Puts Lady Tigers in SEC Semis
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Adrienne Webb's heroic three-pointer capped a remarkable 8-0 run and All-America candidate LaSondra Barrett blocked a potential game-winning shot in the final second as No. 4 seed LSU stunned No. 5 seed Arkansas, 41-40, to advance to the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday night in Bridgestone Arena.
LSU (21-9) scored the game's final eight points after trailing 40-33 with 1:59 left on the clock. The Lady Tigers will take on top-seeded Kentucky at 3 p.m. CT Saturday in the first semifinal live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. It represents the ninth time in the past 11 seasons that LSU will play in the semifinals. It's the Lady Tigers' first semifinal appearance since 2009 in North Little Rock, Ark.
"I'm proud of my team for showing resilience, staying together and coming out with the win," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "I feel like this team, through all of its ups and downs, adversities, that they have exemplified the characteristics of a champion. Tonight it showed in their play."
Arkansas (22-8) fell to 0-2 all-time against LSU in the SEC Tournament and the Razorbacks have positioned themselves with a solid NCAA Tournament at-large berth despite the elimination. The Razorbacks opened the game 0-of-16 from the floor, built as big a lead as seven and let it slip away.
Webb finished with a team-high 15 points and two clutch threes in the final two minutes. Courtney Jones added 10 points, was 6-of-6 from the free throw line and added six rebounds. Jeanne Kenney dished out six assists and Barrett scored eight points after being plagued by foul trouble for most of the game.
Arkansas' C'eira Ricketts, who finished with a game-high 17 points, converted two crucial shots with the shot clock winding down that put LSU in a seemingly insurmountable situation by a score of 40-33 with 1:59 to play. Webb then nailed the first of her two threes from the left wing and Ricketts turned it over on the other end.
On the Lady Tigers' ensuing possession, Kenney followed up two missed shots with a runner off the glass that cut the lead to 40-38 with 41 seconds remaining. LSU played stellar defense on Arkansas' possession, forcing a Ricketts miss. Barrett grabbed the rebound and then found Webb who swished the go-ahead three from the right wing making it 41-40 Lady Tigers with nine seconds to play. It was LSU's first lead since the 18:37 mark of the second half.
Arkansas coach Tom Collen called a timeout with 8.3 seconds remaining and the Razorbacks having to go the length of the floor on the final possession. Ricketts penetrated through the lane and Barrett stepped up and swatted her shot as the final horn sounded.
"I just kept thinking back to the speech that coach gave us in the locker room about," Webb said. "We are champions, just thinking about that moment. I just kept thinking, We are champions, we are champions. It showed in the shot."
"It's one of my favorite motivational speeches that I've heard," Caldwell said. "It's entitled, Who am I? It talks about things that you won't accept. You won't accept defeat. It talks about how you will stand together through thick and thin, through adversity. You lean on your teammates."
LSU shot 40.0 percent for the game, while Arkansas finished 23.3 percent after shooting 17.2 percent in the first half. The Lady Tigers committed 24 turnovers that led to 18 Razorback points and saw an early eight-point LSU lead slip away.
Arkansas misfired on its first 16 shots before Ashley Daniels' layup with 8:44. LSU led 12-4 before committing a series of turnovers that gave the Razorbacks take their first lead on a Ricketts three with 1:54 to go in the first half.
LSU led 19-18 at the break and saw that advantage evaporate two minutes into the second stanza.
NOTES: With her two clutch threes, Adrienne Webb moved into sole possession of sixth place in LSU career made threes with now 121 ... Webb surpassed Scholanda Robinson (2001-06) ... Senior forward Swayze Black was unavailable on Friday night after injuring her right ankle in practice on Thursday ... Black is listed day-to-day ... Head coach Nikki Caldwell improved to 25-5 all-time in the SEC Tournament, which includes her record as a head coach, assistant coach, graduate assistant and player ... Caldwell has now reached the SEC Tournament semifinals in 11 of her 12 appearances as a head coach, assistant coach and player ... LaSondra Barrett moved into sixth place in LSU career starts with now 110, tying her with Cornelia Gayden ... Barrett has also moved into the LSU single-season top 10 for rebounds ... LSU improved to 16-1 on the season when leading at the half.