BATON ROUGE - Whitney Bibbins scored 13 points, including two game-clinching free throws with 10 seconds left, as Tulane rallied from a seven-point deficit in regulation and stunned LSU in overtime by a score of 66-64 on Sunday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Tigers (4-3) dropped their third consecutive game to Tulane, who improved to 7-1 on the year with its only loss coming to Auburn. In what has become a highly contested rivalry, the two teams have played overtime in three out of the last four meetings. Like last season, Tulane recovered from a deficit - twice on Sunday - and stopped LSU's December win streak at 14 games.
"We talked about it being a battle on the boards and having the effort and mentality to finish off plays, and I felt like Tulane did a much, much better job trying to finish off their plays on the offensive end by getting second and third opportunities," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell.
Theresa Plaisance led LSU with 24 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best eight blocks. The eight blocks registered as the second most in school history - one shy of the school record - and the most by an LSU player since Dee Dee Franklin swatted eight shots against Purdue on March 19, 1989.
Plaisance finished with her second double-double of the season, and she reached the 20-point mark for the third straight game becoming the first to do that since Allison Hightower. She missed the final 1:38 of the overtime period after fouling out and it proved to be costly.
"Theresa has been a solid player for us down the stretch," said Caldwell. "Not having her in the game could obviously have a different outcome. But I like that Theresa is playing more aggressive and trying to challenge shots and getting eight blocks in one game."
Plaisance gave the Lady Tigers a 60-55 advantage after burying two free throws with 3:14 remaining in overtime. The teams traded baskets, but Janique Kautsky answered with an uncontested lay-up. Plaisance then picked up her fifth foul and Jamie Kaplan knotted the game at 62 apiece with a three from the top of the key.
Jeanne Kenney missed a jumper on the other end, while Tiffany Dale capitalized and gave the Green Wave the lead on a lay-up on an offensive rebound - one of 23 by Tulane on the day - with 0:47 left to go. Bibbins, a Baton Rouge native, culminated a 9-0 Green Wave run in the final 2:36 with the two made free throws.
With Tulane leading 66-62, Adrienne Webb's three bounced off the rim and Bianca Lutley's desperation layup was too late. It was the second comeback of the day for Tulane, who trailed 49-42 with 6:19 remaining in regulation. The Green Wave, however, crashed the offensive boards and made some clutch shots.
Kautsky's three at the 2:15 mark sliced the deficit to 50-47, and Dale cut it to 52-51 on a lay-in with 1:06 to go. Brittany McDonald tied the game at 53 apiece with one of two free throws with 0:18 left.
LSU got two chances to win it in the final seconds in regulation. Lutley's jumper was blocked out of bounds, and then she missed a shot from the free throw line on an inbounds play as time expired.
LSU was dominated on the boards by Tulane, 53-46, while committing 27 turnovers that led to 14 points. Both teams shot below 40 percent.
Freshman Danielle Ballard finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Lutley added 13 points and six boards.
The Lady Tigers continue their homestand against East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Maravich Center.
LSU vs. Tulane
December 9, 2012
LSU HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL
"First off, I want to give a lot of credit to Tulane. We knew going into this game that it was going to be a battle. We talked about it being a battle on the boards and having the effort and mentality to finish off plays, and I felt like Tulane did a much, much better job trying to finish off their plays on the offensive end by getting second and third opportunities. But they also found gaps in our matchups on the strong side which allowed them to get some easy looks. A lot of credit to Tulane for executing their looks and playing better than we did."
On the recent play of Theresa Plaisance...
"Theresa [Plaisance] has been a solid player for us down the stretch. Not having her in the game could obviously have a different outcome. But I like that Theresa [Plaisance] is playing more aggressive and trying to challenge shots and getting eight blocks in one game. She is someone who is doing a very good job for us. And offensively, she has really stepped up and been that go-to player for us."
On the struggles of the offense...
"Our guard play, we cannot be so consumed with the jump shot. And sometimes, we as guards think that that's the only option for us. And our patience wasn't there. It's one thing when we work the ball - we got some inside and outside looks - and then you take the shot, but I really felt like the guards put a lot of pressure on the jumper. And Theresa [Plaisance], she does a great job for us in the paint and even knocked down a couple of perimeter shots for us. But the guards need to understand when we're running our offense, let's be a little more patient, let's get a little more ball reversals, let's make sure our post players are touching the basketball and let's play like a unit. And the times that we didn't, again, we came up empty."
TULANE HEAD COACH LISA STOCKTON
"First of all I am just really proud of my team. I thought that we fought out of a hole. At the end we had some opportunities, turned the ball over and then came back and played really good defense. One of our goals in this game, LSU's offense is just so effective and efficient, we really challenged our player's defensively and wanted to hold this game under 70 points. I thought that was the key for us and our success."
On LSU's Theresa Plaisance...
"She has been their player. That wasn't a surprise to us. She has really been a go to player for them. I thought that we were pretty aggressive with her. Although she had a great game, I feel like offensively us attacking her on the interior and getting her into foul trouble was an important thing. She is having a super year. She is a New Orleans girl. We know her. I told her at the end of the game, 'good luck and have a fabulous year.' She is really playing well."
On the series between the schools...
"I think the one thing is that a rivalry is not a rivalry unless it is close and there is good games every time you play. I know that Coach Caldwell had said some things about it earlier in the week. We are just down the road. It has been very competitive between the programs the past couple of years. It is always going to be close. The program here is a real quality program. For us to come in and win here is a really good win for us."
TULANE G/F WHITNEY BIBBINS
On coming back to Baton Rouge...
"It is always exciting coming back and winning at home. There are always a bunch of fans at home. I was a little nervous at first. I did kind of shake out of it. It was really good to come back home."
On free throws at the end of the game...
"I haven't been shooting very well from the free throw line and I was a little nervous, but I knew that I needed to knock these down. I just relaxed and focused."
FORWARD THERESA PLAISANCE
On Tulane coming out on top ...
"Tulane came out and played their game. They used everything they had and they followed through with everything. They played a great game and at the end it was tough going at it with a minute and a half left, but that's the point of having a team; it's not a one player thing. I have a confidence in these guys, they can do it. It's just a matter of stops. It's frustrating but we fought back at the end. It just didn't go our way."
On Tulane's job of passing the ball...
"Tulane did a great job of getting the ball in the high post. They were very good at being able to catch the high post and ripping and going and being able to make that extra pass. They also did a great job with their 3-point game."
GUARD BIANCA LUTLEY
On having a lead in second half and falling short in overtime...
"Coach Nikki (Caldwell) just told us to share the ball and hit the open players. We came up with the mindset that we were going to make the extra pass, crash the boards and go inside which would put the game to our advantage with two going on Theresa (Plaisance) and someone on the backside wide open."