BATON ROUGE - The new-look LSU women's basketball team will go under the lights of the Maravich Center in primetime for the first time this season as the Lady Tigers open exhibition play against Xavier of Louisiana at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Admission is free of charge for all exhibition games. New this season, doors to the Maravich Center will open an hour prior to tipoff.
The exhibition will be broadcast live on KLSU Radio at 91.1 FM. Live streaming video is available to members of the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. There will be no radio broadcast to accompany the video of the exhibition games. Non-members can join the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/join and watch 15 women's and eight men's games this season.
Follow live in-game updates via Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LSUwbkb.
United States Olympic hurdler and LSU great Lolo Jones will be honored at halftime. Through her foundation, Jones is launching "Hurdles of Hope." "Hurdles of Hope" seeks to address barriers and challenges of families with incarcerated loved ones. Through her personal experience and story, Jones hopes to reach those individuals that are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences that having an incarcerated loved one may bring.
There will be a public reception with Jones in the Legends Club prior to the game and it begins at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.runlolorun.com/foundation.
Head coach Nikki Caldwell, who begins her second season after leading LSU to a 23-11 record a year ago, stressed to the team all week that Thursday's contest will be approached like an official game.
"We treat this exhibition game like it is a regular season game," said Caldwell. "Anytime you take the floor, whether it's an exhibition game or an official game, there is certain way you must play and approach it.
"We've been competing against each other for weeks now, and I know our team looks forward to facing an actual opponent. It will give us an opportunity to look at our starters and the rotation we plan on running. We will be able to get a pre-assessment of where our offense is at and how disruptive we can be defensively."
Caldwell is expected to go with a starting lineup in the exhibition that features two seniors -- Adrienne Webb, Bianca Lutley - and three juniors in Theresa Plaisance, Jeanne Kenney and Shanece McKinney.
Webb is the Lady Tigers' leading returning scorer and rebounder after averaging 9.9 points and 3.5 boards per game last season. Kenney started 31 of the 32 games she played a year ago, and the Baton Rouge native ranked second on the team in assists with 90.
LSU and Xavier met last season in exhibition play in the Maravich Center. The Lady Tigers used a 14-3 start and never trailed in a 102-42 victory.
This season, the Gold Nuggets are ranked 11th in the NAIA Division I Preseason Coaches poll. It's Xavier's highest preseason ranking since 1997 when they were seventh.
Xavier, 26-9 in 2011-12, is in the top 25 for the 32nd consecutive time dating to January 2010. They are coached by Bo Browder, who is in his 14th season.
Thursday's game will be the first of two free admission exhibitions for LSU. The Lady Tigers will host North Alabama on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. before officially beginning the season against Wichita State on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. in the Maravich Center.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 LSU women's basketballs season are now on sale for as low as $50. Tickets can be purchased online at www.LSUtix.net, by phone at (225) 578-2184 or in person on the first floor of the LSU Athletic Administration Building.