MIAMI, Fla. - The LSU women's basketball team is spending its Thanksgiving holiday in Miami, Fla., as the Lady Tigers play in the two-game Florida International Thanksgiving Classic beginning with No. 12 West Virginia at approximately 7 p.m. CT Friday in U.S. Century Bank Arena.
The contest will be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and to members of the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. In-game updates are available via Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LSUwbkb.
Host FIU takes on Iowa in the first contest at 5 p.m. CT. FIU will play the 2 p.m. CT game on Sunday regardless of its outcome against the Hawkeyes. The game not involving FIU will be played at noon CT on Sunday. The two winners of Friday's game will face each other on Sunday.
"We are going to be tested early," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "We have to stand firm and rely on our defense and board play. That's an area where we are extremely challenging our team. When you are on the road, you might not shoot the ball well every night, but what can you rely on every night? That needs to be our defense and board play."
LSU (1-2) seeks to end a two-game road losing streak after suffering a hard-fought 71-69 loss at Georgetown on Monday in Washington, D.C. The Lady Tigers nearly recovered from a nine-point deficit in the final minutes thanks to the inspired play of senior guard Adrienne Webb and junior forward Theresa Plaisance.
The two combined for 41 points and it represented the first time LSU produced two 20-point performances in the same game since the classic triple-overtime contest against Ole Miss on Feb. 7, 2010. Webb and Plaisance combined for 31 points in the second half.
Plaisance is LSU's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 15.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per contest respectively. She is second in the SEC in rebounding and 10th in scoring. Webb is second on the team in point per game at 15.0. Senior guard Bianca Lutley is the third LSU player averaging double-figures with 13.3 points per contest.
West Virginia (3-0), ranked 12th in the Associated Press poll and 14th in the USA Today Coaches, has defeated two of its three opponents by double-digits. The Mountaineers crushed USC Upstate, 75-45, on Nov. 17 in their last contest.
They are holding opponents to 49.7 points per game and feature LSU transfer Ayana Dunning. Dunning, who is averaging a team-high 12.0 points, played her freshman season with the Lady Tigers in 2008-09 before transferring.
"They have a balanced attack," said Caldwell. "They play a lot of people, so their bench is pretty deep. We have to make sure that we stick to our game plan. We have to delay and disrupt their inside play."
LSU is 3-0 all-time against West Virginia, who plays this season as a member of the Big 12 Conference for the first time. Two of those three meetings have occurred at neutral sites and will again on Friday. The two teams are meeting for the first time since the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas. The low scoring 49-43 affair resulted in an LSU win.
LSU is playing in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic for the third time. The Lady Tigers went 2-0 in 2002, beating Washington State, 87-50, and FIU, 68-54. LSU was also 2-0 in 1987 defeating FIU, 81-58 and Maryland 67-57.