BATON ROUGE - Preseason All-Southeastern Conference guard Adrienne Webb poured in a career-high 28 points and the senior was the catalyst for a decisive 19-0 run that gave the LSU women's basketball team a 62-42 blowout win of Mississippi State on Sunday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Tigers (11-6, 2-2 SEC) snapped a two-game losing skid and did it with their most impressive defensive performance of the season, holding the Lady Bulldogs to 30.4 percent shooting and 22.2 percent in the first half. Mississippi State's 42 points were the fewest by an opponent against LSU this season.
"I was very proud of this group for coming back and working extremely hard in practice," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "I felt like they tried to execute our game plan and they did a good job of finding Adrienne Webb who had the hot hand. This was a great team win for us. Our ability to get a lead and maintain it was key for us."
MSU (8-9, 0-4) remained winless in SEC play and dropped its sixth straight game to LSU. The Lady Bulldogs fell to 1-22 all-time in the Maravich Center and never led during Sunday's game.
After being held scoreless at Arkansas, Webb responded in a big way on Sunday, firing in 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including a season-best 4-of-6 from three-point land. She was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Webb's 28 points were the most by an LSU player in an SEC game since Allison Hightower had 29 points at Auburn on Feb. 14, 2010.
"I put Arkansas behind me," said Webb. "It's a new game and a new day. You can't really focus on the past. You can only build on it."
Theresa Plaisance added 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for her 16th straight double-figure scoring game. Bianca Lutley dished out seven assists, while freshman Derreyal Youngblood made her presence known with eight points and four boards.
Jeanne Kenney was held out on Sunday after injuring her left shoulder in practice. The junior guard is listed day-to-day and is expected to practice this week.
Mississippi State's Martha Alwal finished with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
With the score 22-15 in favor of LSU, Webb ignited the deciding run with a jumper one possession after she fired in a three off a steal she forced. She swished another trey from the corner and followed that up with an easy lay-up off a Lutley assist that made it 33-15. Shanece McKinney put the punctuation mark on the first half with an offensive rebound and score as LSU held a commanding 35-15 lead at the break.
The Lady Tigers picked up right where they left off and continued their defensive pressure to start the second half. Another Webb three culminated a season-best 19-0 run that was the knockout blow and a 41-15 lead with 17:03 remaining.
"We were able to finally pull away from Mississippi State and we capitalized on defending the basketball," said Caldwell. "We started rebounding the basketball and not giving them second and third opportunities. Our transition game got going and again."
LSU out-scored the Lady Bulldogs 24-2 from the 5:45 mark in the first half to the 17:03 point of the second half.
LSU forced 18 turnovers for the game and converted 28 points in the paint. The Lady Tigers shot 39.6 percent.
The team wore "We Back Pat" shooting shirts during warm-ups and on the bench. Caldwell and her staff also sported the shirts as the 14-member SEC institutions kicked off a week-long initiative to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease and the Pat Summitt Foundation.
LSU returns to the road with a 6 p.m. CT start at South Carolina on Thursday. The game will not be televised but can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge.
LSU VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE
JANUARY 3, 2013
HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL
"I was very proud of this group for coming back and working extremely hard in practice. I felt like they tried to execute our game plan and they did a good job of finding Adrienne Webb, who had the hot hand we talked about. Again, we've got to make sure we establish Theresa Plaisance and a lot of people are going to key in on her which is fine. We have to make sure that we are establishing our inside attack. All in all, I thought this was a great team win for us. Our ability to get a lead and maintain it was key for us and they did a great job of doing that."
On LSU's run, starting in the first half, being key to victory...
"We were able to finally pull away from Mississippi State and we capitalized on defending the basketball. But more importantly, we started rebounding the basketball and not giving them second and third opportunities. Our transition game got going and again, and without Jeanne Kenney being in the lineup, I thought Bianca Lutley played a very good offensive game for us in the sense of distributing the basketball and finding the hot hand. Even though she didn't shoot the ball very well, she did lead us in assists with seven."
On Adrienne Webb's role as a veteran on the team...
"We needed Adrienne to step. When you have a vet player, like Adrienne Webb, who we know is very capable of making shots, this game was definitely a confidence booster for her. I will tell you when we came back from our loss at Arkansas, they've had the last two days to prepare for this game. Adrienne Webb got in the gym on her own, and really put in the time and had a lot of made baskets. She just really came into this game with a lot of confidence."
LSU Player Quotes
G ADRIENNE WEBB
On practicing 400 shots outside of practice...
"I wasn't really helping benefit on offense. In order to play the game, you have to play on both ends. I set a goal for myself to get in the gym and set shots up for myself. Whether they were threes or twos, I just wanted to be more productive for my team and make us better."
On how much today's performance was redemption from Arkansas...
"Honestly, I put Arkansas behind me. I thought about it at the beginning of the game, and said to put that one behind me. It's a new game and a new day. You can't really focus on the past. You can only build on it. I took on myself to focus on today's game. Not to think about Arkansas, but to think what I need to do for my team today and to help us be successful. "
On when Webb gained confidence during the game...
"I think it's when I went to the free throw line. I took my time and took a breath. After that I felt ok. I said the next jumper is going to fall. Then the next three would fall. I thought that it was my night and that my team notices that I have a little chip on my shoulders. If I am knocking down shots, they are going to find me. It helps having a force inside with Theresa, because when they double her the team is going to find the open person. It just so happened that I was knocking down shots and they found me."
MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH VIC SCHAEFER
"I thought LSU played with a lot of energy today, which I knew they would. Nikki (Caldwell) does a great job. I thought those kids played awfully well and they made shots today. We probably lost the game in the last six minutes of the first half. We went from 19-15, LSU getting a timeout to a 16-0 run to end the first half. They had a lot to do with it. They got their hands on a lot of balls, I thought we may have hit a little spurt but we may have hit the wall a little bit with a kid or two. It got away from us in a hurry. 19-15 to 35-15 at half is not the way to end the first half and again I thought they had everything to do with it. Give LSU credit, they played awfully well and had a great plan. I thought my inside game was good today. We finally gave them a look. They were 11-of-25. Martha (Alwal) was very good in the second half and Carnecia (Williams) was good."