Defense Propels Women's Hoops Past Tulane, 63-35
NEW ORLEANS – The trio of DaShawn Harden, Jeanne Kenney and Theresa Plaisance combined for 43 points, and the No. 16 LSU women’s basketball team also used suffocating defense en route to a 63-35 victory over Tulane Sunday at Devlin Fieldhouse.
The win enabled LSU (12-2) to end a three-game losing streak to the Green Wave (9-4) which dated back to the 2009-10 season. On the defensive end, the Lady Tigers held the Tulane to 11 field goals and forced the Green Wave into 25 turnovers. LSU scored 29 of the game’s 36 points off turnovers.
The 35 points allowed were tied for the second-fewest in the Nikki Caldwell era at LSU. The last time was a 77-35 Lady Tigers victory over Lamar on Dec. 18, 2011. For Tulane, the 35 points matched the third-lowest scoring output in program history, and the Green Wave’s lowest scoring total dating back to a 73-35 loss to Southern Miss on Jan. 13, 1990.
“We wanted to carry the momentum that we had coming off the Tennessee game into today’s game especially on the defensive end,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “Our efforts were to try and disrupt Tulane’s guard play and keep them off the offensive glass. We talked about setting the tone during the first four minutes off the game especially on the road, and we did that well tonight.”
Kenney poured in the contest’s first 12 points on a quartet of triples and scored 15 of her game-leading 17 points during the opening stanza. She also handed out five assists against one turnover over her 30 minutes of action.
Plaisance filled the box score with 15 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. The 14 rebounds were her second-highest effort on the season, while her three blocks and three steals equaled season’s best. It also was Plaisance’s third double-double of 2013-14 and her 11th career double dip.
Harden pumped in 11 of LSU’s 21 bench points on 4-of-6 shooting to secure her second consecutive double digit scoring performance. She tacked on four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
LSU received points and a rebound from nine of its 11 players. Danielle Ballard, Rina Hill, Raigyne Moncrief and Anne Pedersen chipped in four points apiece for the Lady Tigers. Ballard secured five rebounds and tied a season-high with four steals whereas Moncrief contributed four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
“The great thing about our team is that we have a lot of versatility,” Caldwell said. “The other night at Tennessee it was the Danielle Ballard show. I like the fact that we have a balanced attack. Our players are understanding and buying into the fact that it may not always be their night to score and take a lot of shots. It may be their night to be a great screener or a great defender. Being selfless and making that sacrifice for our team, that’s been a huge positive for us. We’re going to continue to talk to our team about it because it’s the difference between good teams and great teams.”
As a team, LSU connected for a 23-of-52 shooting performance sparked by a 9-for-18 effort from triple territory. The Lady Tigers have been over 40.0 percent in 11 of its 14 outings for the season, while the nine three-pointers were a season-high. LSU also was a perfect 8-for-8 at the foul line.
Tulane was 11-of-53 from the floor, 4-of-19 from the three-point arc and 9-of-14 at the free throw. The 11 field goals were tied for the third-fewest total in the Caldwell era. LSU’s defense stymied Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov. 21) and Alabama (Jan. 8) to 10 field goals during the 2011-12 campaign.
Kenney vaulted LSU to a 12-0 advantage in the game’s first 3:10 on four triples. The Lady Tigers hit on six of their first 12 shots and built a 17-4 advantage on a Harden three-ball at the 12:52 mark.
Tulane got back to single digits at 19-10 with 11:00 remaining, but the Lady Tigers ripped off the next 11 points over the next 6:59. Ballard buried consecutive jumpers to ignite the flurry followed by Kenney’s fifth trifecta of the half and four straight Plaisance points to make it 30-10 with 4:01 to go.
LSU would take a 33-13 edge into the locker room. The Lady Tigers picked up eight assists on their 12 first half baskets, and Tulane finished with a paltry 4-for-25 shooting performance.
“Jeanne was feeling it, and she was on a mission,” Caldwell said. “Her and her teammates were focused in on getting us off to a great start on the road. Credit to them because they were finding her early, and she felt very comfortable in letting it rip. She really set the tone for us for the offensive end.”
The Green Wave tallied the opening seven points of the second stanza to draw back to 33-20 capped by a Bragg three-pointer at the 17:30 mark.
Midway through the second half, LSU seized the momentum back and put the game away with a 20-3 run. The spurt lasted from 13:19 to 3:03 on the clock, and the Lady Tigers secured their largest lead of the contest at 57-26.
The Green Wave was led by Jamie Kaplan’s 10 points and Danielle Blagg’s nine points. However, the duo was bottled up for a combined 6-of-28 from the floor and misfired on 13 of its 16 three-point attempts.
LSU returns to SEC play with a Thursday home tilt against Texas A&M. It the program’s annual “Gold Game” and tip time is slated for 6 p.m. from the Maravich Center. The game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television.
The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in the Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, will call the action.
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuwbkb along with @lsuwbkb and @nikkicaldwell on Twitter.