Women's Basketball
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LSU's Jeanne Kenney
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Women's Hoops Downed by No. 5 South Carolina, 73-57
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Published: February 16, 2014, 06:50 PM (CT)
Updated: February 16, 2014, 07:52 PM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE – Jeanne Kenney garnered 10 of her team-leading 15 points during the second half, but the No. 19 LSU women’s basketball team was handed a 73-57 defeat by SEC leader and No. 5 South Carolina as 4,275 fans gathered at the Maravich Center Sunday for the program’s Play4Kay game.

It marked the first time on the season that LSU (18-7, 7-5 SEC) was dealt back-to-back losses. Conversely, the Gamecocks (23-2, 11-1 SEC) picked up just their second win in 14 attempts in Baton Rouge.

“We’ve got to give a lot of credit to South Carolina,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “I thought they did a nice job, especially in the second half, of competing on the offensive end. When we were trying to cut into their lead, I thought we had some momentum going in our favor. But, with the swing of a couple of calls, the game was shifted. It went from a one-possession game to a three-possession game in a matter of minutes. When you’re playing a team like South Carolina, it’s going to be hard to dig yourself out of a hole. They did a nice job today, especially when you look at what Aleighsa Welch and Tiffany Mitchell brought to the table.”

Kenney knocked down a trio of three-pointers to bring her career total to 119, one shy of tying Scholanda Hoston (2001-06) for seventh place on LSU’s all-time list. It marked the sixth time that Kenney has reached 15-plus points this season.

Theresa Plaisance secured 14 points and six rebounds. The 14 points enabled Plaisance to extend her run to 15 straight games with double figures and allowed her to eclipse April Brown (1997-2000) for 24th on LSU’s all-time scoring list. 

Danielle Ballard 10 points, six rebounds and two steals. The trio of Ballard, Kenney and Plaisance accounted for 17 of LSU’s 25 field goals. The rest of the Lady Tigers were 8-of-31 from the floor.

Raigyne Moncrief had her run of four straight games with 10-plus points come to a close. She was limited to four points but chipped in a team-leading seven rebounds coupled with four assists.

Off the bench, DaShawn Harden and Rina Hill combined to turn in 10 of the team’s 12 points.

South Carolina was sparked by Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch, who tallied 19 points apiece. Aliana Coates came away with 13 points, eight rebounds and three steals in 17 minutes of action.  

The Lady Tigers were 25-of-69 from the floor, 5-of-13 from three-point territory and 2-of-4 at the free throw line. South Carolina countered with a 23-for-47 shooting effort aided by six treys on 14 attempts. The Gamecocks also converted on 21-of-28 at the charity stripe – 24 of their 28 foul shot attempts came during the second half.

In a back-and-forth opening half, the two teams weren’t separated by more than four points during the first 18 minutes of the contest. LSU used a five-point flurry from Plaisance to grab a 22-19 lead at the 4:11 mark of the stanza.

The Gamecocks seized the momentum and closed the half with a 13-2 finishing kick. Welch ignited the spurt with seven consecutive points, and South Carolina added two treys inside the final 94 seconds to take a 32-24 edge into the locker room.

Out of halftime, LSU charged out with a spirited effort and cut the deficit down to 42-40 with 11:37 remaining after Kenney banked in a three-ball from the right wing. The Gamecocks answered with a Coates jumper on its next possession.

Harden drilled a 12-foot jumper in the paint to once again bring the Lady Tigers back to 46-44 with 9:36 to go. However, South Carolina fired back with six more points from Coates and returned its lead to double figures at 55-44 with 6:42 left on the clock. 

During the final 2:52, the Gamecocks hit 10-of-12 at the free throw line to close out the 16-point decision.

“We’ve got to get our team understanding and having that sense of urgency again,” Caldwell said. “They’ve got to fuel that confidence tank because it’s shaky right now. They’ve got to know that it’s not the end of the world that we lost today. There are more games to be played. We’ve got to go to Athens with a fresh mind, a fresh attitude and just start over. We do that by coming back tomorrow working extremely hard, by being focused and by being determined about how we want to play on both ends of the floor.”

LSU will look to return to the win column Thursday at Georgia. Tip time is on-tap for 6 p.m. CT, and it’s the last game of the season that will not be televised.

The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Live audio also will be available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, has the radio call.

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.

LSU vs. South Carolina

LSU Head Coach Nikki Caldwell

Opening Statement
“We’ve got to give a lot of credit to South Carolina. I thought they did a nice job, especially in the second half, of competing on the offensive end. When we were trying to cut into their lead, I thought we had some momentum going in our favor. But, with the swing of a couple of calls, the game was shifted. It went from a one-possession game to a three-possession game in a matter of minutes. When you’re playing a team like South Carolina, it’s going to be hard to dig yourself out of a hole. They did a nice job today, especially when you look at what Aleighsa Welch and Tiffany Mitchell brought to the table.”

On allowing 24 free-throw attempts in the second half…
“I think we foul, but I also think our opponents foul too. I think that you try to protect your kids in playing a matchup zone. Then, you try on the other end to plan yours attack. We’re just going to have to keep working at it. Whenever we’re in those types of situations where there’s a lot of fouls called on us, it puts us at a disadvantage in winning. We can’t go to the free throw line four times in a game and allow our opponent to go 20-plus times. We don’t want to send a team that many times to the free throw line.”

On not winning against a ranked opponent since Jan. 2 at Tennessee…
“I think this group has played some good basketball. I do believe we’ve had opportunities to beat some of the best teams in our conference. There’s been a consistent theme in our losses. We’ve got to examine what we’ve been doing wrong to foul and send our opponents to the free-throw line 20-plus times. That’s a problem for us. It has not been something that has not been addressed. At the end of the day, we like to play with a flow. When that flow becomes choppy, our execution becomes choppy. That is disheartening. When you have 22 more shot attempts than your opponent, we’ve got to score the basketball. We have to score the basketball, and I think if we could have done that then it would have been a different game.”

On only being down two with nine minutes left in the second half…
“I felt as though we were back to LSU basketball. I felt as though we did a nice job of cutting into that lead. Then, you watch and you see the pace of the game. It’s the flow of the game. We’ve got to keep people off the free throw line because when I look at our defense, that part is hindering us. You look at that 9:36 point down to the point where we were starting to intentionally foul, we needed to make South Carolina play in the half court. We can’t bail them out and send them to the free throw line.”

On Welch and Mitchell combining for 38 points and 13 rebounds…
“In the first half, I thought we did a nice job of trying to take away the paint. They made some jumpers, but we were okay with that. I thought in the second half, they did a nice job of trying to establish an inside attack. Welch was very aggressive, but a lot of their offense came from the free throw line as well.”

On traveling to Georgia after the loss on Sunday…
“It’s going to be tough regardless of who the next opponent is going to be. We’ve got to get our team understanding and having that sense of urgency again. They’ve got to fuel that confidence tank because it’s shaky right now. They’ve got to know that it’s not the end of the world that we lost today. There are more games to be played. Georgia is a very good basketball team, and we can’t have this game that we played tonight lingering over our head. We’ve got to go to Athens with a fresh mind, a fresh attitude and just start over. We do that by coming back tomorrow working extremely hard, by being focused and by being determined about how we want to play on both ends of the floor. Our team is capable, and they’ve showed that they are capable. We just have to do it for 40 minutes.”

LSU PLAYER QUOTES

G Jeanne Kenney

On free throw attempts …
“The concern is we got to the line four times, that’s a concern.  Sometimes you can’t control what happens on the other side with getting to the free throw line, sometimes you just can’t. That’s something we can fix.  The fact that we shot only four free throws the entire game is a problem. Something has got to change there.”

On where the team is headed after this loss…
“After a loss, the only play we can go is up. That’s my personal opinion. You can’t get much lower than we are at this point for us, for LSU. It is a matter of asking ourselves when is it enough because I am tired of losing. South Carolina is ranked number 5 for a reason; they are a very good basketball team. They proved that tonight.”

On the second half run that South Carolina made…
“Playing against South Carolina, our game plan was to pack it in and box out. Obviously, we didn’t do that. They shot 14 threes and made 6 of them, but that didn’t kill us. What killed us were the second chance opportunities. That’s everyone’s job, guards included. You can’t blame one person on that. We have to find a way. It’s not an option.”

On the quick pace South Carolina set…
“I think a lot of their quick pace was off of our mistakes. When we did what we needed to do, they didn’t push it at us. When we took bad shots, me included, when you turn the ball over that’s what happens. When you have nine turnovers against a team like South Carolina, it hurts because they capitalize on every one of them.”

F Theresa Plaisance

On getting back on track…
“At some point, we need to say enough is enough and buckle down. We need to do what we have to do to get these wins. A lot of things we are struggling with are in our control, and we need to do a better job taking care of those things both offensively and defensively.  The win we had at Tennessee looks a lot smaller now with all these losses after it. One win isn’t going to make or break a season but the losses have a harder effect on the state of the team. We need to build from this and learn from the mistakes we make and fix them.”

On the run South Carolina had before halftime…
“To end the half, we had a great defensive group in. We had some substitutions, and we did not do a good job of keeping up with what the group in front had done. We had a great defensive segment. Then, we didn’t add on to that. We let the little things get to us and let them get a lot of easy buckets in the paint. Their post players did a great job tonight. (Aleighsa) Welsh is one of the top post players in the SEC for a reason, she did a magnificent job. We need to do a better job of being more aware of our opponents and their gameplay to take things away. We also need to be more aware of what we can do on the offensive end together as a team and not taking everything 1-on-1 or trying to force things because it is not working for us.”

On the quick pace South Carolina set…
“We are fine with it. They can go as fast as they want, but we can’t let that make us rush our offense and fall into their quick pace. When it is our turn with the ball and the ball is in our hands, we need to bring it back down to our tempo and set our pace up and run them.”

On the upcoming game against Georgia…
“These upcoming games are must wins. We can’t have anymore let ups, especially going on the road to Georgia. Georgia is a tough place to play, and our focus needs to be beyond what it has been. We really need to buckle down. We know these next few games are really important for us.”

SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH DAWN STALEY QUOTES

On the 24 second-half free throw attempts…
“One of the emphases was to attack the basket whether it was in transition or if they set up in their zone. I thought we did a good job of pounding the ball inside and forcing them to open up the paint a little bit and letting our perimeter players attack. I know [Elem Ibiam] didn’t statistically fill the stat sheet, but she certainly worked [LSU’s] post players and made it real easy for Alaina [Coates] to get some good looks deep in the second half.”

On capitalizing when Theresa Plaisance and Jeanne Kenney were on the bench…
“Anytime Plaisance or Kenney are out of the game, we feel like we could go on a run because they’re just so potent from an offensive standpoint. For us, we just wanted to keep pounding the ball inside and taking advantage of our speed. I thought we did that.”

On beating a Top 20 team on the road…
“At this point, all wins in this league are good. We have not been very successful here – that has to do with the atmosphere, and that has to do with the teams they put on the floor. It’s the same today, but I think we played a little more disciplined for longer stretches and stuck to our game plan. That worked for us today.”

On the South Carolina run to close the first half…
“I thought we picked and chose our spots as far as pushing in transition. I thought we turned them over a few times to get some easy buckets in transition. That is what you have to do with a team like LSU. I think they are one of the most potent offensive teams because they have a lot of people that can do a lot of different things. I think we went out and got on a few runs in transition to open the game up.”

On if the run to close the first half changed the game…
“I don’t think it was a game changer because they found themselves in the game in the second half. The game is made up of runs, and we were really fortunate that our run happened right before halftime. It is those types of runs that, if you can put a couple of them together, you can get out to a big lead and maybe hold on. Holding on is what it is about. I thought we did a good job of hitting our free throws, which is something that has not always been the case for us. I thought we did a tremendous job of that.”

F ALEIGHSA WELCH QUOTES

On missing the 1000-point milestone in the game…
“It honestly wasn’t even on my mind. My mom has been someone who is reminding me about it, but I just wanted to get a win. I wanted to do whatever I had to do to make sure my team did that. Honestly, the first time it came into my mind is when you just brought up just now. It’s nice to know.”

On the quick pace to open the game…
“We wanted to control the tempo of the game. I think [LSU] likes to get up and down and get a lot of points in transition. We wanted to pick our spots – when to push it and when to bring the ball back. If they were sitting back in their defense, we did not want to force the issue. I think we did a really good job of slowing it down and calming everybody down and doing what we needed to do.”

On the confidence that comes with beating a ranked team…
“Getting wins on the road in the Southeastern Conference, especially this deep in our season, is imperative for us. It is a definite confidence booster. They had a great atmosphere. They have always had a great atmosphere every time we play. To be able to come down here and handle our business and to be able to keep it up for two halves is definitely a confidence booster.”

 

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