BATON ROUGE – The LSU women’s basketball team looks to punch its ticket to the program’s second consecutive Sweet 16 berth, but the Lady Tigers face one of their stiffest challenges of the season against seventh-ranked and No. 2 seed West Virginia at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday inside the Maravich Center.
The NCAA Round of 32 tilt will be televised by ESPN2, http://www.watchespn.com/ and is available on the Watch ESPN App. The LSU Sports Radio Network will carry the game on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. In-game updates also can be found courtesy of www.Twitter.com/LSUwbkb.
Tickets are on-sale at http://www.lsutix.net/ and can be purchased at the Maravich Center Box Office located on the upper ramp which opens at 7:30 p.m. on gameday. Tickets can be purchased at $16 for adults and $11 for youth. Groups of 10 or more can buy tickets for only $5 apiece, while LSU students will be admitted free with a valid LSU ID.
The winner of the LSU-West Virginia contest will move onto Saturday’s regional semifinal round held in Louisville, Ky., versus the winner of No. 6 seed Iowa and No. 3 seed Louisville.
“This team has evolved in such a way where they've found their way,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “As a head coach, the only thing that you can do is you can provide a shell of our offense and a shell of our defense, but it's really up to the components to make it work. It's not what we run, it's how we run it. It's not what defensive scheme we're running, it's how hard you're going to play it. We're choosing to play every possession like it's our last. When you have your team with that type of sense of urgency, they've just got to maintain it. If we can maintain it for the 40 minutes on Tuesday night, then we have a better shot of winning.”
The Lady Tigers (20-12) are coming off a 98-78 victory over Georgia Tech and collected its 20th win for the third straight season under Caldwell and for the 12th time in the last 14 seasons. The 98 points were a program NCAA Tournament single-game mark previously set by the 1983-84 squad during a 92-82 win over Missouri.
LSU turned in its most complete effort the season where five players registered double figures. It marked the first time the Lady Tigers accomplished that feat since the Louisiana Tech game on Dec. 16, 2012.
Danielle Ballard and Theresa Plaisance led the way with double-doubles versus the Yellow Jackets. Ballard came away with 24 points and a career-high 17 rebounds whereas Plaisance notched 21 points and 11 rebounds.
For the season, Ballard has registered 9.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. She has pumped in double figures during three straight games and upped her scoring average to 19.0 points per game on 19-for-38 shooting.
Plaisance has exploded for double figures in 22 consecutive games en route to 15.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. All three marks enable her to be the only SEC player ranked among the league’s Top 10 in all three categories. The New Orleans has notched a quintet of 20-point performances and compiled four double-doubles over her last seven outings.
Jeanne Kenney has ripped off 11.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. The senior guard has reached double figures in seven of her last eight outings and drained a team-leading 71 triples on the season which are tied for sixth-most on LSU’s single season list.
DaShawn Harden ignited the Lady Tigers with 17 of the team’s 22 points from the bench against Georgia Tech. She was 5-of-8 from the floor and buried all three of her trey attempts. Harden also has averaged 9.9 points per game over her eight starts with three of her six double figure efforts.
Shanece McKinney has chipped in 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. She racked up 14 points and a career-high six blocks during the Georgia Tech game. The Lady Tigers have won all 10 games this season when McKinney has reached 10-plus points.
Raigyne Moncrief has garnered 10.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. She left the Georgia Tech game early in the second half and is listed as questionable/game-time decision for tomorrow’s action. Moncrief’s 1.8 steals per game are tied for eighth on the SEC leaderboard.
The Mountaineers (30-4) captured a share of the Big 12 regular season championship and reached the 30-win plateau for the first time in program history during their 76-61 triumph over Albany during Sunday’s NCAA First Round.
West Virginia’s guard play is sparked by Bria Holmes’ 15.3 points and Christal Caldwell’s 12.6 points per game, respectively. The duo amassed 46 points on a combined 16-of-35 shooting during the Albany game. On the interior, Asya Bussie has picked up 12.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. All three players have collected All-Big 12 First-Team honors during their careers.
“West Virginia has shown through their body of work this year that, one, they are worthy of a No. 2 seed, and that they've shown that they can not only play with the best teams in the country but beat them,” Caldwell said. “You have potential all American type players on your roster. That gives you an advantage there when you can go to multiple players. Their team is playing extremely hard on the defensive end. They believe in their defensive scheme and their defensive system, so you see how they can disrupt you and turn you over and execute on the offensive end.”
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.