RUSTON, La. - Senior forward Courtney Jones poured in a season-high 20 points - 16 in the second-half - as the LSU women's basketball team rallied past in-state rival Louisiana Tech in the final 20 minutes to complete a perfect December, 66-55, in front of 4,930 fans on Thursday night in Thomas Assembly Center.
LSU (9-3) erased a 12-point first-half deficit and outscored the Lady Techsters 42-26 in the second half to win its sixth straight game. The Lady Tigers haven't lost since a 77-68 setback at No. 18 Ohio State on Nov. 27. LSU finished the month undefeated for the second straight year.
Jones' dominant second half carried the Lady Tigers to their seventh consecutive win over Louisiana Tech. The Lady Techsters (7-8) remained winless against LSU since the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
"Louisiana Tech is always a tough team and a tough place to play," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "I can remember playing back here in the early 1990s, and I told the team when you look at this program traditionally, they are one of the better programs in the country. I want to give our kids credit for not folding in the first half and being able to generate offensive looks in the second half with our defensive play."
"We did a good job of finding Courtney Jones, but she did a lot of that by working before the ball got to her," said Caldwell. "When you have two starters in foul trouble in LaSondra Barrett and Destini Hughes, you definitely look for somebody to step up. I thought Courtney Jones did a great job of that for us tonight."
LSU fell behind as many as 12 points in the first half when Kiara Young's layup gave Louisiana Tech a 26-14 lead with 4:43 to go. The Lady Tigers sliced the deficit to 29-24 at the half when Jeanne Kenney, inbounding the ball with 0.5 seconds left, found Theresa Plaisance for a tip-in at the buzzer.
The teams traded threes with 15:36 in the second half. Louisiana Tech claimed a 36-34 lead and then LSU made its move with an inspiring 11-0 run that proved to be the difference in the game. Jones was the catalyst with a layup that tied it and Kenney fired in a jumper from the right wing with the shot clock winding down.
Barrett then nailed a three from the top of the key and found Jones for a breakaway layup on the ensuing possession that made it 43-36 LSU with 12:56 left in the game. Webb finished off the run with a layup in transition following a Kenney steal.
The Lady Techsters pulled to within five with 7:07 on the clock, but LSU converted its free throws down the stretch while Louisiana Tech was just 8-of-18 from the line in the second half. Jones was 4-of-5 from the stripe in the final stanza. She put the Lady Tigers comfortably ahead with two shots following a flagrant foul on Kiara Young.
Kenney's two free throws in the final seconds gave LSU its double-digit victory. The Lady Tigers shot 48.1 percent in the second half and finished at 39.7 percent for the game. LSU out-rebounded Tech 24-17 in the second half and dominated points in the pain 22-12 for the game.
The Lady Techsters had three players in double-figures led by Angie Felton, who finished with 15 points.
LSU will remain on the road and travel to Oxford, Miss., on Friday in preparation for its Southeastern Conference opener at Ole Miss on New Year's Day. Tipoff from Tad Smith Coliseum is 2 p.m. CT Sunday. There will be no television broadcast of the game.