Women's Basketball Suffers Fifth-Straight SEC Loss
BATON ROUGE -- Florida shot 50 percent from the floor and took advantage of LSU turnovers as the Gators won in Baton Rouge for the first time since 1996 and handed the Lady Tiger basketball team its fifth straight Southeastern Conference loss, 73-64, on Thursday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (14-8, 4-5) fell into a tie for seventh place with Florida in the SEC standings with seven games remaining. Florida (14-8, 4-5) does hold the tiebreaker after sweeping the season series for the first time since the 1994-95 season. The Gators' shooting percentage was the highest allowed by the LSU this season. UF benefited from 26 points off of 22 Lady Tiger turnovers.
"There were three things that I put on the board for this team going into this game to help them be successful," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "The first thing that I put on the board was that we needed to have confidence and believe in each other. The second thing is that we needed to be mentally tougher. The third thing was that we needed to max-out. Those three things, we did not do tonight. I felt like Florida did do all of these things, and I give them much credit."
Adrienne Webb led LSU with a game-high and season-high 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Webb buried a season-best 4-of-5 from three-point land and tallied a career-high three steals. She stands four made threes away from sixth-place in LSU career threes in just three seasons.
Florida's Azania Stewart finished with a double-double on 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"When you play a team like Florida and any team from here on out, it's going to be a tough battle for our team because everybody is gunning for us," said Caldwell. "They understand that and they knew our vulnerability."
The Gators built a 33-24 lead at halftime and held their largest lead three minutes into the second half with five quick points, 38-24. Webb's inspired play kept the Lady Tigers alive throughout the second stanza. Her two jumpers and a Jones shot at the 13:12 mark made it a 40-32 contest. Kenney later nailed a three at the top of the key as LSU pulled to within seven.
The Lady Tigers came within six points following Jones' two free throws with 9:31 remaining in the game, but Florida pulled away in the final four minutes.
LSU shot 38.6 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the Gators, 36-35. However, Florida did control second-chance points, outscoring LSU 26-18.
The Lady Tigers host fifth-ranked Kentucky in the "Gold Game" at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Maravich Center. Tickets start at only $1 as part of LSU's Fan Appreciation Weekend. "Quick Change" will perform at halftime and gold rally towels will be on seats throughout the arena.
HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL
Opening Statement ...
"There were three things that I put on the board for this team going into this game to help them be successful. The first thing that I put on the board was that we needed to have confidence and believe in each other. The second thing is that we needed to be mentally tougher. The third thing was that we needed to max-out. Those three things, we did not do tonight. I felt like Florida did do all of these things, and I give them much credit. When you play a team like Florida and any team from here on out, it's going to be a tough battle for our team because everybody is gunning for us. They understand that and they know our vulnerability. When this team decided to really play those three components, we had some good segments and we were able to defensively get after Florida. We have to do it for 40 minutes and that's an area of concern right now. We aren't playing 40 minutes."
On the toughness of LSU having to cover inside and outside shooters ...
"We missed some defensive assignments, we left people wide open so they were able to knockdown open shots. They really established themselves through the high-post, which is an area that we did not cover correctly. That's the heart of your defense when you put the ball in the middle of the floor. Again, transition points and offensive rebounds are becoming a staple for this group. I don't know if we don't believe in it, but you can't continue down this path and continue to turn the ball over and allow teams to score 20-plus points.
On the mentality of the LSU team ...
"Through the last two days we really tried to stay positive and encourage this team. We really tried to put them in position to be successful in practice so that they could fill that tank a little bit. Mentally I don't feel like we have that toughness right now that we needed to come in like we should have tonight and played harder. The one thing that we really stressed going into this game is that you can control how hard you play. From a mental standpoint, we didn't step up to that challenge. I felt like physically we didn't step up to that challenge for 40 minutes."
LSU Player Quotes
Jr. G Adrienne Webb
On Florida always having an answer ...
"It was a little frustrating, but even though every time we'd score and then they'd score, we'd still keep a positive attitude. There was still a lot of game left to go, so we just kept ourselves positive instead of blaming somebody else."
Sr. F Courtney Jones
On not being able to get over the 5/6 point hump in the second half...
"I think as a team we just made too many mistakes. We had too many defensive letdowns. Playing a team like Florida you can't really have an off-night and your defense has to be on point and everybody has to be in sync and I think, collectively, we just had too many as a team."
On mindset of team after 5 game losing streak...
"Personally, I feel like we have so many games left, about 7 in the SEC regular season. For us, we have to bring it up to where we started in the beginning. We're going to come into practice tomorrow ready to work. We have a big team coming up and we have to be positive."
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
"I am just so proud of my team in every way. We had a little bit of adversity coming into this game and we had to bounce back from a disappointing loss. There has not been a win this season that I have not been more proud of the way that they played. They prepared. It was just a great team win for us over a very good LSU team. It is a great win for our program. We have not won here in a long time and that is especially what this bunch of seniors wanted to do."
On getting the big plays...
"LSU did a great job of fighting and putting themselves in a position to come back at us. It seemed like there would always be someone. The thing that was remarkable and what made it so significant was it seemed like it was a different person every time too. It wasn't just one person that made the plays or hit the shot or got the rebound or whatever it was. It was a fantastic team effort."