AUBURN, Ala. - Adrienne Webb, a senior playing in her home state, poured in a game-high 21 points and freshman Danielle Ballard collected a clutch steal in the final 20 seconds as the LSU women's basketball team escaped Auburn with its first Southeastern Conference road win of the season by a score of 59-55 on Thursday night in Auburn Arena.
The victory lifted the Lady Tigers (13-8, 4-4) back to .500 in Southeastern Conference play and snapped a five-game road losing streak. It sets the stage now for a monumental week in the Maravich Center featuring three ranked teams in seven days beginning with No. 16 Texas A&M on ESPN2 "Big Monday" at 8 p.m. CT. Half-priced tickets for the annual "Gold Game" can be purchased now at www.LSUtix.net.
"Auburn is a very good defensive team, but our team hung tough," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "We stayed together, and I was very proud of them. It was one possession with two minutes to go and we finished it off. We made some free throws down the stretch. We made the plays we needed to. There was composure and they didn't get rattled."
Webb, a native of Madison, Ala., drained 8-of-16 from the floor and buried three from three-point range to record her third 20-point game of the season. She accounted for the final margin with a free throw in the final second.
"Webb works extremely hard and she proved it tonight," said Caldwell. "She disrupts people and has great foot speed. Her teammates did a tremendous job finding her tonight. She gets in the gym after everyone and has shown her leadership all season."
Theresa Plaisance, the SEC's leading scorer, added 16 points and became the first Lady Tiger since Sylvia Fowles to record 20 consecutive double-figure scoring games. Sheila Boykin and Derreyal Youngblood made contributions off the bench as Boykin grabbed five boards. Ballard finished with eight points and collected four steals.
LSU never trailed after the 11:34 mark. With the Lady Tigers leading 51-50, Jeanne Kenney threw an outlet pass to Plaisance, who laid it up and in. Auburn's Tyrese Tanner countered with two free throws and the Tigers (13-8, 2-6) missed an ensuing three that paved the way for two key Kenney free throws.
Auburn had one last shot to tie with the score 55-52 and 0:18 to play. That's when Ballard reached into the air and picked off Najat Ouardad's pass. Ballard was fouled and she calmly drained a pair of game-clinching free throws that made it 57-52 with 0:18 to go.
"It was a terrific play by Danielle," said Caldwell. "She does so many different things for us. There were times she missed some shots, but I like her competitiveness. She got some key boards and steals."
Blanche Alverson's desperation made three came too little too late as LSU held on for the gutsy win.
Despite committing 25 turnovers that led to 18 points, the Lady Tigers shot 45.8 percent from the floor and out-rebounded Auburn 36-32.