BATON ROUGE - Texas A&M's Kelsey Bone scored 16 of her game-high 21 points in the second half and 14th-ranked Texas A&M pulled away to hand the LSU women's basketball team its first Southeastern Conference home loss of the season by a score of 74-57 on ESPN2 "Big Monday" in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Tigers (13-9, 4-5 SEC) saw an eight-game home winning streak come to an end in what was the first meeting of the two teams as SEC opponents. LSU pulled to within two points with 11:26 to play, but the Aggies led by Bone's play inside out-scored the Lady Tigers 29-16 the rest of the way.
Texas A&M (18-5, 8-1) moved into a tie for first place in the SEC standings with its sixth consecutive win.
"I felt like in the second half, Kelsey Bone came on very strong for them," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "She really established her dominance inside and her teammates did a great job of finding her and giving her those looks. We had the opportunities -- if you look at the lay-up and free throw situation on our end -- and the outcome of the game could have been a little bit different if we had done a few things a little bit better."
Adrienne Webb led LSU with 17 points - her sixth straight double-figure game -- while freshman Danielle Ballard provided spark for a comeback with 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Theresa Plaisance missed her first seven shots from the floor before finishing with 11 points and six boards.
Bone, a Wade Trophy candidate, was too much to handle down the stretch. Kristi Bellock also hit some key shots and finished with a double-double on 12 points and 11 rebounds for Texas A&M.
The Aggies extended a 32-27 halftime lead to 39-30 three minutes into the second stanza until Ballard and Webb got going with their hustle play. Webb's jumper at the 11:26 point made it 45-43, but Texas A&M pushed the lead to double-digits with a 10-2 run.
LSU out-rebounded the Aggies, 44-39, but committed 18 turnovers that led to 20 points. Texas A&M finished at 47.8 percent shooting to LSU's 35.9 percent.
The Lady Tigers face a quick turnaround as No. 12 Tennessee comes to Baton Rouge for an 8 p.m. Thursday tip. It will represent the second of three straight games against ranked SEC opponents in the Maravich Center. The contest will be televised by CSS and CST.
LSU COACH NIKKI CALDWELL
"I felt like our team was very prepared to go up against a very good Texas A&M team. Through looking at film and scouting them, we felt as though changing up the line up for a bigger sizes would pose a problem for people like Kelsey Bone and initially that game plan did work in the first half. I felt like in the second half, Kelsey Bone came on very strong for them. She really established her dominance inside and her teammates did a great job of finding her and giving her those looks. We had the opportunities, if you look at the layup and free throw situation on our end, and the outcome of the game could have been a little bit different if we had done a few things a little bit better."
On Theresa Plaisance's playing time...
"Theresa was rushing and a lot of people were scouting her, so she's going to get the best post defender and they were going to be physical with her. Obviously, we want to make sure we were putting her in the position for scoring the ball, and we got some good looks and passes to her, but she just has to convert on those. She has to convert on those shots come Thursday. She put some points on the board for us and we expect a lot from Theresa. We hope to just continue to challenge her because we did see the best Theresa tonight. Although, we know that there's so much more Plaisance that we know that she's capable of giving."
On getting LSU into the right mindset for the whole game...
"You try to practice at that tempo and require them to concentrate and focus. It's somewhat hard at this time to simulate them at this point in the season because you're constantly playing games. You definitely try to do more of the focus for an extended period of time. It's a difficult task, but we're going to try to get this team to focus in and zero in on what we need to do so we don't have those mental lapses."
LSU Player Quotes
G ADRIENNE WEBB
On leading the team and being consistent offensively during the game...
"I try to carry over my intensity that I picked up that Arkansas game. I try to gradually put this team on my back and take more responsibility. In the game I told myself I need to play more aggressive and it showed in the game today. Unfortunately we fell short."
On where the team stands for the next two games...
"You have to come back with a feeling of hunger and knowing that you need to win. You can't go in with your head down or saying that it's just another game. We have to go into the next game saying we are going to get this win and we are going to practice hard to get it."
On the last four minutes of tonight's game...
"Our intensity dropped off a little bit. We lost the drive we had during the first 36 minutes of the game. We have to make sure that we come to play for 40 minutes each and every game. Not just for 36 or 25 minutes. You have to play the whole game. You can't drop off at the end of the game."
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR QUOTES
On how Texas A&M stopped Theresa Plaisance...
"She has to play the five a lot, but she really is a great floor player. She's better at facing the basket. She missed a couple of open looks in the first half and other than that we were contesting her as hard as we could. Second half, I thought she did a lot better job and she got more physical. I thought she made the right move by putting (Shanece) McKinney to start in there to add some fouls up. Whether she fouled or not, Plaisance could go ahead and play the rest of the game if needed. If Bone had gotten Plaisance in foul trouble it would have been a long night. She's good but it wasn't Plaisance tonight. It was the other guards that did a good job for LSU."
On Kelsey Bone struggling in the first half and then dominating in second half...
"I think she's one of the 10 best players in the country. There are some great players out there, but I think she's proven it especially with the teams we've played. We have faced them all. I'd be lost without her. You see I'm struggling in the other two positions. Usually Bellock has a better ball game than what she had tonight, but she was coming back home to play in front of her fans. Scott gave us some good minutes. When she came back in the game end of the first half I was glad to bring those two Louisiana kids home, and also glad to bring Coach (Bob) Starkey back here."