Late Free Throws Lift Lady Tigers to OT Win
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Theresa Plaisance scored a game-high 21 points and the LSU women's basketball team drained 10-of-12 free throws in overtime as the Lady Tigers prevailed over Missouri, 78-74, to win its third straight game on Friday afternoon in Mizzou Arena.
The first meeting between LSU and Missouri since 1989 was originally scheduled for Thursday night, but a massive storm that dropped 10 inches of snow in the Columbia area postponed the contest. The Lady Tigers arrived in town Wednesday evening to practice but spent all of Thursday at the team hotel due to the inclement weather and a state of emergency declared in Missouri.
LSU (16-10, 7-6 SEC) featured a roster of only eight players on Friday as sophomore forward Sheila Boykin was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome on Wednesday. Boykin, who is expected to fully recover, will miss the remainder of the regular season. The Lady Tigers were also without sophomore guard Anne Pedersen for the second half and overtime period as she was feeling ill.
"We are a little winded, but our spirits are high," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "It was a great win. We've overcome a lot of adversity in the past few days. I am proud of our kids for sticking in there. Missouri never quit, and we didn't either."
Plaisance tallied her Southeastern Conference-leading 10th 20-point game of the season, tying a career-high with three three-pointers, seven rebounds and three blocks. Adrienne Webb fired in 18 points and knocked down two clutch free throws in overtime.
Shanece McKinney made a tremendous difference, finishing 6-of-6 from the line and two free throws that tied the game early in the extra period. She accounted for 12 points, representing her highest scoring output of the SEC season. Bianca Lutley added 15 points and four steals, while Danielle Ballard had nine points and nine boards.
Jeanne Kenney displayed one of the most courageous efforts in recent LSU history. Her grandfather passed away earlier this week and weather issues did not allow her to make it back to the funeral Friday morning.
"For her to come out and did what she did, just shows what type of person she is," said Caldwell. "We couldn't have done it without her today. I know her grandfather is smiling down on her."
Missouri (15-12, 4-9), the SEC's leading three-point shooting team, battled back from a 12-point deficit by nailing 10-of-20 threes for the game. Liene Priede made 4-of-5 treys and scored a team-high 18 points.
Bri Kulas made it a one-possession game with a running jumper with 1:54 to go in regulation. LSU came up empty on its ensuing possession and Missouri culminated a 9-2 spurt when Kyley Simmons swished a three from the left wing to tie the game at 66 apiece with 1:13 on the clock. The Lady Tigers had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation with the shot clock off, but Ballard's shot was blocked in the lane.
Missouri opened the scoring in the overtime period and took its first lead of the game on a lay-up by Liz Smith, but McKinney worked her way inside, calmly stepped to the line and drained two free throws to tie the game.
"Shanece was huge for us today on the defensive end, more importantly at the free throw line," said Caldwell. "She knocked down some clutch shots."
Though the Lady Tigers managed only one field goal in overtime, it didn't matter as LSU converted 10-of-12 from the line and finished 19-of-23 from the stripe for the game. Webb gave the Lady Tigers the lead for good when she was fouled in the lane and made her two free throws.
McKinney buried two more to make it a two-possession game, 72-68, with 1:21 remaining. The senior then blocked a shot on the other end, and it allowed Plaisance to convert at the free throw line. LSU out-scored Missouri, 12-8, in overtime and out-rebounded its sixth consecutive opponent, 38-33.
The Lady Tigers face a quick turnaround before welcoming No. 7 Kentucky to the Maravich Center for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff Sunday. LSU will take a charter flight back to Baton Rouge Friday evening, practice on Saturday and then face the Wildcats on Sunday.