DULUTH, Ga. - Senior guard Adrienne Webb scored a game-high 18 points and the 22nd-ranked LSU women's basketball team held off a late rally from Auburn to survive and advance by a score of 65-62 in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday night in the Gwinnett Center.
The Lady Tigers (20-10), who led by as many as 18 points, claimed their seventh consecutive victory and will face No. 3 seed and 12th-ranked Georgia in the tournament quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. CT Friday. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN3.com. It will also be carried on the LSU Sports Radio Network on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge.
"Auburn played hard and fought back, but I was proud of our team for hanging in there," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "We have shown determination and even when our backs are against the wall in a clutch situation, we were able to pull out a win."
Auburn ended its season with a 16-14 record and fell to LSU for the second time this season. Thursday's contest was the first victory for LSU over Auburn in SEC Tournament play. The Lady Tigers were previously 0-5. LSU looked like it was going to cruise to an easy win, building a 39-24 advantage at halftime and a comfortable 55-37 margin with 12:03 to play.
However, Auburn's full court pressure made LSU look uncomfortable at times, causing 18 turnovers. Auburn's hustle play ignited a 10-0 run as the Lady Tiger lead became just 61-56 with 5:47 to go. Webb put an end to the spurt with a big three from the left corner that put LSU back up by eight. It would be LSU's final field goal of the game with 5:33 left on the clock.
Tyrese Tanner converted a jumper and LSU was unable to answer at the free throw line as both Danielle Ballard and Bianca Lutley missed front ends of 1-and-1 opportunities. Chadarryl Clay delivered a quick lay-up with 0:10 to go. Jeanne Kenney was fouled, but she made only 1-of-2 free throws that made it 65-62 and kept the door open for Auburn.
Clay heaved a halfcourt shot that bounced off the front of the rim as time expired preserving the LSU win.
"Auburn's 1-2-2 (defense) really disrupted us and they were able to get some turnovers," said Caldwell. "That led to easy baskets. Our inability to take care of the basketball gave them the momentum that they needed."
All-SEC forward Theresa Plaisance finished with her third double-double in four games, scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Shanece McKinney blocked three shots. All eight LSU players contributed as Derreyal Youngblood and Anne Pedersen combined for 14 points.
Pedersen poured in a career-high eight points and made three consecutive jumpers in the first half as LSU separated the score with a pair of 8-0 runs in the first 20 minutes. Plaisance fired in two threes during the spurts and the Lady Tigers shot 50 percent in the first stanza.
LSU finished at 43.9 percent from the floor for the game.
Friday's SEC Women's Basketball Tournament Schedule
11 a.m. - 1 Tennessee def. 9 Florida, 82-73
1:30 p.m. - 4 Texas A&M def. 5 South Carolina, 61-52
5 p.m. - 2 Kentucky def. 7 Vanderbilt, 76-65
7:30 p.m. - 6 LSU vs. 3 Georgia
All times Central.
All Friday games televised by SportsSouth/Fox Sports Southwest/Sun Sports and www.ESPN3.com (online stream subject to blackout in SEC markets)