BATON ROUGE -- Theresa Plaisance led a quartet of double-figure scorers with 16 points and the sixth-seeded LSU women’s basketball team survived a late comeback attempt from 11th-seeded Green Bay to snap the Phoenix’ 24-game winning streak by a score of 75-71 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Lady Tigers (21-11) claimed their 15th straight NCAA first round game and set up an NCAA second round re-match with third-seeded Penn State (26-5). The Lady Lions were an 85-55 winner over No. 14 seed Cal Poly in the first game Sunday. LSU and Penn State will tip at 8:45 p.m. CT Tuesday for the right to go to the Sweet 16 in Spokane, Wash.
LSU led by as many as 18 points midway through the second half and put together an 8-0 run to start the period after leading 32-27 at the break. Senior guard Adrienne Webb keyed the spurt with two clutch threes. Webb finished with four threes and 15 points. Fellow senior Bianca Lutley chipped in 13 points and freshman Danielle Ballard notched 16 points, six assists and two steals.
Ballard shattered the LSU single-season record for steals, breaking Marie Ferdinand’s mark of 93. Ballard entered the contest tied for the milestone and now has 95 threes in what has been an incredible freshman season for the Memphis native.
Plaisance was 6-of-10 from the floor, recording her 31st consecutive double-figure scoring game.
Green Bay, ranked 20th in both the Associated Press and Coaches’ polls, concluded its season with a brilliant 29-3 record. Sunday’s loss was the Phoenix’ first since Dec. 5 at Central Michigan. They would not end their season without a fight, nearly recovering from an 18-point deficit and slicing the contest to one possession in the final 10 seconds.
Green Bay’s Sarah Eichler led all scorers with 22 points and four threes. Adrian Ritchie had 16 points as the Phoenix finished 12-of-28 from beyond three-point range. Eichler hit a three at the 5:06 mark to cut it to 65-61, but Lutley answered with a clutch three from the left wing for LSU.
Eichler fired in another trey that cut the Lady Tiger lead to 71-66 with 2:14 to play. Ballard made one of two free throws on the other end and Megan Lukan’s three turned it into a one-possession game with 0:49 to go.
Plaisance was fouled with 0:15 on the clock and she calmly knocked two free throws to give the Lady Tigers a 74-69 advantage. Lukan’s layup quickly cut it to three again, but Ballard iced the game with a free throw with 0:04 to go.
Both teams shot an identical 49.1 percent. LSU drained a season-best 9-of-14 from beyond the arc and converted 22 points off 15 Green Bay turnovers.