NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Danielle Ballard fired in 23 points for her second-highest scoring output of the season, but the No 14 LSU women’s basketball team was handed a 79-70 loss by No. 24 Vanderbilt Sunday at Memorial Gymnasium.
With the victory, Vanderbilt (16-3, 5-1 SEC) extended the home team’s winning streak in the series to 10 games excluding SEC Tournament games dating back to LSU’s road victory in 2004-05 season.
The Lady Tigers (14-4, 3-2 SEC) were held to a season-low seven bench points after receiving double figures from their bench in the first 17 games of the season.
“Vanderbilt did a nice job of getting the right players the right shots at the right times,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “They didn’t force anything, they played within their gameplan and they did a good job of sharing the basketball. We have to be more discipline in our halfcourt defense and not miss assignments. We just weren’t aware and alert, that hurt us. We have to be more serious about our defensive effort.”
For Ballard, she was 9-of-17 from the floor and knocked down five of her six free throw attempts. She also compiled seven rebounds, five assists and three steals over her 30 minutes of action.
“Danielle did a nice job of creating off the bounce and getting herself some paint points,” Caldwell said. “That’s why she was successful because of her aggressive play off the bounce. There were times when we missed our post ups. I felt we needed to go inside with those looks a little bit more.”
Theresa Plaisance garnered 12 of her 16 points during the second half and grabbed seven rebounds to share team-high honors with Ballard.
Jeanne Kenney and Raigyne Moncrief added nine points apiece for the Lady Tigers. Kenney also tallied six rebounds and three assists. However, she misfired on 10 of her 12 field goal attempts. Shanece McKinney chipped in six points.
The Commodores were led by their senior guard tandem of Jasmine Lister and Christina Foggie. The duo racked up 44 points on 13-of-25 shooting and buried a combined 13-of-14 at the foul line. Lister, the reigning SEC and WBCA Player of the Week, accounted for 25 points and seven assists.
“I think the one thing you have to be aware when you’re playing Vanderbilt is where Foggie and Lister are at all times,” Caldwell said. “We said this time in and time out to the players while we were preparing. We missed that coverage, and we didn’t do a great job of defending those two players.”
As a team, LSU was 26-of-60 which included a 5-for-12 mark from three-point territory. The Lady Tigers knocked down 13-for-16 at the free throw line and scored 20 of the game’s 24 points off of turnovers.
Vanderbilt was an efficient 24-of-46 from the floor. The 52.2 percent shooting clip marked the third time in LSU’s four losses that the opponent has posted better than a 50 percent ratio. The Commodores also connected on 7-of-11 triples and sank 24-for-30 at the charity stripe.
With LSU trailing 62-42 at the 6:58 mark of the second half, the Lady Tigers began to rally behind consecutive treys from Plaisance and Kenney followed by a Ballard driving layup over a 91-second span.
LSU continued its charge and capped its 21-8 run on a pair of Plaisance free throws which made it 70-63 with 1:30 remaining. It was the closest the Lady Tigers would get as Vanderbilt hit 7-of-10 at the line over the final 90 seconds to secure the 79-70 win.
In the opening half, the Commodores made eight of their first 16 shots to build a 20-12 advantage with 7:15 left on the clock. Lister and Foggie scored 12 of Vandy’s 20 points.
LSU responded with 14 of the next 19 points to grab a 26-25 edge at the 1:19 mark. Ballard caught fire with eight points and two Kenney free throws put the Lady Tigers in-front. Vanderbilt came away with the stanza’s final four points to take a 29-26 edge into the locker room.
The Commodores raced out with a pair of treys in the opening 59 seconds of the second half. Vanderbilt scored 19 of the stanza’s first 26 points to go ahead by a 48-33 margin with 12:08 to go.
LSU returns home to face Auburn on Thursday at the Maravich Center. Tip time is slated for 7 p.m. with no television coverage.
The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Talk 107.3 FM in the Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Patrick Wright, the voice of the Lady Tigers, will call the action.
For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/womensbasketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuwbkb along with @lsuwbkb and @nikkicaldwell on Twitter.