OXFORD, Miss. – Theresa Plaisance racked up a season’s best 23 points and pulled down a game-leading 10 rebounds to claim her second consecutive double-double as the No. 15 LSU women’s basketball team fought past Ole Miss with a 66-56 victory Sunday at Tad Smith Coliseum.
LSU (16-4, 5-2 SEC) secured its fifth straight victory and has won 20 of the last 23 meetings in the series over Ole Miss (10-11, 1-6 SEC) going back to the 1999-2000 season. The win also enabled the Lady Tigers to move up one spot into a third-place tie in the SEC standings.
For Plaisance, she was 10-of-18 from the floor which included a pair of treys. The New Orleans native has pumped in 10 consecutive games with double figures, her longest streak since a 31-game run last season. Plaisance also handed out three assists over a season-high 38 minutes of action
“Theresa did a nice job of showing the toughness that it takes to play in the SEC,” head coach Nikki Caldwell said. “We rode her and Danielle. We talked about those two players doing a nice job for our team by establishing an inside attack. We obviously need Theresa to perform every game, but I think her 10 rebounds and her board play were keys for us. She played nicely out of the double teams, and she was able to find some of her teammates. You got to see what we have always known existed in Theresa that she is a well-rounded basketball player.
Danielle Ballard garnered eight of her 12 points during the second half. She also hauled in seven rebounds and distributed five assists. It was Ballard’s third straight SEC Sunday with 10-plus points.
Shanece McKinney registered a strong second half performance with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting. She finished with 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks. McKinney has added double figures in three of her last five outings.
Ole Miss was led by Diara Moore’s 17 points followed by Tia Faleru’s 12 points and seven rebounds. Valencia McFarland was limited to 10 points and five assists after she reached the 20-point mark during her last three outings. The Faleru-McFarland tandem misfired on 12 of its 13 field goal attempts in the second half after they combined to go 7-of-8 from the floor during the opening 20 minutes.
“When you come on the road especially in the SEC, we understand that you have to bring your defense and your board play,” Caldwell said. “I felt as though Ole Miss did a nice job in the first half of exploiting us in their transition game, and they were running it to perfection. They did a nice job of setting the tone after the first four minutes. In the second half, we talked about how we needed to establish an inside attack and did just that. That was the difference in the game. Defensively, we did a nice job of forcing Ole Miss into some jump shots and taking away some paint points.”
LSU broke a 52-52 tie on a Plaisance layup coupled with a Harden triple 29 seconds apart to grab a 57-52 lead with 7:06 remaining in the second half. Both plays were setup on Ballard assists.
Ole Miss used four free throws to cut the LSU advantage to 57-56 at the 3:44 mark. The Lady Tigers turned to their defense and forced Ole Miss to miss its final 15 shots over the final eight-plus minutes.
Plaisance and McKinney provided layups off of Harden feeds, and LSU knocked down five of its six free throws over the final 54.9 seconds to tuck away the 66-56 victory.
The Lady Tigers controlled the interior and scored 24 of the game’s 32 paint points during the second half. LSU also dominated the glass with a 27-11 rebounding advantage in the second 20 minutes.
As a team, LSU connected for a 28-of-58 shooting clip which included a 4-for-10 effort from three-point territory. The Lady Tigers made 6-of-10 at the free throw line. The 10 foul line attempts were the second-lowest for the season.
Ole Miss totaled a 21-of-61 effort from the field, but compiled a 7-for-31 ratio during the second half.
LSU’s perimeter defense also forced the Rebels to a frosty 5-for-26 mark in treys. Ole Miss was an efficient 9-of-11 at the charity stripe.
“I thought our shot selection hurt us in the first half,” Caldwell said. “We were more patient on the offensive end. Basically, I told them they were coming out if they shot a jumper. We wanted to pound the ball inside. We took the lesson from Ole Miss because that’s what they were doing to us in the first half. We tried to be as deliberate as we could because we wanted to give ourselves the best opportunity to score the basketball in order to be a better defensive team.”
LSU fired out to an 18-7 lead during the game’s opening seven minutes. The Lady Tigers buried eight of their first 13 shots fueled by five layups.
Ole Miss responded with 16 of the next 20 points capped by a McFarland traditional three-point play to snatch a 23-22 edge with 7:43 to go.
The Rebels carried a 36-33 advantage into the locker room and took their largest lead at 41-35 after a Moore trifecta with 17:59 left on the clock.
After a timeout, LSU reeled off three consecutive layups courtesy of Ballard, Plaisance and McKinney during a 56-second span to even the ledger at 41-41.
LSU continues a stretch of three consecutive Thursday home games and welcomes Mississippi State to the Maravich Center. Tip time is on-tap for 7 p.m., and the game will be carried live by Cox Sports Television [CST].
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.