MIAMI — Junior forward Theresa Plaisance scored 20 points and blocked a career-high seven shots, and the LSU women’s basketball team withstood a late rally by Florida International to win the FIU Thanksgiving Classic 76-69 on Sunday at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
The Lady Tigers (3-2) claimed their 800th victory, becoming the fourth program in Southeastern Conference history to reach the milestone. LSU joins Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn in the 800-win club.
Plaisance was named tournament MVP; she had 33 points in two games. Her seven blocks Sunday tied for the fourth-most in school history and were the most since Taylor Turnbow swatted seven against Xavier on Nov. 26, 2008.
“We made some big plays down the stretch and got to the free throw line late,” coach Nikki Caldwell said. “Theresa Plaisance has really stepped up her play as a go-to (player) for us. I also like that our bench play is giving us something. Derreyal Youngblood had some good offensive rebounds, and Anne Pedersen made some shots. Each group that went out there stepped up and did something positive.”
Freshman Danielle Ballard and senior guard Adrienne Webb earned spots on the all-tournament team as well.
Ballard, who scored a game-high 25 in Friday’s upset of No. 12 West Virginia, had 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting Sunday. Webb fired in 19 points, and junior guard Jeanne Kenney had eight assists to tie a career high.
FIU (2-3) was led by Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year Jerica Coley, who finished with 25 points and nine rebounds.
LSU shot 53.1 percent, making 27 field goals on a season-best 18 assists. It was LSU’s most assists since dishing out 18 against Alabama on Jan. 8.
Webb’s jumper off a Kenney steal and assist gave the Lady Tigers their largest advantage at 55-41 with 13:26 remaining.
But Coley refused to let the Panthers go quietly. She made a 3, and Carmen Miloglav’s layup cut the advantage to 67-64 with 2:07 to play. But Ballard snagged a Coley pass in the final minute, leading to two Webb free throws.
LSU again iced the game at the line: Kenney had four makes in the final 13 seconds. As a team, the Lady Tigers were 18-of-25 from the line.
Having concluded its four-game road trip, LSU will play its next six at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Lady Tigers return to action at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 against N.C. State.
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