Two-week break gives LSU’s McKinney time to heal

Some women’s basketball fans may find the wait between the end of conference tournaments and the start of the NCAA tournament intolerable.

For LSU center Shanece McKinney, the two-week break is just about perfect.

McKinney suffered a concussion with 6:25 left in the first half Friday of the Lady Tigers’ 71-53 loss to Georgia in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals.

McKinney walked off after hitting her head on the court but soon became nauseous and was unable to return.

The 6-foot-4 junior has been brought back slowly, forced to watch Wednesday’s practice from the sidelines or on a stationary bike. But LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said McKinney should be cleared to re-join the team Thursday.

“She’ll be ready to go,” Caldwell said.

McKinney said this wasn’t her first concussion. It also isn’t her first scary injury this season.

She smacked both her knees in a fall late in LSU’s Feb. 24 home game with Kentucky and had to be helped from the court. Fortunately, she just suffered bruises and was able to return for the Lady Tigers’ next game.

“I didn’t like this because I had to sit out of practice,” McKinney said, comparing her concussion to her February injury. “With my knees, I just had to go get treatment.”

McKinney’s health is critical for an LSU team with just eight available players. Besides her, LSU has only two other true post players: 6-5 All-SEC junior Theresa Plaisance and 6-4 freshman Derreyal Youngblood.

Selection Monday schedule

Fans are invited to join the LSU women’s basketball team at a “Selection Monday” watch party from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Lady Tigers, who are a virtual lock to receive an NCAA at-large bid, will learn of their first-round opponent and the names of the other two teams heading to Baton Rouge.

The PMAC will host first- and second-round NCAA tournament games March 24 (4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.) and March 26 (8:30 p.m.).

Lower entrances to the PMAC will open at 5 p.m. for Monday’s free event. There will be interactive on-court games, and food will be served.

Nikki Caldwell and players will address the crowd.

“We want to say thank you for all the support they’ve given us to this point,” Caldwell said. “And we want to have them come back and really support us (in the NCAA tournament).”

The field of 64 will be unveiled live on ESPN at 6 p.m. Monday, with the selection show displayed on the main replay screens above the court.

NCAA ticket books for both rounds, single-session tickets and group tickets are on sale at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office, at http://www.LSUtix.net, and by phone at (225) 578-2184.

Tournament books are $25 for adults and $15 for children. Single-session tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children, while tickets for groups of 10 or more are $5 each.

LSU students are admitted free with a valid LSU ID.

Fans interested in attending Monday night’s event are asked to RSVP through the LSU women’s basketball office at (225) 578-6643 or by email at rarbour@lsu.edu.