LSU’s Theresa Plaisance wins SEC scoring title

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNISLSU's Theresa Plaisance (55) passes to teammate Danielle Ballard against Georgia earlier this season.
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNISLSU's Theresa Plaisance (55) passes to teammate Danielle Ballard against Georgia earlier this season.

LSU junior women’s basketball forward Theresa Plaisance, who averaged 17 points per game in her first year as a starter, is the Southeastern Conference’s scoring champion after all SEC teams who reached the NCAA tournament have finished their seasons.

Plaisance is the first LSU player to win the SEC scoring title since National Player of the Year Seimone Augustus did it in 2006 with 22.7 points per contest. Plaisance is the fourth player in LSU history to claim the scoring title, and it is the eighth season LSU has had a player lead the league in scoring. Joyce Walker did it three years in a row from 1982-84, as did Cornelia Gayden from 1993-95.

Plaisance went from posting 4.5 points per game as a sophomore to 17 points per contest in her first year as a starter. From Nov. 16 to March 24, the New Orleans native recorded 31 consecutive double-figure scoring games — the longest streak by an LSU player since Augustus did it in a school-record 97 straight games from 2003-06.

“Her teammates didn’t allow her to take a back seat,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. “They really supported her in everything that she was doing for our team by getting her the basketball, setting great screens for her and really being there for her. I thought that helped her confidence and knowing that she’s got to be a go to for us.

“She emerged as one of the best 6-5 players in the country. She can do everything. And I’ve played her at the point, the two, the three, the four, the five. Not a lot of 6-5 kids can do that.”

Plaisance also finished fourth in the SEC in rebounding (8.3 rpg), sixth in field goal percentage (43.7), second in blocks (2.5 bpg) and 10th in free throw percentage (.728). Plaisance was the only player in the SEC to rank in the top 10 in all five of those categories. She made (139) and attempted (191) more free throws than any player in the SEC, marking the second straight season LSU had someone achieve that feat. LaSondra Barrett led both last season.

In addition, LSU senior guard Adrienne Webb led the SEC in free-throw percentage, connecting for 86-of-107 for 80.4 percent. Webb, who finished sixth in the SEC in scoring with 14.6 points per game, is the sixth Lady Tiger in history to lead the league in free-throw percentage and the first since Barrett did it in 2010.

Freshman Danielle Ballard was the SEC leader in steals with 100 and 2.9 per game. She is the third player in school history to do so, joining Joyce Walker (1983) and Marie Ferdinand (2000). Ballard shattered Ferdinand’s LSU single-season steals record, becoming the first player in LSU history — men or women — to collect 100 steals in a season.