LSU’s Webb made impact heard in final season

Associated Press photo by ELAINE THOMPSON -- LSU's Adrienne Webb leads California's Layshia Clarendon in the first half of a regional semifinal in the NCAA women's basketball tournament Saturday in Spokane, Wash. Show caption
Associated Press photo by ELAINE THOMPSON -- LSU's Adrienne Webb leads California's Layshia Clarendon in the first half of a regional semifinal in the NCAA women's basketball tournament Saturday in Spokane, Wash.

SPOKANE, Wash. — When Theresa Plaisance thinks back to her freshman year, her memories of Adrienne Webb are a silent movie.

“You couldn’t get a single word out of Webb,” Plaisance said. “Angry. Happy. Webb was just Webb. She was going to play her game and not say a word.”

In the end, Webb found her voice. As a leader on her LSU Lady Tigers team, and as a player who truly saved her best for last.

Webb’s college career came to a sudden, speechless end Saturday night as LSU bowed out of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament with a 73-63 loss to California in the Spokane Regional semifinals.

But it is no hyperbole, no idle talk, to say the Lady Tigers wouldn’t have gotten here without her.

While Plaisance, a junior, was LSU’s leading scorer for the entire season, it was Webb who led the Lady Tigers in scoring over their final 11 games with 16.1 points per contest. Eleven games in which LSU went from a 13-10 team on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament to coming within one decent half of reaching the Elite Eight.

The Lady Tigers didn’t owe it all to Webb, but they owed her a lot of it.

“It really helped us out this postseason,” Plaisance said, “especially against Penn State. You saw her do what she does: knock down shots.”

Webb poured in 29 points in LSU’s 71-66 second-round upset of Penn State on Tuesday, the most points by an LSU player in an NCAA tournament game since Seimone Augustus had 29 in the 2004 regional final in Seattle against Georgia.

Though targeted defensively by Cal’s quick guards, Webb shared LSU high point honors with Plaisance, both scoring 15 points. And this while once again asked to defend the other team’s best player, in this case Cal guard Layshia Clarendon.

“She’s a player who can play on both sides of the basketball,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said.

For Webb, the end came with such painful suddenness. But even moments after defeat, her eyes swollen by tears, Webb found it within herself to reflect on a career in which she finished in the top 10 in LSU history in games played (129, tied for eighth), 3-pointers made (fifth, 168) and 3-pointers attempted (492, fourth).

“It stings a bit,” Webb said. “You want to move on. You don’t really want to think, ‘OK, what happens when my season comes to an end?’

“Unfortunately, mine has come short, but I have to say I have had one great career at LSU. And I really couldn’t ask for a better group of players and coaches to have for this senior season.”