LSU trio garners three major LSWA state honors

LSU forward Theresa Plaisance, guard Danielle Ballard and coach Nikki Caldwell led the Tigers to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, and this week they were honored with the major awards on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-Louisiana women’s basketball team.

Plaisance was selected player of the year, Ballard was freshman of the year and Caldwell was coach of the year.

Joining the trio on the list of specialty awards was Grambling State guard Joanna Miller, the newcomer of the year.

Plaisance was joined on the LSWA first team by McNeese State guard Ashlyn Baggett (18.8 ppg, 2.4 apg), Louisiana College forward Natosha Gottlieb (18.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg), LSU-Shreveport guard Sharde Henry (19.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Miller (17.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg).

Plaisance, a junior, ran away with player of the year. She averaged 17.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Plaisance was the only Southeastern Conference player to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding, blocks, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. She was named first team All-SEC (by the Associated Press and SEC Coaches) and was a member of the SEC all-defensive team. Plaisance also earned WBCA all-region team honors.

Ballard picked up 17 of the 32 possible votes for freshman of the year after averaging 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. She also registered a school-record 93 steals and 85 assists. Ballard was named to the SEC all-freshman team as well as the SEC all-defensive team.

Caldwell earned her second straight LSWA coach of the year honor edging five other coaches who received multiple votes. Despite losing five seniors from last year, Caldwell led the Lady Tigers to a 22-12 record and a second straight at-large berth in the NCAA tournament where LSU advanced to the Sweet 16. LSU posted a seven-game SEC winning streak during the season that included wins over Top 15 foes Kentucky, Georgia and Texas A&M.

Miller was selected newcomer of the year award after averaging 17.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. She also tallied 74 assists and 45 steals. Miller was named first-team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference as well as the SWAC newcomer of the year after leading the league in scoring, 3-point field goals made (73) and 3-point field goal percentage.

The second team was comprised of LSU guard Adrienne Webb (14.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg), Nicholls State forward Alisha Allen (15.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Ballard (12.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Dillard forward Jazzmin Smith (16.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and McNeese State guard Caitlin Baggett (15.4 ppg, 4.6 apg).

The third team consisted of Centenary guard Vashni Sharp-Moore (19.9 ppg, 6.8 apg), Tulane guard Olivia Grayson (10.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Loyola forward Jasmine Brewer (13.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg), Louisiana Tech forward Whitney Frazier (11.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Nicholls State guard KK Babin (13.2 ppg, 5.0 apg). Babin is a former St. Michael the Archangel standout.