Second-half rally pushes Lady Tigers to 58-51 win

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Forward Theresa Plaisance erupted for a game-high 19 points and tied a career-high with 15 rebounds, and LSU’s freshmen ignited a comeback as the No. 13 Lady Tigers shook off a sluggish first half to defeat Arkansas-Little Rock 58-51 on Sunday.

LSU (8-1) won its sixth straight game with a rally from a nine-point first-half deficit.

“They did a phenomenal job against us in the first half of pushing tempo and scoring in transition,” LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said. “In the second half, we finally started controlling the tempo of the game. We are glad to come out of here with a win in a tough place to play.”

UALR (4-4) was outscored 34-21 in the second half in the first meeting between the two teams. The Trojans, the defending Sun Belt Western Division champions, saw a nine-game home winning streak come to an end.

Plaisance registered her second double-double of the season and 10th of her career. She took over the game with aggressive play, scoring 15 points in the second half.

Raigyne Moncrief finished with 11 points, and guard Jeanne Kenney added 10 points for the Lady Tigers.

“That has been an area that has challenged us, the start of the second half,” Caldwell said. “We found a nice combination. We did a nice job changing up our defense, playing hard and making hustle plays. I give credit to our team for pulling through there.”

Moncrief scored six in a row to pull LSU to within 33-32 in the first three minutes of the second half. McKinney then put LSU ahead on an offensive rebound and follow. UALR, meanwhile, went cold from the floor for more than six minutes.

Plaisance entered the game at the 12:35 mark with the Lady Tigers up 40-35. That’s when LSU took over the game on both ends of the floor. Hill found Plaisance for a layup, and Plaisance took advantage of the Trojans’ foul trouble by getting to the line. She made six straight free throws during a 7-0 run.

The Lady Tigers held UALR to 34.8 percent shooting in the second half, while the Trojans’ 51 points were the fewest by an opponent against LSU this season. The Lady Tigers had a decisive edge in rebounding, 42-28.

LSU return home to face Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The game will be televised by CST.

Notes

LSU improved to 41-4 all-time against Sun Belt Conference teams and 42-12 against unranked teams under Nikki Caldwell. … Center Derreyal Youngblood did not play after feeling ill Sunday morning. … Guard Danielle Ballard made the trip but did not play while continuing to serve a suspension for violation of team rules. … This week’s “The Nikki Caldwell Show” will be at 8 p.m. Monday.

… Fans can get into Tuesday’s game for $2 by donating a toy for “Toys for Tots” bins that will be located at the PMAC. … Fans can also get into that game for $2 by wearing a Christmas sweater.